Super Chill Movie Review: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

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CREDIT: Andrew Cooper/Sony Pictures Entertainment

A movie that presents an alternative history can be cathartic, and there may be no better example of that than Hitler biting it at the theater in Inglourious Basterds. Quentin Tarantino goes back to that well once more with Once Upon a Time in Hollywood by considering: in 1969, a pregnant Sharon Tate was murdered by members of the Manson Family, but what if things had gone a little differently? It must be said, though, that while going back and getting rid of Hitler as soon as possible is a fantasy harbored by many, I don’t think it’s as widely-held a wish that Tate and her baby had been spared. Since the relatability factor isn’t as built-in, Tarantino lets us see Margot Robbie as Tate just living her life and finding the joy in being a movie star, ultimately giving this what-if scenario enough oomph. And on a pure cinematic level, the climactic showdown with Charles Manson’s associates just ramps up the preposterousness factor to an irresistible degree.

Beyond that wild what-if, I found Once Upon a Time most satisfying in the comfy friendship between struggling actor Rick Dalton (Leo DiCaprio) and his steady stunt double Cliff Booth (Mr. Brad Pitt). After a busy day on a Hollywood set, a typical night for them consists of pizza and beer at Rick’s house. That sounds like an ideal evening, if you ask me. There are a lot of kooky characters and psychological pitfalls in Hollyweird, and sometimes, especially in 1969, there is also real mortal danger. So the melancholy-but-resilient mood between Rick and Cliff in the face of all that is by contrast delightfully optimistic and downright inspiring.

I give Once Upon a Time in Hollywood 40 Job Securities out of 50 Flamethrowers.

Entertainment To-Do List: Week of 7/26/19

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BTS, Bashir Salahuddin as Sherman McDaniels, Diallo Riddle as Drummer – Sherman’s Showcase _ Season 1 – Photo Credit: Michael Moriatis/IFC

Every week, I list all the upcoming (or recently released) movies, TV shows, albums, podcasts, etc. that I believe are worth checking out.

Movies
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Theatrically Nationwide) – Quentin Tarantino keeps getting closer to retirement. Sooner or later, we’re all out of the game.

TV
Jane the Virgin Series Finale (July 31 on The CW)
Sherman’s Showcase Series Premiere (July 31 on IFC) – Sort of a fictional Soul Train.

Music
-Of Monsters and Men, Fever Dream