Randical: “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” movie review

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By Randle Kinswa, News Editor

This is part four of a nine-part entertainment review series by The Easterner. Randle Kinswa, author of this article, is the news editor for The Easterner. His opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of The Easterner, its staff or Eastern Washington University.

“Once Upon a time in Hollywood” is an eloquent and timely view of a very transitive time, in a certain, yet alternative part of the world. This film takes place in various days, from late January 1969 to August 9, 1969 in Hollywood. 

The film follows two fictional characters placed in an alternative version of 1969 Hollywood. Every other major character in this movie was based on a real person. 

The movie follows Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio), a TV cowboy actor on the back 40 of his acting career and his brother esque companion, Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), who is Dalton’s stunt double.

In the plot, Dalton faces the reality that his past acting days are behind him. Yet on his way to his illustrious mansion, Dalton realizes that the two people who just moved in next door are none other than Roman Polanski (Rafal Zawierucha) and his wife, Sharon Stone (Margot Robbie).  

Polanski had just directed the movie, “Rosemary’s Baby” the year before which gained him world-wide recognition as the new-up-and coming director in Hollywood. 

Stone was an actress known for her rolls in the “Wrecking Crew”, “Valley of the Dolls”, and “The Fearless Vampire Killers”

Dalton’s storyline throughout the movie includes him meeting filmmaker Marvin Shwarz, who tries to convince Dalton to do spaghetti westerns. Dalton is reluctant at first but eventually decides to travel to Europe.

Dalton also lands the lead antagonist role in a Western TV series.

Booth travels around Los Angeles, driving Dalton’s tan 1966 Cadillac Coup De Ville. Some producers are reluctant to hire Booth as a stuntman because it is rumored that he murdered his wife.

Booth meets a hippie girl named Pussycat (Margaret Qually)  while driving around Los Angeles and finds out that her and 20-25 other hippies are living at Spahn movie ranch. Booth investigates and comes to find out that the owner of Spahn movie ranch, George Spahn (Bruce Dern) is blind and is being taken advantage of. 

The movie concludes when Booth and Dalton return from Italy on August 9, 1969. I do not want to spoil the ending but if you must know, just google what happened on August 9, 1969, on Cielo Drive and you will have an idea. 

This movie does a great job of placing you in the world of 1969. The clothes, the music, the cars and the fashion make you feel as if you’re watching a home video. 

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” is an alternative timeline. Real-life events are changed, for the better in this movie. 

1969 was the end of a decade which saw more political and social upheaval than any time period in the U.S. before or since. 

The heart of that movement was the hippie movement. 

August 9, 1969, was the last breath of the hippie movement. That night an entire cultural movement was laid to rest.

There are so many great things about this film, yet the most important part might be the ugliest part.