Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood Review

Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood (2019) Movie Review By The Moviie Couple

Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood Review

Director: Quentin Tarantino
Writer: Quentin Tarantino
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie

Moviie Couple here!   We went to see Once Upon A Time in Hollywood this Saturday!!  Remember we are just a married couple that loves movies!  We’re here to tell you if we liked it.  Film experts we are not!  Just a quick reminder of our rating system. Mrs. Moviie Couple and I, rate films on whether they are worth the cash spent on a night out.  we use a 1-6 Dollar Bill system.  1-2 Bills equal a waste of both our time and money!  3-4 Bills equal Meh to Pretty Good, money well spent!  5-6 Bills equal Wow!  Well worth the price of dinner, movie and sitter! Please take our money again!

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is being billed as the ninth film directed by Quentin Tarantino. Tarantino also serves as writer. It stars Leonard DiCaprio and Brad Pitt as Rick Dalton and Cliff Booth, a star of 50’s television and his longtime friend and stunt double.  The film follows their lives as they are set on a collision course with the deadly night of the Sharon Tate murders committed by the Charles Manson “family” on August 9, 1969.  Sharon Tate is played by Margot Robbie.  Much in the spirit of Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, this story is a Tarantino “alternate history” film.

So it’s not a true Crime or a Bio-Pic movie, history in these types of films will not play out as expected.  You get a cast of many famous co stars, such as Al Pacino, Kurt Russell, Dakota Fanning, and many more.  Most fans of Tarantino films know what to expect from his stable of films, fast cars, a great soundtrack, loads of sharp dialogue and brutal violence.  So does this deliver?  Is Quentin on the top of his game?  Has the Maestro missed a step?  Let’s crank up the jukebox, put the top down, floor the gas pedal and find out!

So here we go!

Mr. Moviie Couple:  I have seen all of Quentin Tarantino’s films, some I absolutely love and others I find to be a mixed bag.  With Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (from this point on referred to as OUTH) I didn’t know which one I was going to get. The cast seemed top drawer, I mean you can’t get better, am I right?  The trailers seemed intriguing but left me wondering just what the movie was about.  I am somewhat unhappy to tell you that after sitting through nearly three hours of this film, I’m still not sure if that question has been answered. QT brings all the familiar elements from his films here as well,  great performances, exceptional musical selections,  realistic dialogue and at least one action packed finale, but the film still seems to have no rhyme or reason to it.

Leonardo DiCaprio, gives a fantastic performance as aging cowboy star Rick Dalton.  His portrayal of an actor dealing with the point in his life where he sees the sun setting on his career, is nothing short of perfection.  In the scene shown in most trailers where a young child actor whispers to him that his scene work was the best acting she has ever witnessed in her whole life, sums up what we are all watching. Leo absolutely kills the role.

Brad Pitt is equally good albeit in a much more subdued role as the buddy stunt double, Cliff Booth. His character is a war hero with a dubious background.  He is everything in real life that Rick plays in make believe, but in real life those dangerous, heroic characteristics often times come from a dark place. Cliff’s backstory is only told in snippets throughout the film, with little to no confirmation or details, and the audience is left to fill in many of the blanks. Pitt’s Cliff is a man with many issues and Pitt portrays him with an exceptional ease and a smile that hides whatever is dwelling just under Cliff’s surface. It is a performance equal to DiCaprio’s while at the same time being completely different.

Margot Robbie shines as Sharon Tate.  Her version of this 1960’s “It” girl seems to capture everything good about the tragic starlet. Unlike DiCaprio and Pitt, with who she barely shares any screen time with, Robbie had the challenge of playing the part of an actual person. Having seen films thatTate starred in, I can say I felt she captured the woman as well as anyone could.  At the same time, this was still a Robbie performance, but she seemed to capture the spark seen in Tate.  One scene in particular, of Tate watching her own movie when in a public theatre was excellent.  With no words, Robbie expresses the joy and nervous energy of someone hearing the public react to their craft in secret.  It was a fantastic and subtle scene.  Although her part didn’t have the same amount of lines as her male counterparts, Robbie was on par with them. She owned the screen any time she was on screen.

We have three outstanding performances, so what was missing for me?  Well let’s just say it was a long ride to get to one scene at the end that we all knew QT was heading to.  He took the scenic route.  At times this film reminded me of a QT Facebook adaptation if Facebook existed in 1969.  We see comments everyday demonstrating how mundane some Facebook entries can be. For example, “I took the dog for a walk today!”  “Going to the store for some shopping!”  “Choppin broccoli for dinner!”  Well at times, sometimes too many times, this movie seemed like we were watching an adaptation of what Cliff and Rick’s 1969 Facebook posts would have looked like if turned into a film by QT!  With the exception of a great scene where Cliff visits the “Manson Family” ranch unaware of the growing danger, but knowing something wasn’t right.  The hours of this film pass with little to know reason or suspense.  Other than the title, Once Upon a Time…., maybe being a clue and all QT wanted from this film was to take a Hollywood tragedy and give it a fairy tale ending we all wish had happened rather than the horrible reality the country all lived through, I can’t think of a theme or message this movie was trying to send me.

Man, just like the film itself, this review is dragging along!  It must be contagious!  So for the direction alone (QT really recaptures 1969 Hollywood down to every last little detail) and the actors all being on top of their games, OUTH is going to be getting 4 Bills from me!  Pretty Good, maybe you’ll like it, but be ready for nearly three hours of daily lives of a ‘69 actor and his buddy before the QT fireworks actually occur!  Sit back and enjoy three amazing actors doing what they do best until then!
Ms. Moviie Couple:  OK, Yes, it’s me again!  Hubby gets two weeks off from typing my review!

The acting from all three stars was out of this world!  Leo, Brad and Margot DO NOT disappoint! This movie is long, like WAY LONG!  And have I mentioned slow? For like the first one and a half hours it had me wondering what was going on, but be patient!  It’s worth the wait for the climax! The stories it was telling seemed very choppy to me. The plot didn’t flow smoothly for me. It went back and forth without any warning. I found it a bit hard to follow at times. You get a very in depth look into the lives of these specific main characters and what their day to day lives are like, but I felt it just wasn’t executed very well. Tarantino does eventually bring in the blood and guts!  Many of these were so graphic I found myself closing my eyes!  I prefer something be left to the imagination.

To be fair, this movie just isn’t my cup of tea,but I did enjoy the experience due to the cast members amazing performances!

I gave this movie 3 Bills!  The actors are phenomenal!  I would surely have rated it higher had it just been a bit more concise or just plain shorter.  But it’s hard to complain about spending three hours watching Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio, that’s for sure.

On the way home, We talked about just how great all of the lead actors were.  I kept commenting about the song choices, 60-70’s tunes are some of my favourites!  We both spoke about how well filmed the movie was, but we kept comparing our interpretations of what was the main point of the story, what was it ultimately attempting to convey? We don’t spoil here, so let’s just say we both had different ideas about how to answer that question. Thanks to my 4 Bills and the Mrs. 3 Bills, Once Upon a Time …In Hollywood tallies up an average of 3.5 Bills!  So closer to Pretty Good than Meh.  Not QTs best, but far from his worst!

So until next time, remember Hollywood isn’t all it’s made to appear, everyone’s career has a setting sun waiting for them, didn’t I read somewhere QT is writing a Star Trek script?  Be sure to check out our Twitter or Facebook for a clue to our next movie review.

Mr. & Mrs. Moviie Couple out!

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