Once Up a Time in Hollywood is the latest film from famed director, Quentin Tarantino, who made such classics as Pulp Fiction, Inglorious Bastards, The Hateful Eight, and many more.
In his latest, a sort of alt-history piece about the changing of generations within the Hollywood realm. It was probably based on many characters the director heard or knew of about how a once famous TV star (DiCaprio) of a western (remember Wagon Train, The Rifleman, Paladin, Rawhide (with a young Clint Eastwood) that ran in the 1950's and then again for another generation in the 1960's on reruns. It is also about his stunt man (Pitt) who served him all those years ago and is finding hard to find jobs. Then, it intertwines with some real Hollywood history of the infamous mass murder Mansion cult in 1969, the year the movie takes place in. Once it is intertwined with the theme of a "changing of generations in Hollywood" from the old to young, the Mansion murders run a parallel to it, as Pitt picks up a young hitchhiker from the Mansion cult (unknowingly) and takes her to an old studio lot called Spawn Ranch where the cult did actually live on. While there, he meets several members of the cult using their real nicknames and even a man called, Tex. Again, all real history but no Charlie Manson except in one brief scene where Manson was casing the Sharon Tate's home, again, this did all occur.
Now, if you know nothing about how Sharon Tate was butchered by Mansion in 1969, you won't understand the connection or some of the film because in the third act, much of it is the alt-history. It is in the last act that the only violence in the movie occurs in bloody fashion but it is with Pitt and his pit bull dog, NOT the murder of Tate. You see, history notes on this night, the Mansion cult members went to Sharon's Tate home and conducted a ghastly crime still known today. But, in Once Upon a Time, alt history occurs when the members encounter an angry DiCaprio outside who chases them away outside of his home (which is next to Tate's). The cult members return with a vengeance (even though they were fans of this old western they watched as kids). Pitt was visiting DiCaprio's home then and was on acid when the cult members bust in and mayhem ensues. DiCaprio was outside in the pool with headphones on and oblivious to the noise from the inside until a cult member attacks him.
The fight sequence that follows is classic in a zombie-like manner, as the cult member seems to never die until DiCaprio fetches a flamethrower and fries her. Very typical of Tarantino films. Pitt was shot and taken away while DiCaprio, the aging actor, mulls over the crazy event outside and eventually meets Sharon Tate.
The movie reflects how society keeps to themselves until some sort of tragic event, it is only then do you meet your neighbors. Sharon Tate really was a rising, young star, with only movie with Dean Martin to her name. Her beauty and abilities could have made her a leading actress. This is also visited in the movie when she goes to the movie herself to watch. As for DiCaprio, the movie begins with him facing the dilemma of getting parts as he tries to avoid being a had been actor whose time has passed. As the movie evolves, he changes from short hair (the old way) to long hair (the new way) to fit the fashion of that time. As for Pitt, he plays the old stunt man that still looks great and can throw a punch, but, he is worried about his future and concerned about what will happen as he ages.
Once Upon a Time is not a great movie, but it is certainly worth seeing. There is depth in the characters and the acting is great. It resembles 1969 very much- anywhere in California, not just Hollywood.
Michael115 on August 02, 2019:
Yea that was hysterical and over the top!
perrya (author) on August 02, 2019:
The more memorable scene is Decaprio frying the cult attacked with the flamethrower in the pool.
Michael115 on August 01, 2019:
Yea that trailer scene was one of the funniest parts in the movie. It makes you wonder how difficult being an actor can be. They have to deal with a lot of pressure.
perrya (author) on August 01, 2019:
I generally agree, DiCaprio's scene when he was disgusted with himself as an actor inside his trailer shows why why he is on the A-list. Pitt reminded me of his earlier roles when he was much younger, but he is showing his age.
Michael115 on July 31, 2019:
The ranch scene and the ending scene are the best parts of the movie. Basically all the scenes with Brad Pitt were great. Leo did have some good parts but Pitt stole this movie!