Fish and Cherries Productions

Creative content from a mad mind.


Reel Snippet – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Tale as old as Tinseltown.

Summary: Back in 1969, Hollywood Western star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) is falling into despair as he’s realizing that he’s past his prime and Hollywood is leaving him behind. His best friend and stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) encourages him and pushes him to keep going, particularly with Dalton’s new show coming up, while doing odd jobs for Dalton on his days off. But in Dalton’s head, his only hope lies in his next door neighbor Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie), who is married to famous director Roman Polanski (Rafa? Zawierucha) and could be the key to getting his career back on track. One fine day, each of them sets out to enjoy one day in Hollywood, going about their daily business and chasing their own desires, unaware that things are slowly coming together in a twisted way.

Review: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood was a technically well-made movie in regards to camerawork and acting, but the problem was the story. Mainly, there was both too much of it and barely any at all. The movie jumps between different individual storylines with no rhyme, reason, or sometimes even payoff, leaving a disjointed narrative and a very unsatisfied reviewer. You could cut Margot Robbie out of the movie entirely and the movie would have lost nothing except for a fakeout that’ll come later.

So yeah, I already wasn’t having a good experience with the story, but what made it worse was how punishingly long it was. This movie clocks in at two hours and forty-one minutes and boy, does it feel like an eternity. Avengers: Endgame and each Lord of the Rings movie have longer runtimes and none of those felt as long as Quinten Tarantino’s latest film here. Again, a lot of this comes down to the stories and how they don’t even connect until the end, which might explain why I don’t remember most of the events that happened to Brad Pitt. Now Tarantino is no stranger to stories with multiple plot lines, like Pulp Fiction or Inglorious Basterds, but those films had a rhythm to them. Here, scenes are slapped against each other back to back with extremely clunky segues switching between them. Also, did I mention how pointless Margot Robbie’s scenes were? Well, it bears repeating: Margot Robbie’s scenes are freaking pointless!

Well… not entirely. It’s time for some spoilers.


The climax of this movie is a conflict with some of the Manson family, who killed an eight-months-pregnant Sharon Tate in real life. Here, they start next door at Rick Dalton’s house and fall victim to one of Tarantino’s classic blood baths as Dalton, Booth, and his dog tear through them. So yeah, Robbie as Sharon Tate was meant to tie our male leads to the Manson family and serve as a red herring. This is following Tarantino’s latest trend of historical rewrites to punish horrible people, like Hitler in Inglorious Basterds and slave owners in Django Unchained. The difference here is that, while the violence in those movies was certainly over the top, this instance felt much more drawn out and gratuitous. The Hitler shooting lasted for about ten seconds and conveyed all it needed to, but here we got “treated” to shards of something in someone’s face and the dog ripping and snapping different assailants about. It was too much for me and the fact that the Manson family spent about five minutes discussing their motivations didn’t help.


My favorite parts were probably Rick Dalton on the sets of a new Western movie and a big part of that has to do with a young method actor named Trudi Fraser (Julia Butters). She is legitimately the best character in the movie, hands down. I also loved the part where Booth encouraged Dalton about his stumbling career, only to drive home and reveal to the audience the squalor that he lives in compared to his friend. Everything else just feels like a missed opportunity. Bruce Lee (Mike Moh) appears at several points in the movie and doesn’t serve any real purpose apart from reminding the audience that Bruce Lee existed back then. The movie also heavily leans on the male gaze for its cinematography and while I’m not opposed to fan service and wouldn’t shame anyone for liking that stuff, there came a point where it started to feel way too excessive. But the biggest missed opportunity was when Booth smokes a cigarette laced with acid and we don’t get to see his trip from his perspective. Just imagine how much more engaging and visually spectacular the final fight could have been through an acid lens.

All in all, this experience has made me wonder if I’ve outgrown Tarantino films. I wasn’t as entertained by the quirky filmmaking choices and when I wasn’t disgusted or annoyed, I was just bored. If I wanted to see an over the top movie about the old days of Hollywood, I’d watch The Nice Guys again. It seems like a lot of people like this movie, but I left the theater feeling very angry as if something had been taken away from me (specifically almost three hours of my life). So yeah, screw this movie. Y’all can love this movie, but I never want to think about it again.

Fun Tidbit: Say what you want about Margot Robbie’s scenes, but it’s hard to deny their authenticity. Robbie is wearing Sharon Tate’s actual jewelry, donated to her by Sharon’s sister Debra.

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