Once Upon a Tarantino
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Review by Ross Anthony

Pitt and DiCaprio fill the big screen with great acting. Tarantino directs each scene carefully, making sure to sprinkle glowing visual details that evoke an ironic sense of rosy-glass nostalgia as the film plays out against the twisted backdrop of the Manson murders. Though using actual names and locations, Tarantino oddly chooses to change actual history. It's a bold choice, but the pay off is low. In fact, he may have gotten more traction with a fully fictionalized "Manson-like" intention.

Scene by scene, I love the direction and cinematography. The film has been criticized for the dialogue, but for the most part, I enjoyed that as well. And despite the loose Manson connection, the film is mostly light, fun and funny. Even the brutal scenes (and they are graphic), have a sense of humor. It's easy to imagine Tarantino laughing his head off while watching them.

That said, this whole is not greater than the sum of its parts. In fact, it is squarely all about the parts which are so good that even after nearly 3 hours you might not notice that the main characters have no arcs, nothing is learned, real victims of a serious crime were used as props, and a cohesive story feels secondary. (Best viewed with the confident half-smile of bemusement that comfortably resides on the face of Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) during most of the adventure.)

-- Books by Author/Illustrator Ross Anthony --


  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Copyright © 2019.
  • Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Luke Perry, Dakota Fanning, Al Pacino, Kurt Russell, Emile Hirsch, Bruce Dern, Mike Moh. Written & Directed by Quentin Tarantino. Columbia Pictures.

Grade..........................B+ (2.5/4)


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Copyright © 1998-2019 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at HollywoodReportCard.com, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: www.RossAnthony.com or call 1-800-767-7186. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.


Last Modified: Saturday, 17-Aug-2019 07:36:08 PDT