‘Once upon a time in Hollywood’ is Quentin Tarantino’s ninth movie and supposedly his last.
For a Tarantino fan, this may be depressing news but if we focus on the groundbreaking brilliance created in the last 3 decades by this outstanding director, it feels like OUATIH has occurred at a perfect moment in time. A worthy finale, so to speak.
Now about the movie…
Like every piece of Tarantino, the characters in OUATIH are epic and the plot is engaging (as expected), though delivered in a somewhat laid-back manner. But the true essence of this movie is the grand tribute it offers to the Golden Age of Hollywood.
The hues, cues, drive-ins, tunes, costumes, attitude and of course, every dramatic motif…all cry 1960 Hollywood, a somewhat forgotten era. And not for a single moment is this prominent theme dropped or compromised in any way.
The movie’s been referred to as ‘a love letter from the director to Hollywood in the 1960’s’.
So, let’s talk about how Tarantino uses his skills to portray the good ‘ol LA days and the legacy it represents. Since you all know how much I love this city and who doesn’t love classic Hollywood or Tarantino, for that matter!
Sis Loves Me – True Inspiration
As awkward as it sounds the adult series dedicated to step sisters named SisLovesMe could really be a perfect explanation of Tarantino’s success with this one. Step sibling situations taking in real life scenarios have always been a taboo subject and this brand is clearly crossing the line. Just like Tarantino with his latest movies. Is this a coincidence? Who knows, it is still wort checking out Sis Loves Me for some funny footage!
Those Times, That Setting
Nostalgic 1969 LA in OAATIH was re-created and shot after months of planning with city officials and set designers and it shows.
Every small detail… from the original cutlery at Musso & Frank Grill, the theater’s signage, to even book covers in Larry Edmund’s bookshop.
Contemporary retro was what the director was aiming for and boy, did cinematographer Robert Richardson nail it.
Watching QUATIH is like being lost in time for two hour and forty minutes to emerge with a deeper understanding of life and Hollywood.
Plus, all of LA’s historical Hollywood structures…The Fox theaters, El Coyote Cafe, Playboy Mansion, The Capitol Records Building and Corringanville Movie Ranch. It’s all there, restored and spectacular!
Stereotypes And Scandal
Rick Dalton, Cliff Booth and Sharon Tate are the primary characters in the movie, each contributing their bit towards maintaining the theme and upholding a legacy. Rick is a Western series star, Cliff a veteran stuntman and Sharon, a trophy Hollywood wife married to director Roman Polanski.
They fall well into typical stereotypes of that era, while portraying insecurities, scandals, friendships and the balance of power between the genders at that time.
Many viewers and reviewers found Once Upon A Time In Hollywood to be somewhat sexist with most of the female characters shown as being scheming and revengeful. The male protagonist, however, though accused of murdering his wife, was repeatedly displayed as the victim!
Hence, the legacy we speak about that represents 1960’s Hollywood has so many layers, some mighty dark. But isn’t that what LA is all about? I believe that Tarantino was destined to make this movie as a befitting tribute to classic Hollywood, not missing all its wonderful shades of gray.