Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – The STiXXclusive Review

Once upon a time, Jordan Hayles used to write reviews more frequently, but life happens, so this is what it is now. If you’ve found your way to reading this, much appreciated. My visits to the movies haven’t been as frequent, because again, life happens, but as the 2019 awards season gears up, there are a lot of solid films that I’ll be paying attention to. As the 2nd half of a double feature day with my Mother, the Ninth installment of Quentin Tarantino’s legendary filmography was the film that caught interest from both of us, so it was a no brainer to indulge.

Now, if you’re not familiar with Quentin Tarantino’s films in depth, or haven’t seen one of his films period, he has a distinct style of storytelling where he pays great attention to detail with his lead characters’ development, while never deviating from the supporting cast as afterthoughts. Everyone has their fare share, and the pieces of the puzzle always come together, although he has a tendency of starting his movies in the middle of some tragedy and then works his way forwards by telling different perspectives of the story, then bringing it altogether in often violent, but poignant ways. Pulp Fiction is one of my favourite movies by him, and his style is one that is hard to imitate, so it’s just best to appreciate.

Tarantino is a director that isn’t without controversy, and this movie certainly had its own leading up to its release, and it really is a thing with Hollywood that loves to make movies about its culture, but this one had a twist that I had no idea about until my mother broke it down. In a strange & twisted way, this movie was based on a true tragedy that happened 50 years ago involving the Manson Family murdering 7 people, but I promise you, it isn’t a spoiler, unless you knew of the story beforehand. My mom broke it down for me after the movie, and I was shocked. I like going into movies not knowing anything about it (unless it’s adapted by a book I’ve read), that way I don’t have a pre-conceived idea about what it’s about, and boy was this one of those times that I appreciated that method.

Leonardo Dicaprio & Brad Pitt very rarely miss individually, but together it’s as though they were a match made in heaven. The story of a Hollywood actor who has seen his heyday and is desperately trying to stay active in the business, while looking the death of his career blank in the face, doesn’t scream of a movie that would peak the interests of many, but their performances certainly made it worth the length of the film. Margot Robbie’s role was met with criticism because she doesn’t have a lot of lines, but again, thankfully my Mother broke that down too, because her character, Sharon Tate, was a mythological-type actress whom many didn’t know much about, so her lines were limited in the film. At some point, people just have to stop jumping into the biggest pots of conclusions before seeing the whole story, and Quentin is a director who doesn’t stray away from the feeling of discomfort (does the Mandingo fighting scene in Django ring a bell?).

This movie moved slow, and to be honest with you, I didn’t know which direction it was going, because it was just profiling Leo, Brad & Margot with no hint of any connection occurring, until it finally happened. The last 20-30 minutes of the film reveal everything, and it’s executed in the most Tarantino way possible, drawing callbacks to a lot of his older films – I spotted Kill Bill, Inglorious Bastards, Reservoir Dogs, and potentially Pulp Fiction, but I may be reaching with that one. There was even a Snatch reference for Brad Pitt, so I appreciated that as well.

The history behind the Manson murders is chilling, and as I was counselled by my Mother, there’s a whole rabbit hole of information related to Charles & the rest of the members who committed the heinous crime, so that definitely might be an interesting subject to research in the near future. But in the meantime, this is a movie that you can take a few hours out of your day to enjoy, given that Quentin is likely going to make good on his promise on only giving us 10 movies, and this is number 9. Gotta give the artists their roses instead of finding each and every flaw in them to snuff out their entire art’s work. But for now, this is my opinion, this is my review,

That’s My Word & It STiXX

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