Once Upon a Time in... Hollywood (2019)
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The more I think about Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, the more I like it, but in the watching of it, I did feel a little listless at times (as with The Hateful Eight). It doesn't need to be that long, and a lot of points it makes are way too on the nose. If anyone wants to call this QT's "most personal film", I think they would be right. Fictional actor Rick Dalton is on the other side of his career peak, and so is the cowboy in the novel he's reading, so we might see this as Tarantino's own midlife crisis movie. There are references to many of his past films (Rick stars in an Inglorious Basterds-type film, Bruce Lee is a character, Kurt Russell is a stuntman, and the film's relationship with the Manson Family Murders is akin to Basterds' with World War II. The foot fetish has never been more blatant, with way too many feet pressed up against the lens. And of course, it's about making films in the era that begat a lot of what QT would later use as inspiration, and a chance to indulge in the gadget side of things, reproducing looks from old films in the Dalton vignettes. On the other hand, the language is more naturalistic and less "written" than any of his past efforts (that may or may not be a positive, depending). We spend two-thirds of the film getting to know the amusingly pathetic Dalton, his stunt double Cliff Booth, and real-life murder victim Sharon Tate (a loving portrayal compared to the comedy wrung out of the other two), then we finally get to brass tacks and things get tense and violent. So while there's a lot of humor and knowing the characters as well as we do helps the pay-off, it's still a film that indulges in long detours from the plot. A lot of the best scenes are in those detours, but sitting in the theater, I did long for a tighter focus.
Well, I can now say there's never too much of Brad Pitt driving around listening to the radio.
Tarantino's feet-iest movie yet
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