ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD
Quentin Tarantino is known for weird, wild and violent movies. And that’s just what we get in Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood. There’s a lot to go into with this one, but we’re keeping the Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood Parent Movie Review spoiler free. Because, yes, this movie could be easily spoiled. Which is why you want to go see it sooner rather than later.
About Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
1969 Hollywood is the setting of the 9th film from Quentin Tarantino. Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio),a has-been star of westerns, and his stunt double and friend Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) are coming to grips with this fact. Hollywood has changed and they haven’t- and that’s the crux of the problem. Oh, and Rick’s neighbor is Sharon Tate- yep, that Sharon Tate.
Runtime: 159 minutes
For fun, check out the Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood spoilers without context. And you might also want to look for all the cameos in Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood in this post.
Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood Review
I’m not a huge Quentin Tarantino fan, though I do absolutely love Pulp Fiction. But overall, I don’t put him on some pedestal of brilliance.
This movie, however, was pretty freakin’ brilliant. I can’t rank Tarantino movies or tell you where this one falls in relation to his others as they aren’t my jam.
But as a stand-alone movie, this story of late 60s Hollywood is almost a love letter to the city. And it’s one written by someone who sees the real you but loves you anyway.
The dialog is very Tarantino: it’s funny, snappy, edgy and smart for the most part. Its also fully profanity-laced, but, hey- that’s what you’d expect if you know anything about Quentin Tarantino.
My big issue with the dialogue was the use of race as a punchline, which happened far too often. Yes, I’m aware it’s set in the period where this was all too common but it still came across as the means to a laugh rather than something necessary for the plot.
About The Plot and Characters
There are 3 stories to follow, and they cross paths at times. It felt a little Pulp Fiction-y but without the pacing and timing of that film.
It drags a little in spots, but it didn’t bother me or distract on a level that took away from the overall effect of the story being told.
All of the main characters were developed and interesting. Brad Pitt, however, steals the show with his comedic timing. And his dog is pretty fantastic as well.
Cliff holds the plot together and does it as effortlessly as he handles his boss & their relationship of friends and coworkers.
His swagger and acceptance of the end of his career are charming and you just feel like he’s going to make it all work- whatever that might look like.
Outside of language and the last act filled with hardcore violence, this was pretty tame for Quentin Tarantino.
Read that again: tame for Quentin Tarantino- not tame in any way, shape or form.
This movie sleeps along until the 3rd act when all of a sudden you’re going THERE IT IS.
If you find it a tad slow, hang in there.
The payoff is more than worth it, especially if you’re a Hollywood aficionado. The last 30 or so minutes take you through just about every emotion possible and it’s extremely satisfying on multiple levels. I absolutely loved it- even as I flinched and squirmed away from the screen.
When you see it, you’ll understand what I mean.
What’s With The Feet, Quentin?
One thing, though.
There’s a lot of focus on women’s feet in this movie. I don’t know if this is some weird fetish Tarantino has or what exactly the deal is, but, um… eww.
One character takes her boots off for a gratuitous shot of her dirty feet on the back of a chair. One time we see dirty (again) feet pushed up against a windshield of a car.
It’s just, well, weird. Not Gimp level weird, maybe harmless weird, but… totally weird all the same. But that’s what we signed up for when we paid for this movie I guess.
Are There End Scenes in Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood?
There is one short scene at mid-credits featuring Rick Dalton.
It’s not necessary to stick around for, but its there if you want to stick around for the end credit scene.
When Can You Pee DuringOnce Upon a Time… in Hollywood?
This is a long movie, y’all! And sometimes that big soda can come back to haunt you in long movies like this.
So when can you run to the bathroom during Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood?
Here are a few options in case you do need to pee that won’t have you missing too much of the action or plot.
- When Cliff leaves Rick’s house around 20 minutes in.
- After the Manson introduction scene around 50 minutes. Which is creepy as hell, by the way.
- When the scene transitions to Sharon in the movie theater for the 2nd time around 1:18
- After the scene being shot with Rick on the TV set around 1:30
- When Cliff leaves the ranch and drives off around 1:50. This is the last time I’d suggest leaving the theater because things start rocking after this.
Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood Parent Movie Review
As I said before, this is tame for Tarantino. But there are still some pretty graphic moments and things parents need to know about before they allow their children to watch it.
Older teens should be ok assuming they know a little background about the time period and the Manson family. That’s an essential point to the plot. If they don’t know Manson, then they are going to be a little lost. My guess is that most teens probably don’t know Charles Manson or his story.
I didn’t care for the use of racist slang and insults that were put in for laughs. Yes, the 70s were different. And DiCaprio plays an actor in scenes set even farther back in time. But this felt beyond the setting and era. It was too much for me and not something I need my kids to think is funny.
There’s tons of profanity with more uses of the F word than I could count. Sex is spoken about but not seen, there was no nudity either.
Drugs, drinking and heavy smoking were rampant.
As far as violence is concerned, it was heavy at the end of the movie. But up until the last act, it was fistfights and bloody noses. The violence at the end is extreme, however, so it negates the rest of the movie.
Patty Holliday is a movie critic, writer, and podcaster living in the Washington, DC area. Her goal is to bridge the gap between casual fandom and picky critic with parent movie and television reviews.