An Actor, A Stunt Double, and Charles Manson?

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood didn’t appeal to me when the trailers would flash across the screen before one of the many films I choose to spend my money on in July. After 3 or 4 iterations of the same previews, I began resenting many of the films that showed up. Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, was one of those films that I really wished I would just stop seeing but couldn’t seem to avoid. I had no interest in seeing this film until I did.

A friend of mine gave some pretty harsh reviews of OUaTinH in a group chat about a day just before I bit the bullet, got an unlimited pass to Regal Cinemas (which will have it’s own post soon about that and my AMC stubs account) and decided to go see the 3 hour Quentin movie. I have to say, I disagree with my friend.

In the past, I haven’t been a huge fan of the Tarantino films. Reservoir dogs didn’t do it for me, Pulp Fiction I will always forget I watched it, and I couldn’t really pay attention long enough to start another. I just felt like me and Q weren't matched in cinematic compatibility and that was that. OUaTinH while long, didn’t feel like it and kept me watching which is a win in my book for a drama without a real plot line.

The story seems to follow a handful of people who live in Hollywood and how their lives seem to intertwine and just the course of time over about a year. Though watching it, the film seemed 90% exposition to set up for the last 20 minutes of the movie where Spoiler alert the hippies from earlier try to murder the main characters. This entire situation is resolved by them being rather gruesomely demolished - which albeit was a pretty fun scene - and then the neighbors FINALLY TALK TO ONE ANOTHER. That’s it - that’s the movie. It just ends. There is no true resolve because it’s not the standard story. Truly it’s just a moment in time.

Something that threw me off while watching was the sudden appearance of a narrating voice-over. I don’t remember there being a narrator in the beginning but I know there was one who popped up 2 hours in. I understand the reasoning to explain a 6 month time shift but it was jarring.

Despite my qualms with the some of the directorial decisions, I enjoyed OUaTinH. For a drama with a rather thin plot line, the acting is well done, the scenes themselves are interesting and the characters overall get your attention. Do I think this is an award winning piece of cinematography? No. Do I think you should watch it? Yes.