The Last Movie I Saw…

When it comes to down time and relaxing, I spend more hours with my nose buried in a book or my Kindle than I do watching TV. Friends and family frequently recommend good programs they find on Netflix or network channels, many of which sound awesome, but somehow, I always end up skipping them. I DVR two shows that I’ll watch when I have time—The Good Doctor and God Friended Me, but other than that, I invest little time in TV.

When my mother was living, I took her to the movies every weekend. We’d trade up—one week she’d pick the film, the next, I’d chose. That went on for decades. DH enjoys movies at home, not the theater, so these days I catch new releases On Demand if I remember to watch them at all. Most times I forget.

Film strip with projector

But Once Upon a Time in Hollywood was different. The moment I heard about it, I was determined to catch it when it hit Xfinity and DVD.

I’ve never seen a Quentin Tarantino film before, and I’m not sure I’ll watch another, but I was “gone” on this one. Hubby and I rented it on Xfinity. I liked it so much, I ordered the DVD from Amazon. Since then I’ve watched it again, something I haven’t done with a movie in years. I’d like to say it’s all about good storytelling, but maybe it’s just me. Maybe it comes down to personal preference.

My sister and her husband were not enthralled. We discussed it in detail, and I’ve been trying to figure out why I’m so smitten with the story.

I love the year in which it’s set—1969—the music, the fashions, the background theme. Go go boots, Matt Helm, Steve McQueen, the Mamas and the Papas, bell bottoms, hobo bags, and much more.

If you haven’t seen the movie, it’s about a 1950’s western star and his stuntman, set in a changing Hollywood. Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, the one-time lead in ‘Bounty Law” is aging and living on past glory. Used to being cast in the role of hero, he now finds himself facing lesser parts—spaghetti westerns and villains, his stuntman (Brad Pitt) tagging along.

Cowboy on a horse at sunset, leading a riderless horse behind him

As a fan of old westerns, I appreciated the nods to the past, especially Lancer. I was in grade school in 1969 and never knew Lancer existed. I didn’t find it until 2001, when I stumbled over the show in reruns. Along with Bonanza, it’s now one of my two all-time favorite westerns.

I was thrilled when I discovered Lancer played such a huge part in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood—yet another reason I loved the movie.­­­ Would I have enjoyed it as much without that association? I’m not sure. For me, Lancer was a huge bonus.

That link aside, DiCaprio and Pitt (who won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor) were both excellent. And if you’re wondering about the much-publicized connection to Charles Manson and the Sharon Tate murders…um, yeah…all there, but not in the manner you’d expect.

What surprises me most is that my sister—who was a teenager in 1969—didn’t appreciate this film as much as I did, and I was barely in grade school at the time. Maybe it’s because I’ve always held a love affair with the 60s, despite being a child of the 70s.

Is it over the top? Absolutely. Foul language? In abundance. Nudity? Nope, that one you can scratch. Everyone’s cup of cinema tea? Apparently not, but I’m sure to savor it again.

Have you seen this movie? What are your thoughts?