“Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood” is Quentin Tarantino’s latest project to hit the big screen. Set in 1969 Los Angeles, California, this is the tale of a known action hero who’s star is fading and his faithful stunt double. Leonard DiCaprio plays former western series star Rick Dalton as he is trying to find the next project to bring him back to the level of popularity that he once had. His current projects have been guest staring on popular weekly shows, and as famous director Roman Polanski moves into the house next door, he wonders if that will bring the project he wants his way.
Brad Pitt plays Cliff Booth, Dalton’s long-time stunt double, best friend, and man Friday who is dealing with his own issues, with a lot of other characters working their own arcs (which tends to be a specialty of Tarantino, who also wrote the script). There is a lot more to this story as it unfolds, but to go too much deeper may spoil some things for our readers and listeners, so I will stop there.
I admit that I am not normally a fan of Pitt’s work, but he really brings his A-Game to this role to the point where I wasn’t watching Brad Pitt; I was watching Cliff Booth. This is paired with a strong cast who shows how much they were truly into this project.
In true Tarantino fashion, “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood” is filled with sights and sounds of its time. From the cinematography to costuming and set/ design, the crew did a fantastic job of bringing back 1969 Los Angeles. Several of the things even featured in the background triggered memories for me, from billboards of movies to the look of a fast food chain that is still around today. Watching it in 35 mm added to the experience for me, and while that may not need to be a deal-breaker, go check it out!