Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood may not be Tarantino’s strongest film though I did enjoy this experience more than The Hateful Eight thanks to his attention to detail for the era along with some fun performances by both DiCaprio and Pitt.
Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
Genre(s): Drama, Comedy
Sony | R – 161 min. – $38.99 | December 10, 2019
Date Published: 12/14/2019 | Author: The Movieman
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.
THE MOVIE — 3.0/5
Plot Synopsis: Actor Rick Dalton (LEONARDO DICAPRIO) gained fame and fortune by starring in a 1950s television Western, but is now struggling to find meaningful work in a Hollywood that he doesn’t recognize anymore. He spends most of his time drinking and palling around with Cliff Booth (BRAD PITT), his easygoing best friend and longtime stunt double. Rick also happens to live next door to Roman Polanski (RAFAL ZAWIERUCHA) and Sharon Tate (MARGOT ROBBIE) — the filmmaker and budding actress whose futures will forever be altered by members of the Manson Family.
Review: Generally, I love Quentin Tarantino and of his movies. He has a unique voice that rarely, if ever, comes across as obnoxious where others, particularly in the low budget student film realm unsuccessfully try to emulate. Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown are two of my all-time favorite movies and even enjoyed aspects of Death Proof, though that might because it features Vanessa Ferlito giving a lap dance… Also enjoyed the hell out of Inglorious Basterds, his first foray into the alternate history cinema. Django Unchained was a great flick with some amazing performances by Jamie Foxx and Leonardo DiCaprio. Then came The Hateful Eight, an 1800s-era Western that I wanted to love, seeing twice in fact, but had a difficult time sitting through, although the dialogue was still sharp as were the performances, just some scenes dragged on a bit (the path from the saloon to outhouse was tedious.
Now his follow-up, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood is Tarantino’s ninth feature and might be his last, though there is still talk of him doing an R-rated Star Trek movie, but who knows. It would be a suitable finale for the filmmaker as it is a love song to 1960s Hollywood and he does a hell of a job re-creating the era, even inserting DiCaprio’s Rick Dalton character into The Great Escape in place of Steve McQueen; wasn’t flawless but actually not bad. Speaking of Leonardo DiCaprio, this is another captivating performance, worthy of his recent Golden Globe nomination and might nab him an Academy Award nod as well.
Brad Pitt for his part in a more supporting role works well opposite DiCaprio and has his fair share of memorable scenes, especially once he meets the Manson Family clan at an old western set. Not sure this is the best I’ve seen Pitt, but his charming personality we’ve seen going over a decade is still present and well. Meanwhile, Margot Robbie inhabits the Sharon Tate so well and puts Hilary Duff’s performance more to shame; instead of some caricature gives a part that was limited some life. Oh, and it wouldn’t be a Tarantino film without women’s feet prominently displayed as Robbie’s was in one scene that made me laugh out loud at how ridiculous they were front and center (and Margaret Qualley also gets the foot treatment right against a windshield). At this juncture, have to wonder if Tarantino is trolling the audience or satisfying his fetish (perhaps both).
Alright, so with the praise I had for this movie, which includes the amazing final 15-minutes, I must admit, I wasn’t entirely in love with Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood in part because I didn’t find the bulk of the film all that engrossing outside of a scene or two, that is when I was admiring DiCaprio’s performance or the attention to detail Tarantino and his crew put into recreating 1969 Hollywood. This isn’t to say I was bored or anything, but I wasn’t entranced either, especially compared with some of Tarantino’s other works.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.0/5
This release comes with a semi-glossy slip cover and the back has the poster artwork (the UPC is on a removable sticker). Inside is a redemption code for the Digital HD copy.
Additional Scenes (25:01) — There are scenes here, including a couple fake adverts. Not sure how much of this was re-inserted for the extended cut.
Quentin Tarantino’s Love Letter to Hollywood (5:00) — Short featurette with some on-set interview with the cast (including, DiCaprio, Pitt and Robbie) and crew on the story behind OUATIH. Tarantino is included though looks like it was for a promotional interview.
Bob Richardson: For the Love of Film (4:34) is a profile on Tarantino’s longtime collaborator cinematographer.
Shop Talk: The Cars of 1969 (5:58) looks at the many classic cars featured and how they played into the story and characters.
Restoring Hollywood: The Production Design of OUATIH (9:18) covers re-creating the era of Hollywood in 1969.
The Fashion of 1969 (6:37) — Featurette that looks at the costume designs.
VIDEO – 4.5/5
|Sony releases OUATIH presented in the original 2.39 widescreen aspect ratio and has been given a great looking 1080p high-definition transfer. This is a brilliant looking picture, detail is relatively sharp (for both close-ups and the more distant shots) throughout but where it excels with some vibrant colors, bringing 1969 Hollywood to life, along with natural looking skin tones. Pretty much as with most of Tarantino’s movies, save perhaps for The Hateful Eight and Inglorious Basterds), his films do have a vitality to them.
AUDIO – 4.5/5
|The disc comes with a somewhat strong DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. Like the picture, Tarantino’s research for the time period, and certainly his own personal experiences, come to fruition in the form of some great music to go along with the sights and sounds, even simply the noises of the vehicles.
OVERALL – 3.5/5
Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood may not be Quentin Tarantino’s strongest film, not by a long shot, though I did enjoy this experience more than The Hateful Eight thanks to his attention to detail for the era along with some fun performances by both Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, with honorable mention to an underutilized Margot Robbie.