First up, I want to say that Reservoir Dogs, the first movie Quentin Tarantino directed, was the first & is still my favorite of his films. Since then, he’s been hit or miss for me. Pulp Fiction was good, Jackie Brown was awful, Kill Bill, Vol. 1 was better than Vol. 2. And, honestly, because of his track record, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood is only the second of his films I’ve gone to see in the theater. The first was The Hateful Eight, which I took my two oldest nephews along to see with me.
Secondly, the thing I hated most about The Hateful Eight was the out of freaking nowhere narration in the second half of the film, telling the audience what was happening onscreen as it happened. And the same thing happens in this one, which I seriously groaned at when it started.
And, related to the narration, there are also time tags for the last half hour-ish of the movie, which prove to be pointless.
And three characters get name tags onscreen at a Playboy Mansion party, but that doesn’t happen for anyone else in the film.
Third, I don’t think there’s any excuse for this to be almost three hours. If Tarantino and his editor, Fred Raskin, had cut out a lot of the backseat view of driving in various cars, this movie would be about two hours, maybe even less.
Dear lord, so much driving in this movie, and almost all of it dialogue free, and pointless.
Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio are decent in their roles, DiCaprio getting the better role as a television star who is on the down slide of his career. Pitt is the stuntman who has turned into errand boy/handyman/driver. And almost all of Margot Robbie’s role as Sharon Tate is in the trailer. There’s a little bit here & there, but mostly her scenes are in the advertising.
There are the usual folks you expect to see in a Tarantino film, including Kurt Russel, Zoe Bell, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern. Tim Roth gets credit at the end, but apparently he was cut.
Surprises in the cast are Al Pacino and Luke Perry. Yes, they are in the trailer, but their scenes are so good.
Also, no Samuel L. Jackson. Weird.
And, even though he wrote & directed it, Quentin Tarantino did not give himself a role to play.
What did I like about the movie? I liked the Bruce Lee fight set during the days of The Green Hornet. And I liked the dog, Brandy. She’s the real hero of the film.
If you do go to see it, stick around into the credits, there’s a bit of a bonus that was pretty funny. There, that’s three things I liked about Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood.
Other than that, the movie was just disappointing. The negative outweighs the good, by far, and if its true that Tarantino will retire after his tenth film, it can’t come soon enough.