In a word:  Disappointing

     Titillated by the previews and the heavy-hitters cast, we were expecting non-stop scenes full of action, Hollywood nostalgia and heart-wrenching plots that simply didn’t deliver, not until the ending, that is. With the picture stretching 2 hours and 40 minutes, it seemed director, Quentin Tarantino did all he could to drag out the movie with unnecessary scenes and/or some painfully elongated, that it digressed from the story lines. Lots of movie shots inside the vehicles.

     One example of wasteful scene time was Actress Margot Robbie who actually does a good job of portraying Sharon Tate (who was murdered by the Manson Gang in 1969). In one long and boring scene, Tate is enamored with herself having been cast in a Hollywood movie. Upon seeing a marquis with her name displayed as one of the stars, she walks across a street and enters the theater where the camera watches her watch herself on screen amid the audience. This was easily about seven minutes, or more, of valuable film time that could have been omitted and no one would have known the difference.

     This film takes place in Los Angeles in 1969, where the two lead characters are Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio), former star of a western TV series and a hopeless alcoholic, and his longtime pal and stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt). Both are struggling to make it in a Hollywood they don’t recognize anymore. Thank goodness they were the lead actors or the rating would likely have been less.

     The simulated movie shots about making movies are interesting as are the primary characters, including Al Pacino who plays a very small role as a Hollywood producer, seemingly to add star power to the movie.

     In the concluding scenes, the film evolves into a wrap-around set of scenes at the Spahn Ranch, well-known from 1969 as a hippie retreat where Charles Manson and his followers resided. The night of the first killings are carefully fictionalized by Tarantino so as not to offend/disturb friends and families of the actual victims. Yet, one may wonder if that should not have been woven into the story with the Manson factor. Nevertheless, if you enjoy extreme violence, stick around until the closing scenes where Tarantino lets the actors fly with a heavy dose.

     In all, I found myself restless in several parts of the movie, but engaged in others. I think Tarantino would have done himself a favor had he lopped off at least 30 or more unnecessary minutes. The movie had potential, but fell short because of the boring scenes.

     I give it 6 out of 10.

Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood (2019) – IMDb




  1. Katie July 29, 2019 at 2:40 pm #

    6 is generous. It was boring.

  2. Donald July 29, 2019 at 2:47 pm #

    Well, thanks. I was going to go see it, but now I’ll just skip it! I don’t want to waste 2 hours and 40 minutes.

  3. Eileen July 29, 2019 at 2:49 pm #

    Not surprised at this review. Once in a while Hollywood produces either a great inspirational movie based on true facts or a well-done entertaining comedy; unfortunately, those are “exceptions to the rule.”

  4. Joe July 29, 2019 at 5:27 pm #


    The fact that you were willing to ENDURE a Tarantino movie knowing what horrible trash he has foisted on the public in the past, tells me you truly DO have a cast iron stomach!

    Tarantino is a no-talent celebrity who lives in a delusional, make believe world with other egocentric, do-nothing “idols”!! If he and his ilk were to suddenly burst into flame, I couldn’t care less.

  5. Laura Petruska July 29, 2019 at 6:24 pm #

    I’m so sorry you had to sit through it but really happy to have read this review. We were aching to see it from reading 2 other reviews, but we usually agree with your reviews so we will take a big second consideration. Thank you for the heads up!! I happen to like Tarrentino so I might go to it on my own …this is not for Andy!!

  6. kd July 29, 2019 at 10:57 pm #

    I loved it. But I do see your point. Some director’s ramblings from plot lines irritate me and others can do it and I stay engaged. I guess Tarantino falls into the latter category for me. Wim Wenders falls into the former. I thought the scene with Sharon Tate in the movie theater helped create the overall sense of how few people actually attain fame in Hollywood and how vulnerable everyone is. With DiCaprio we see how fleeting fame is. Interestingly Brad Pitt’s character was content with the level of fame he had, which was an interesting contrast to everyone else. I actually think a little more development of the Manson ranch and his motives could have been added -for me I knew the story so I filled it in myself. The fictionalized end…I thought it was sort of a happy ending rewrite-in a twisted Tarantino way. He did that with Inglorious Bastards, too. He is an interesting director–at first glance, he is dark, prone to gratuitous violence, has too many damsels in distress in his movies and he takes liberties with plot lines. But underneath that, he has deeply developed characters with witty dialogue and he finds unknown or long-forgotten actors to feature (along with some heavy hitters of course) and this sort of childlike good guys win undercurrent to a lot of his movies. And his music pairing with different scenes is brilliant in this movie, using music from the time not just to create the setting but also the mood-often the song is deliberately in contrast to the mood of the scene. And the violence is deliberately portrayed so that it is almost cartoon-like, and creates the sense that he is mocking the very gratuitous violence that he is creating on the screen. I used to argue with my mom about Tarantino films because she thought it didn’t matter if everything I just said is true and he is actually “de-glorifying” rather than glorifying violence, because not everyone is mature enough to make that distinction. She’s probably right. I did love the movie. But his movies should be watched with caution.

  7. Bob James July 30, 2019 at 12:03 pm #


    Many thanks for your Frank movie review. I have come to believe your movie reviews are better than the movie itself. So, no point in seeing the movie.

    Actually, “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood” is a perfect title for this movie because once upon a time in Hollywood, we didn’t have self-absorbed jerks like Leonard Decaprio whom the media have made into an ersatz star. Once upon a time in Hollywood this pretender would have been lucky to find work, except maybe as an extra in a DeMille classic.

    Once upon a time we had brilliant directors like Frank Capra, Victor Fleming, John Huston, John Ford, even somewhat latter day Francis Ford Coppola. But that was all once upon a time.