(not reviewed for errors in language)
This is a very difficult review to write. All of my favorite actors, great director and at best a “B-” film. I’m not going to pull my punches, I think it would be a disservice to everyone and I’ve regretted doing that before.
I know everyone worked hard on it, it was expensive to make but I also suspect the Hollywood community was not thrilled with it either. Though it wasn’t entirely bad there should be a lemon law for films.
Let’s look at Orson Welles’ hodge-podge of a film, the recently released “The Other Side of the Wind.” A film about the Hollywood Community, almost 50 years old and tremendously captivating. (I periodically see John Huston in my gym who acted in this film. He’s a million years old and supposed to be dead but he doesn’t appear to be. Always a pleasure Mr. Huston.)
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is also a hodge-podge of a film but nowhere near as captivating. The film drags and in boring for the bulk of it. There are cherries interspersed in it but it’s a Quentin Tarantino film and at the very least I do not expect to be bored. It drags on painfully slowly, so painfully that the fun parts are erased in that pain. It borders on what I would call non-nutritive filmmaking and again, this is Tarantino so I have no expectation of this.
The highlights of the film are most of what Brad Pitt does without Leonardo DiCaprio. I am a huge fan of Leonardo. I’ve seen the majority of his films, loved them all and even spotted him on Dancing With The Stars as Derek Hough and on “The Walking Dead” as Norman Reedus…nice big find. I painfully have to say that I think something was lacking here for him and I don’t think it was Leonardo, I got blame the script, I don’t think it can be him.
Brad Pitt who I strongly suspect is Ron Howard was tremendous in the film. The dog he was with made a terrific sidekick and the two of them were hysterically funny and provided the best action in the film.
Leonardo was probably just playing the role he was handed, probably doing a good job of it but I think some of it fell flat.
The real action started over 2 hours into the film where it went full Tarantino: All the usual craziness, action, violence and again the terrific synergy with Pitt and his pit bull. Great stuff with a flame thrower and some guns but I don’t think Leonardo was grim enough in this film and that may because Pitt held a more grim role and Leonardo played into some of the comic relief. It’s tough to explain why this didn’t work for me since I’ve said he is my favorite actor.
I was pleased to see Margot Robbie in the cast. She’s a terrific actress and very easy on the eyes. I keep a figurine of her on my desk as Harley Quinn and tell everyone she’s my wife, which they laugh at and I tell them it’s no laughing matter because her father keeps us apart.
Margot is underutilized in this film. Come on guys…really?! Seemingly 9/10 of the time she’s just walking around in a short skirt and smiling, just not good enough. Give us more Margot!!
And another thing…how does anyone make a bad film about Charles Manson and his crew? Half the movie endlessly dragged on, great scenery, great TV clips and endless blah, blah, blah dialogue about Hollywood. Really impertinent and again this is a Tarantino film!! Remember Kill Bill? How about Django Unchained? Also with Leonardo. And the man, Quentin, had all the discretion to write the film however the fuck he wanted. He changed much of the story at the end, though the Ranch part was great and seeing Bruce Dern is always a treat but he could have done whatever he wanted with these characters and screw history.
What would I have done differently? The argument that the film was too long does not work for me. “Inception” again with Leonardo is about 15 minutes shorter but no one and I mean no one left the theater to go to the bathroom; pure excitement from beginning to end…mostly.
I would have cut about 40 minutes out, left in the great Tarantino action sequence at the end but added another Tarantino action sequence over at the Tate residence next door. That would be glorious!!! You’d have Sharon Tate there, pregnant who played by Robbie could have put up a hell of a fight. Not a short sequence but one of those on and on sequences that Tarantino is famous for.
I give the film a B-. I thought it a major disappointment. Part of the problem was the coming attractions were so fucking good that the film in contrast landed on it’s face.
Oh, BTW, Sharon Tate is still alive. The whole thing was a sham just like the OJ killing. I hope you guys are enjoying these fake shootings. Fuck you, fuck all of you, really…scumbags in the midst.