Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood ★★★★

"I'm the Devil and I'm gonna do some Devil shit.."

There's something oddly soothing about a film by this guy that is, for the most part, takes its narrative in a linear path - save for the occasional flashback sequence. Easily his most grounded film since Jackie Brown, I really enjoyed this in ways I was not able to in regards to his other recent work this past decade. Though it still includes an abundance of reference to himself as an artist, or a meme depending how you choose to see it, this film attempts an added layer of heart previously excluded from much of his prior titles. Whether or not that additional seasoning succeeds in anything substantial is not important however.

Spoilers Ahead...

What actually is necessary would be the use of his Inglorious Basterds style alternate universe storytelling on display here. Thus, depending on one's ability to accept the irrelevance of by-the-book history to nail a punchline, you'll be able to see yourself enjoying this. Though, in the interesting case of someone like my mother, she actually felt empty by the film's finale. Thinking of a world that could've been, rather than seeing it as an on screen victory. I personally believe that was the point in a way, as it gave me a form of nostalgia for an era I never actually lived through. by painting such an innocent and adorable portrait of a starlet who was cut down so early in her prime, we get nothing but a sense of relief by the film's end. It's slightly confused and somewhat taboo at first, but upon a rewatch I believe it only gets more easy to accept.

Of course, I can see this being a source of disrespect to some as well. For instance, a friend of mine who's worked in the industry since the early 60's was best friends with a miss Abigail Foldger. One morning in 1969, she was gone, having bled out on Polanski's front lawn. This individual refuses to discuss this film and its conclusion. I don't blame him in the slightest. It may appear wonderfully thought out on paper to alter such a tragedy for the sake of a happy ending, but for those few who were effected by said occasion, I can't even fathom their true feelings on the Hollywood machine taking advantage of such for Sony's box office gain. Again, I recognize my fortunate stance as someone with zero connection to this atrocity, so I'm able to separate such and see this as the work of pseudo fiction it was meant to be seen as. This doesn't change my empathetic position for those who feel their beloved deceased have been wronged or made light of. But because I'm able to see it as work of fiction, I'll take that chance. That being said...

Brad Pitt was/is by far my favorite thing in this film. His overall characterization and insertion into the world we see grow around us was incredibly written. I'll admit, I'm a little fatigued by Tarantino's western fetish at this point, so the whole Bounty Law/Italian Western/Spahn Ranch stuff wore on me a bit. However, because it made perfect narrative sense it eventually dissolved into my immersion with this world - yet another credit to a good script and nothing more. Although this film's true MVP is Brandy the hungry dog, as well as Wolf's Tooth being the greatest name for a dog food brand in actual or alternate history, there's much to enjoy throughout the film itself upon multiple rounds. The finale for me was a burst of satisfaction and if it had not culminated the way it did, I would've just seen it as yet another violent scene in a film made by a guy who happens to do violence quite well. Thankfully, I found this to be one of Quentin's less obnoxious films, with the jarring hippy intro scene and momentum killing Playboy Mansion segment being my only personally points of hiccup(though I understand the importance of each).

Also, it was great to see our friend Kansas killing it as a Manson girl. A match made in heaven for one of the most 60's influenced directors I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. I've seen this movie twice now and I if it weren't for said second watch the score would've been far less than what's seen here. Not sure where you all stand, but as Cliff says to Brandy.. No whining.

- The Spork Guy

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