Movie review: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019)
Today, I'm going to be going over Quentin Tarantino's most recent film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. I'm sure most of you probably don't live in a semen soaked cave and know at least a little bit about this film, but for those of you who are just a bunch of horny troglodytes, I'll give you a quick run down on what this film is about. The movie centers around several pairs of women's feet as the director gives himself an over the pants handjob for 2.5 hours. Oh, and there's also a bit of an actor and his stunt double's careers intersecting with Sharon Tate and the Manson family.
But, yeah. It's really just a bunch of foot fetish shit for the most part. But, I guess we should probably just jump into what I thought about this film.
I'll start this off with my overall thought on this movie: It's by far one of weakest films that Quentin Tarantino has made. Now, that doesn't mean it's a terrible film that is super shitty or anything. But, it's not an amazing film and it falls short of pretty much all his other movies in terms of narrative and quality, in my opinion. The whole movie is held together solely by dialogue almost entirely from the two leads. There is pretty much no cohesive narrative structure in this film, and there are a lot of parts of the movie that are just boring where nothing is happening.
The theme of the movie is pretty blatant with no nuance. That isn't necessarily a bad thing on it's own, but when the movie is devoid of any kind of real plot it's just not enough. The themes that are expressed involve how people can cope with the ever changing times, and the feelings of finding yourself more and more useless as time goes on and you get older, as well as coming to terms and accepting this kind of fate. That's seriously about all there is to the movie besides just having characters talking to one another. Having no real plot and then themes like this just isn't enough in my book, which is why I find myself really disappointed with this movie.
There were several times where the film starts building up tension, making you think that the movie is about to start going somewhere. You've got your fleshlight out, with dick in hand, just waiting for things to hit their climax. Then, nothing. The scene just goes nowhere and it ends and you never see these characters again, or you see them later on at the very end of the movie. You know, after 2 or so hours have passed. The movie brings up so many little plot lines and then they're never taken anywhere, it basically just treats them like a tinder hook up the day after. It's really frustrating, and again, just doesn't add much substance to the film.
Another issue I personally had with the movie is that it's supposed to have a lot of comedy elements to it. But, most of the comedy doesn't really land for me. Brad Pitt's character was the only one where I felt like he nailed his comedic bits pretty damn well. Leonardo's character hit his mark occasionally as well, but that was usually the parts where it's only comedic because he's such a serious character and his acting batshit crazy in the moment. The only section of the movie that had me cracking up consistently was right around the last 15-20 minutes. All of that is done perfectly, and I don't just mean with the comedy. The action, the special effects, the lead up to everything in the movie is breathtakingly well done. But, I just don't know if it really makes up for the other 2+ hours of lackluster movie beforehand.
One large issue I had with the movie was the character of Sharon Tate. I do get why she was involved considering the Manson family is involved. But, man, what the fuck was the point of her character in this movie? 95 percent of the scenes involving her can be removed and it would have absolutely no god damn impact on the rest of the movie. This is one large part of why everything felt so disjointed to me when I was watching. Anytime it cuts to her, it's literally just pointless filler. I don't really get why she was so heavily involved, beyond her feet for QT to tweak his nipples over. I really wish she would have been given something else to do that actually mattered and influenced some element of the movie. I feel like maybe he was trying to deconstruct what makes a movie a movie, but in doing so, he just made something that made me flaccid most of the time. It's really just a yucky waste of time.
But, let me get into the stuff that I actually enjoyed with the movie, because there was a fair bit of that as well. Starting off, I really fucking enjoyed the performances that were given. Leo and Brad both do a fantastic job with what they were given, and they kill it. The whole section with Leo being the bad guy in a western was particularly entertaining as hell. I'm glad they both got to show off their acting chops throughout the movie, because if they hadn't this movie could have sucked some dirty asshole. The rest of the cast also does a good job, and probably is the best thing about the movie overall. Another part of that western part I mentioned was that it was fun seeing them make a movie within a movie. There are a few moments like that sprinkled around that are fun, which was nice.
Everything on a technical level is done really well. The set design/pieces are especially detailed and you can tell a lot of effort and time went into recreating this time era of Los Angeles. The cinematography also goes in line with the set designs, with everything shot looking very lived in/worn. Everything looks very stylized with how it's lit and shot. I would say in general everything just looks very gorgeous. While I wasn't a huge fan of the music choices used, they were all fairly appropriate for the time period in the movie and fit with what the movie was presenting. Nothing feels lazily done in the movie on the technical side, and I'll say QT did a solid job here.
Overall, while I didn't hate this movie I walked away with really mixed feelings on my first viewing. After coming back and giving it a second watch, my views were more cemented that this is one of his weakest movies. I would rate this movie down at the bottom with Death Proof. Death Proof at least had a narrative structure that worked, and explained what was driving characters towards their actions, as shlocky as it was. And, while this movie has better performances from the actors and is filmed in a better way, I just can't really say I liked it any better or worse. I would personally give this movie probably around a 6.5 to maybe a 7 out of 10. I definitely think it's worth at least one watch, but I don't know if I'll be coming back to check this one out like I have with his previous films.
But, anyways. Until next time, slutterbutt's.