Once Upon A Time In…Hollywood
By James Davidson
“Once Upon A Time In…Hollywood” is Quinten Tarantino’s ninth and newest film. The movie follows waning television actor Rick Dalton, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, and his stunt double/best friend, Cliff Booth, played by Brad Pitt, as they attempt to become relevant again during Hollywood’s golden age in 1969. Rick and Cliff were the stars of a popular western TV show in the 50’s, but have since been relegated to playing the weekly bad guy on popular TV shows. The acting duo cross paths with many Hollywood legends and put a comedic twist on a lot of distinguished moments in Hollywood lore.
This movie has a superstar cast, with DiCaprio and Pitt playing the leads; it also features Margot Robbie and appearances by Timothy Olyphant and Kurt Russell. The strong cast, paired with Tarantino’s typically strong directing and writing, gives this movie a lot of potential and I was very excited to see how it all would come together. I was especially excited to see that Tarantino casted DiCaprio and Pitt again, considering their success together in past films.
The movie was beautifully shot, the scenery of 1969 Hollywood was truly alluring. There were many historic landmarks that were recreated wonderfully for the big screen and were a lot of fun to see. It made me wish I could travel back in time to see Hollywood back in its heyday. The parties and movie sets looked very realistic and were very captivating and a lot of fun to watch.
The scenery paired well with the strong cast. The acting was excellent, with Pitt and DiCaprio leading the way. As always, the chemistry between the two was fantastic . The incredible duo played best friends and business partners incredibly believably. They played perfectly off of each other’s personalities, creating hilarious situations and jokes. But the leads weren’t the only great actors in the movie. Even side characters were acted well. Margot Robbie played her character excellently. Even Kurt Russell and Timothy Olyphant, who had bit parts, played their parts fantastically. There was a great comedic aspect throughout most of the movie. It’s the kind of character-driven humor that I’ve come to expect from a Tarantino flick.
In fact, there were so many great actors and fun characters, it was hard to keep them all straight. The characters were definitely hard to keep straight and I kept confusing which ones were which. It was incredibly frustrating trying to keep track of so many characters and backstories and storylines. It’s definitely a movie you have to give your undivided attention to in order to keep up with the plot.
Because there were so many characters, the plot was very broad; encompassing a lot of different stories and people. It made it somewhat hard to pay attention to the different stories. Since the plot was so complex and covered so many plot points, the movie is pretty long, coming in at just under three hours. While the movie isn’t dull in the least, it’s very enjoyable and fun, the plot does seem to wander along frustratingly aimless at times. It’s as if the film has a hard time focusing on the main plot point and kept getting side tracked by all of the great characters.
As I expected from a Tarantino movie, there is a lot of gratuitous violence in a couple parts. Because of the graphic violence, language throughout, drug use, and sexual references, this movie is rated “R” and is not appropriate for children or anybody sensitive to any of those. This is not a family movie by any means, but would be a fun movie to go see with a group of friends or on a date. Just expect to sit in the theater for a little longer than normal.
“Once Upon A Time In…Hollywood” is a beautiful movie with fantastic acting and funny enjoyable characters. It just lacks some focus when it comes to the plot. I was frankly expecting a little more from this movie considering the cast and director, I was a little disappointed, I really wanted this movie to be 4 or 5 stars. I will probably not buy this movie, but I will definitely be watching it again at some point. It earns 3 out of 5 stars