Saturday, July 2, 2022

Weekend Watch: ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ Scores

Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt in a scene from Sony Pictures “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.”

*One goes into a Quentin Tarantino (QT)  film knowing pretty much what to expect. “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” is no exception.

It takes a minute to get there, but Tarantino fans’ lust for violence is satisfied, and he scores again. “Once Upon a Time” takes place in 1969 Las Angeles and captures its hippie culture.

The film also focuses on a changing Hollywood with insecurities and subterfuge within the industry. The ditzy blond Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) has a storyline that helps promote “Once Upon a Time,” bring it notoriety, and establish its raison d’etre. Pop icons and references of that era are abundantly placed and interwoven into the story’s fabric. Not surprised the popular TV series “Mannix” scene showed Peggy (Gail Fisher)  talking to  Joe Mannix  (Mike Connors) about her concerns with a musician.

Another poignant point of the picture is the bromance between inseparable lead actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt).  Both have seen better days in a bygone period where they did not have to struggle to stay on top. DiCaprio is the main player, but Pitt has the most fascinating role. Yet, Pitt must contend with scene-stealer Brandy (Cliff’s male dog).

(L-R) Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Al Pacino in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” Sony Pictures

What is interesting and satisfying about many of QT’s projects are his cinematic commentaries. The explanation given for wanting to kill in “Once Upon a Time” is part of an ongoing debate that exists today. Just as Hollywood endings have been the subject of many discussions for quite some time. Many inept filmmakers lacking creativity who think “shock” endings make them edgy have sacrificed Hollywood endings. Of course you will get no spoilers here, but rest assured you will walk out the theater feeling very satisfied.

Directed by Tarantino, “Once Upon a Time” also stars Al Pacino, Kurt Russell, and the late Luke Perry.       Twitter: @thefilmstrip

Marie Moore
Veteran syndicated journalist who covers film and television.




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