Los Angeles hosts the famous Hollywood sign. Photo by: Pexels.com
Los Angeles hosts the famous Hollywood sign. Photo by: Pexels.com

Tarantino Captures Hollywood Nostalgia from the Summer of 1969

A mashup of drugs, sex, violence, and rock n’ roll carry the dead weight of stroytelling in Hollywood within Quentin Tarantino’s ninth film. Once Upon A Time In… Hollywood does deliver heartfelt acting and memorable cinematography.

I’ll make no bones about it; violence in cinema, especially in this era of gun violence, is totally unacceptable. Yes, it is the laws around guns that make it worse in the United States, but as media producers, we no longer need to turn to a cheap form of entertainment for the act of storytelling. It is not just Tarantino, it is all mainstream use of violence in cinema.

The acting from Leonard DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, and Margot Robbie was exceptional. DiCaprio performed as multiple characters in this film and helped display his range as an actor.

The fictional characters of Rick Dalton and Cliff Booth provide a organic chemistry between Pitt and DiCaprio.

The directing from Tarantino is something that myself and others all seem to enjoy, but his writing and use of narrative could be refined in my view.

Drugs

Nicotine is a commonly known drug in cigarettes, as well as a commonly used prop in Tarantino films. This film goes off the deep end with one scene involving a cigarette break.

Overall, Once Upon A Time In… Hollywood danced around the pitfalls of drugs addiction in Hollywood, but also felt like it glorified them on some accounts as well. The end scene after the credits is an example.

Sex

The era of the late ’60s did inspire a lot of free love. This film didn’t use any direct love making scenes, but did have a considerable amount of flesh throughout the 161 minutes.

The scene at the Playboy Mansion felt like it embodied the spirit of that era. It played along with the real life story of Sharon Tate.

Violence

Any diehard Tarantino fan knows his use of violence, which I expected during the screening of the film. In some scenes he even toned it down for some death scenes, but come on, why so many death scenes? Why any violent death scene? People can die naturally in a hospital.

To me, a violent death scene is a cheap pop in filmmaking.

But, I will often watch a Tarantino film and think, here comes another violent death scene. At one point, a death scene was getting laughs at the theater. It blurred the lines of protagonist vs. the antagonist in a way that I felt needed to be covered.

This film will probably be picked apart for years to come, but I noticed that the good guy vs. bad guy narrative was distorted in several moments. I will not be providing any of the plot in this review to avoid spoilers. That being said, there are grey areas surrounding this film that are completely the imagination of Tarantino, and should be viewed with a critical eye.

Rock n’ Roll

Maybe I think different about producing film. My goal is to bridge cultural gaps, usually with music. Which Once Upon A Time In… Hollywood delivers an amazing soundtrack circling around the late ’60s.

The car driving scene with the use of ‘Hush’ by Deep Purple reminded me of my youth of watching movies during the summer.

The character of Rick Dalton is strikingly similar with myself. From being related to a Dalton, to his character starting off in Missouri, (I’m from Illinoins.) In addition to his age and perspective on life, I can directly relate to how he feels. For those that might have felt lost in their career or with themselves, my best advice is to work multiple jobs at the same time to figure out what you are the most passionate about. Spend quality time with your friends and family. And the rest will work itself out.

Overall, Once Upon A Time In… Hollywood is another creative work from one of the best directors of our generation. I assume it will win several awards, and be criticized as well as applauded for many years to come.

Browse over a series of videos covering the film on YouTube: