Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood (2019)

When you come to the end of the line, with a buddy who is more than a brother and a little less than a wife, getting blind drunk together is really the only way to say farewell.

This is the story of an aging star on his decline and his relationship with his stunt man at the time of the Manson murders…not historically accurate, but an interesting “what if” scenario.

When I think of Tarantino, I think of great dialogue and over-the-top excessive violence and gore (and I appreciate all that for the what it is…I love Inglorious Basterds & The Hateful Eight), but as far as Tarantino movies go, this might be one of my least favorites. It was so subdued and unexpected (but kinda expected after seeing the trailers) and the bulk of the violence and “shock-and-awe” was reserved for the very end of the film.

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Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a bad movie by any means…it was just a little underwhelming to me…and I’m open to arguments that counter that. As usual, it was well-directed, well-shot, well-casted and well-acted. There were some great performances…Leonard DiCaprio was amazing (but when is he not?!), Brad Pitt was great (even though I feel like his accents are kinda one note…don’t @ me)…Margot Robbie was giving real Sharon Tate vibes (and you can argue Tarantino’s portrayal and usage of her…or female characters in general…all you want, but she did a good job with what she was given). Margaret Qualley was so natural and authentic and gave a great portrayal of a hippie cultist…young actress Julia Butters was memorable and Mike Moh was good (even if you disagree with his caricature-like portrayal of Bruce Lee). I would be here all day if I went through all the great performance…big and small (the cult members were great and it was cool to see the legendary Al Pacino and Luke Perry in his last performance, in here as well).

As to be expected, the writing and dialogue was great as was the chemistry between these A-Listers. The set design and costuming really transported you back to 1969 with extreme realism…it was like jumping in a time machine. And visually, everyone was super similar to the real-life people they were portraying (that goes back to a job well-done by casting, hair & make-up and the actors themselves)…Manson, Polanski, Tate, Lee, etc.

Overall, this was a solid movie, just not one of my faves. Give it a watch though…especially if you’re a Tarantino fan. Currently still in theaters.