Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Grade: A+

In the world of Hollywood, there are many people involved in the making of a movie or television show. Oftentimes, the only names you hear associated with the movie are the director’s name and the main actor’s name starring in the film. You never hear about a grip or a lighting tech, or an actor’s stunt double to list a few examples. An actor’s stunt double sometimes has it harder than the actor and gets little to no credit for his work save for in the credits of the movie. If you’re a stuntman in the business, nobody will know your name or even know who you are around the set. Unless you’re an actor that does their own stunts such as Tom Cruise, it is pretty much impossible to make a name for yourself in Hollywood because you are seen as replaceable. As a stunt double, it takes a lot of work and a long standing relationship with the actor you step in for in order to survive in a world where you are always looking for your next gig.

In Quentin Tarantino’s 9th film, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” the audience gets to look into the lives of slowly fading tv actor Rick Dalton (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) and his trusty stunt double Cliff Booth (played by Brad Pitt). Dalton and Booth have been working together for many years and the film showcases a time in their lives where things got a little sticky. While Dalton is on set of his latest gig, Booth is sent off to repair Dalton’s tv antenna because there is no work for him on this job. Booth gets introduced to the Manson family because he finally agrees to pick up a hitchhiking hippie girl and takes her back to the Spahn Hollywood Ranch. Without going into spoilers, of course, things get crazy soon after that and the ride is pretty wild!

I think it is pretty safe to say that this was my favorite movie of the summer so far. Tarantino gifts his audience with two hours and forty one minutes of laughter and thrills. Even though I was a tad bit disappointed that DiCaprio and Pitt are not on the screen together as much as I thought they would be, because the way the story unfolds, it does make sense and I enjoyed the heck out of it. Needless to say, the acting in the movie was superb across the board. DiCaprio and Pitt were incredible as well as Margot Robbie who plays Sharon Tate. I enjoyed DiCaprio’s performance because he was perfect for Dalton’s character. Pitt was perfect as Booth, playing a happy go lucky badass who is always down to fight.

Being that I was born in 1983, I missed the sixties in their entirety. From what I could tell, Tarantino nailed the look of the sixties in the movie. You will see many famous signs in Hollywood getting a retro makeover and you truly believe that you’re back in time. Since it was shot all around Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley, where I live, it was cool to see the movie use the real locations. There are scenes at Musso and Frank’s Grill, El Coyote, the Playboy mansion, and even Casa Vega. The look was perfectly paired with a rocking sixties soundtrack featuring artists such as Paul Revere and the Raiders, and Neil Diamond.

If you are familiar with Tarantino’s previous work, a few of his films are drenched in violence from start to finish, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” is slightly different. For a good majority of the movie only mild violence occurs. I was thinking to myself halfway through the film “Shouldn’t there be more gratuitous violence? This is a Tarantino movie afterall.” Not to give anything away, but the movie does have its fair share of graphic violence that you can’t help but just laugh at and enjoy because it is so satisfying! Violence aside, one of the film’s heartfelt messages is friendship and how important it can be in life. A friend can do so much, a friend will be there to support you, a friend will be there to listen to you and a friend may even end up saving your life.

Bottom line, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” is a must see. Definitely bring your friends along to the theater and take in a film that will have you laughing and making you realize how great life is with friends. You will have so much fun in the movie theater. Do not miss this gem!

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