Once Upon a Time in Hollywood



Brian Spradlin, Writer


With Quentin Tarantino writing and directing “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” I had high expectations for the film. I must say, I was not disappointed. It’s not his best movie, but it was one of the best movies that has been in theaters recently. The cinematography was an absolute masterpiece, and every scene was shot beautifully. 

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” takes place in 1960’s Hollywood, and it follows Rick Dalton and his stunt double Cliff Booth. It is loosely based around the Manson murders. The setting in the movie is phenomenal. Not once did it feel like it wasn’t in the 1960’s. The cars, the music, and the outfits all felt very appropriate for the time. It does feel like you’re watching an older movie, not once did it FEEL like a modern movie.

In the movie Rick Dalton is shooting a western movie, and it was really cool to see the “behind the scenes” of a movie and seeing the actors get caught up on their lines and the director trying to articulate his vision for his film to the cast. Oddly, it would also transition to where it really did feel like I was watching the movie they were filming within the film, which caught me off guard. 

Cliff is the funniest character, and my favorite in the entire film. The humor of the film overall doesn’t land as much as I was hoping. It was about 50/50 if the joke was funny or not. Mostly Rick’s humor isn’t that good, but probably because of how serious he is. This is a healthy contrast to Cliff’s laidback and quick-witted humor in my opinion.

There is a character who gets a lot of screen time but does nothing that contributes to the progression of the story and that’s Margot Robbie’s character, Sharon Tate. I think because she was a real person murdered by Manson she got that amount of screen time. The character of Manson has pretty much no screen time and is only hinted at loosely. Sharron Tate could have had no screen time, and the movie would have been better for it in my opinion. The first half of the movie seems to be all over the place, but those random scenes all end up contributing to something in the latter half of the film. 

Tarantino made another great movie, and overall I’d rate “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” a 4 out of 5 and is definitely worth watching.