Once Upon A Time In... Hollywood. Oh my fucking gawd ya'll. Two lines from the movie sum up my reactions to the movie, "That was the best acting I've ever seen in my whole life" and "You're real, right?" Or something like that. Sort of Tarantino's way of telling you what he thinks about the film. Like when Aldo at the end of Inglourious Bastards says, "I think this just might be my masterpiece." At least the first one, any way. Lot of chicken mole, amigos. Rotten Tomato score is 85% Fresh. This is a travesty. In no frame of mind to definitively say this, but after one viewing, it is my favorite Taratino movie. At least on this night.
Rotten Tomato Consensus: Thrillingly unrestrained yet solidly crafted, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood tempers Tarantino's provocative impulses with the clarity of a mature filmmaker's vision.
Gist of the movie is that a "has been" actor (who lives next door to Sharon Tate), one Rick Dalton played by Leonardo DiCaprio, and his stunt double, Cliff Booth played by Brad Pitt, who is more than a brother and not quite a wife go about and hang around, doing their things in L.A. in 1969, building up to the violence that you know is coming at the hands of the Manson Family. The trailer makes it look like a Manson flick mostly dealing with the murder of Sharon Tate, played wonderfully by Margot Robbie, but it is really a buddy hangout movie. Great one at that. Minimal violence for a Tarantino movie and then we get what we were waiting for.
The Tate family, notably sister Debra, was originally pissed that Tarantino and company were making this movie that they planned on being released on the 50th anniversary of Sharon and company's murder. Then the director met with her and she gave the film her blessing. Now she come down firmly in Tarantino's defense, saying that the movie made her cry and how touched she was by Robbie's performance. She has even gone as far to say that she wished he would make a movie completely dedicated to her and what not. So really came around on that one. After seeing, you can totally see why.
Some of the bullet points. Leo and Pitt. These two together are the perfect duo and their performances are amazing. They should both be nominated for Best Actor.
Now Leo. Dude wins the film. Pitt was fucking sick. It is almost unbelievable, these two together, acting the shit out of this movie. A cool ass actor doing good ass work. That's Leo and his character, Rick fucking Dalton, in the film. Best when is sort of losing his shit. His is career is basically over with the arrival of New Hollywood (also called the "American New Wave") ushered in in 1967 with Bonnie and Clyde. No more Rick Dalton as a leading man, he is now relegated to television, playing a big that gets his ass kicked by the next big thing that comes along. The show that his character is acting in with the movie, Lancer, was a real show that ran from 1968-70. In the movie Lancer looks amazing. I tried to watch an episode, "Blue Skies for Willie Sharpe," and it was fucking terrible. Production wise it was like watching someones home movie or something. I was expecting Howard Hawks. I think it was Tarantino joke. Having Dalton telling himself in the mirror that if he doesn't get his lines right, he was going to go home and blow his brains out, taking this shit so goddamned seriously for a show that was meh. That's his best scene in the movie. Might be saying it is a job and this guy fucking takes it seriously. In any case, love all the acting stuff with character. This is where he really shines, Leo that is. So many layers there. Pretending to be a good actor doing a shitty job and then freaking out. Then acting as this guy acting and fucking killing it. It was mind blowing how good that stuff was. So much so that they address it in the film.
Some other things that really stand out include the cool as shit 1960s world that Tarantino builds, (getting into spoilerish territory here) the crazy ass ending, and the fucking insane cast. Not sure there has ever been a cast like this. There are three above. Fucking sick, right? Then there are the other people that kill in the couple of minutes where they are on screen. Folks that play historical figures like Bruce Dern as George Spahn, Emile Hirsch as Jay Sebring, and Damian Lewis as Steve McQueen. Random industry people some of which are real and others not like Zoë Bell and Kurt Russell play a stunt coordinating couple, Nicholas Hammond as Sam Wanamaker, Timothy Olyphant of the TV western Lancer James Stacy, and Al Pacino as a film producer. Various recognizable faces in the Manson clan, like Butler as Tex, Lena Dunham, Dakota Fanning as the notorious Squeaky Fromme, Danielle Harris from Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers and Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers, and Margaret Qualley was sort of the biggest standout from the Family as Pussycat. A few kids of famous people like Kevin Smith's daughter Harley Quinn Smith (still sour on him after he was an asshole at a comedy club appearance in town) who was a random Manson Girl--whom I found out is a vegan, so totally in my cool book--and Rumer Willis, the spawn of Demi Moore and Bruce Willis, who played Joanna Pettet. A couple of 1990s people that were tapped for stardom that never came, in this camp were Rebecca Gayheart (Urban Legends star/Noxzema Girl from the 1990s) as the wife Cliff kills and Luke Perry as Wayne Maunder who shows up as an actor on Lancer. Then there are a lot of people that would maybe get second billing in a lesser movie, guys like Clifton Collins Jr. and Michael Madsen and James Remar, for example, that are basically just extras in this flick. Hell, even Clu Gulager makes a cameo as the bookstore owner.
Also, Tarantino doesn't seem to like Bruce Lee (portrayed in the film by one Mike Moh). The character is sort of a prick and overall looks ridiculous. Plus, Pitt's character makes him look like a loudmouth who can't really even fight. That is a fantastic scene by the way. Everyone in the theater I watched it with was losing their minds when Lee challenges Cliff to a fight and has a random guy hold his jacket and the guy tells him that Cliff has a rep for being crazy. "What did he do?" "Killed his wife and got away with it." Lee looks at him like WTF. Fucking great. Apparently, Lee's surviving family is pissed.
A personal aside I think is relevant on how good I felt the movie was. So I am definitively an ex smoker. However, I allow myself one a year which I've not partaken in for some time. So, yeah, great Tarantino movie, second to last, supposedly. So I had my first cigarette since 2013 to commemorate it. I smoked about half of it and tried to really enjoy it which I sort of did. Could go for one of those acid dipped ones though. That I'll tell you.