Cakes Takes on Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Movie Review
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Movie Review
So I watched this mythic gemstone back in early December and I could watch it again just for the cast alone! Leo and Brad!??! Like are you kidding?! (Good job, Tarantino!) While I can’t say I am a huge fan of “a day in the life” movies, kinda like Quentin’s other HUGE pop culture hit movie, Pulp Fiction, I am trying to get more into them and give them a chance. The thing that I hate about those kinds of movies usually is that, to me personally, they often have no plot. The best way to describe this film is that it is an imaginative look into the late 1960’s and the acting career of the fictional character, Rick Dalton, and his stunt double, Cliff Booth. They are both loosely based on the relationship and work partnership of Burt Reynolds and Hal Needham, respectively. Leo is relatable and I can give sympathy to him as the character Rick Dalton and Brad Pitt might as well just be playing himself, he’s so cool in this role!
Actress Sharon Tate, played beautifully by Margot Robbie, and her director husband, the infamous Roman Polanski, move in next door to Rick Dalton, as he struggles to find himself and redefine his career during his sort of midlife crisis that he is going through. Sharon, who is an up and coming actress in Hollywood is living her day to day life, and doing things like going to the movies to see herself at the show, dancing to music in her room and folding clothes. All the acting that Margot has to do in this is very simplistic and basic, but she does capture a sort of glow in Sharon Tate that people said that she had when she was alive and before her prime. Almost like the girl next door, but WAY hotter, and possibly less interesting. For those that know of the infamous Manson Family murders, then the movie can be EXTREMELY tense in some scenes, as you know the storylines will weave together into something sinister eventually, because we know how things go for Sharon, her friends and her unborn baby in real life. This film ties Sharon’s fate into the life of Rick.
Rick is going through a midlife crisis in a sense that he cannot seem to find his footing in the 60’s era of movies. Beforehand, he was very much a top star on TV back in the 50’s, so now with a change in times, he feels like his career might be failing. He has a problem with finding new work in Hollywood and thus is making it hard for his best friend/stunt double, Cliff Booth, to find work as well. Rick is letting his inadequacies and insecurities fuel him to become a better actor and try his best not to fade away into the background of the new Hollywood scene. He even sees his neighbors, Sharon and Roman, as a new way for a comeup for his career at some point. It would be hard for Cliff to find work as well already, because everyone believes that he killed his wife, leaving him somewhat blacklisted from acting, without Dalton. However, his character is most impressive.
Cliff is not only a stunt double, but he is a good martial artist, he seems like the kind of guy that you would want to kickback and have a beer with! He even has a scene in this film that he spars with Bruce Lee and he doesn’t have his ass HANDED to him afterwards. COOL. PEOPLE. SHIT!!!! I mean, who fights Bruce Lee and comes out on top or even matches up with him!? That’s so cool! His character is very much one of the more interesting parts of the film, even over the main character of Rick, especially in his scenes that connect to the movie ranch where The Manson Family comes from. Those scenes are TENSE!!! You know who the teenagers are and what they are capable of, in real life events that actually happened, but you do not know what they’re going to do to Cliff, and you do not know if he’s going to be able to handle them all or how it’s going to connect back to killing Sharon and everyone else in the end of it all.
This movie adds random action scenes in, but they work in the moments that they are in. Within the first and last 20 minutes of the movie, is Quentin at his most Tarantino! (lol) He cannot help himself not to add random moments of violence and an extra layer of his personal imagination onto an already beautiful and creatively directed piece of work. While the energy of the violent moments does work, it does take you a bit out of the movie experience because it might just be a sequence of thoughts or just a scene in one of Dalton’s movies or something. Some of them are literally for no reason at all besides just to break apart the current scene or for the sake of being wacky. It was always to the extreme as well. The violence did add a touch of the director to the film though, as did the constant scenes of feet and toes to further confirm Tarantino’s foot fetish he has.
The film, I fear, won’t be as popular as his 90’s cult classic, Pulp Fiction, but I still enjoyed my ride back to the 60’s for this time period piece. It is a true love letter to a time period that the director has a huge affinity for, so you can see the passion, detail, and love that went into making the movie look and seem authentic! This movie probably is Quentin's baby! The acting and the sets are really the standouts of the film and for such a star studded cast, not a lot of people had much to do or interesting to say. Which, for me, becomes the problem for most “day in the life” movies, but I do liked what they worked with for the movie. The movie made me really care about the characters for what I saw of each of them, especially because I was so tense for half the time because I don't know how Quentin was going to finish their stories all off because some of these things that the movie is based on really happened in real life.
The ending of the film will please some and others will see it, I’m sure as somewhat offensive somehow to memories of the dead. I liked it! It was very Tarantino meets Shyamalan of him to put a twist on a film that has so much real life basis in it and that is so deeply rooted into our American culture. It was a brave directing and writing move on Quentin’s part. I think everyone played a good part in the film and made a lasting impression on me as their characters, but the story just is never there for movies like this for me. However, that should not suggest that you shouldn’t see this film! I think it is worth a watch, especially if you know about the events of the Manson Family murders and everything or have an affinity for Tarantino movies.
Actors, Actresses and Production
Quentin Tarantino (director, writer, and producer)
Columbia Pictures (production company)
David Heyman (producer)
Sony Pictures (distribution company)
Shannon McIntosh (producer)
Bona Film Group (production company)
Robert Richardson (cinematographer)
Heyday Films (production company)
Fred Raskin (editor)
Visiona Romantica (production company)
Actress Sharon Tate
SPOILER SECTION! SPOILERS!!! SPOILERS!!! SPOILERS!!!
So a morbid part inside me was very excited to see this film once I found out that it had a tie in to the Manson Family and their murders. I was wondering how Tarantino would deal with the gruesome death of Sharon Tate, her neighbors, and her unborn baby. And with Tarantino I thought he'd be a pretty good choice for a director to film something SO crazy and put his own spin on it if he could. I was pleasantly surprised and oddly slightly let down at the fact that he did not choose to deal with their deaths at all, but chose to rewrite history in the way that he clearly wishes it had happened so that Sharon could have lived.
He ended it SO VIOLENT AND BLOODY in only a way that we know Quentin Tarantino can! I loved it but I also thought that if he didn't kill her off like in history the way that she was, this was a fun way to imagine her living by having Rick use his flamethrower from one of his old work sets to kill the incoming Manson intruders in his neighborhood who we know are there to kill Sharon and her friends that night. Cliff's character also gets a lot of shine in the end on his skills at how easy it'd be for him to kill someone. It's kinda obvious why people are scared of him in this movie. He literally HANDLES the intruders while he is under the influence of drugs and alcohol as well. So it's not hard to see WHY he's so intimidating, although they make it a big deal about him possibly killing his wife.