Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood

July 28, 2019 - Quentin Tarantino takes 2:40 to show us what was and what could have been in Hollywood. He rounds up a lot of faces familiar to his films, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, and Kurt Russell. New faces (at least for Tarantino) include Margot Robbie, Dakota Fanning, and Al Pacino.

The film is set in the late 1960s. DiCaprio plays an actor named Rick Dalton. He has a house in the Hollywood Hills. His new neighbors are actress Sharon Tate and her director husband, Roman Polanski. They've lived there for about a month. Rick hasn't met them yet, but he really would love to meet Polanski.

See, about 10 years earlier, Dalton starred in a hit TV Western. Now, he's an alcoholic who's been reduced to guest-starring roles as "the bad guy." When a producer (Al Pacino) suggests that Rick go to Italy to make Westerns there, Rick's stuntman/gofer/friend, Cliff Booth (Pitt) is ready to go along for the ride.

While Rick considers the career move, he spends the day on the set of the pilot for a TV Western titled Lancer. Cliff drops him off at the studio, picks up a hippie chick, and ends up at a ranch that's been taken over by members of the Manson family. Several months later, Cliff encounters some of those family members again when they break into Rick's house with nothing but murder on their minds.

Overall review: **** I was only going to give this film three stars, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought it deserved four, especially since I don't give half-stars. So, why round up? Well, mostly because it's a very good film that I can't find a lot of fault with. The performances are good, the set pieces are good, the soundtrack is good. There's really nothing wrong with it. The only thing I can say is that, even though the ending of the film allows for the possibility of "happily ever after," I left instead feeling melancholy, saddened by a sense of loss for what might have been.