Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood: Tarantino’s Poem for Cinema on Free TV – Culture

Leonardo DiCaprio aka Rick Dalton (left) and Brad Pitt aka Cliff Booth. Photo: © 2019 Sony Pictures Entertainment Deutschland GmbH/Photo by Andrew Cooper

Quentin Tarantino honors the film industry with “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood.” The movie now celebrates the free-to-air TV show for the first time with its usual strengths and some familiar weaknesses.

Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood” has everything that makes movie fans’ hearts beat faster. Stunningly shot, it unleashes the talent of Leonardo DiCaprio (47) and Brad Pitt (58) together for the first time and impresses with many of the qualities that have always distinguished the filmmaker – good dialogue and great music are just two of them. However: Not everyone liked Tarantino’s movie, which premiered May 30 (ZDF, 10:15 p.m.) on Free TV, unconditionally – even the director himself knew about it.

Old Hollywood irons – that’s it

Rick Dalton (DiCaprio) is no easy feat. He’s a fossil of the TV scene, the hero of a half-baked western series called The Rewards Act. But the watches in Hollywood do not stand still, especially not in the 1960s. “It’s official bro, I’m out now,” cried Rick, hugging his best friend Cliff Booth (Pete) as he sobbed. But what should he say first? It is said to be a fossil stuntman and is very old. Booth hasn’t engaged for long, at least since he beat Bruce Lee (Mike Mo, 38) on set. And so he keeps his head above the water as a girl in exchange for everything in the service of his companion.

Out of desperation and on the advice of his agent (Al Pacino, 82), Dalton was finally ready to accept a role in the hated spaghetti Western genre. While at odds with himself and his alcoholism in the first place, in his spare time away from the Dream Factory, Booth realizes a strange hippie cult that seems to be connected to something under the leadership of a long-haired man named Charlie. Unmoved by all this, Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie, 31) is enjoying her glamorous life alongside prodigy director Roman Polanski (Rafal Zawercha, 35) – and the bright future that undoubtedly awaits her becomes…

Tarantino lets out steam

Tarantino must have felt like a kid in a candy store. With “Once Upon” he finally made a movie about his greatest passion – film making. The life of his main protagonist (and his lookalike) has enabled Tarantino to help himself with every movie candy imaginable. And so DiCaprio shoots a Nazi sauerkraut with a flamethrower, commits a shotgun assassination in a thriller or drinks series, and hums and rages as an overrated parlor villain in the initially mentioned spaghetti western. But sticking to the candy store measure, sometimes too many choices are a handicap.

In the end, did Tarantino dread the endless possibilities offered to him “once upon a time”? In the end, he was somehow limiting himself to the things that had already proven perfect in previous films: the cowboys from “Django Unchained,” the gangsters from “Pulp Fiction,” the burning Krauts from “Inglourious Basterds.” His ninth film appears not only as a tribute to the film industry per se, but also as a tribute to himself. It’s also fitting that none of the female characters avoid putting their bare feet into the camera and listening to the car radio on the side. More classics are played than in jungle camp.

Today Who’s Who Played Yesterday’s Who’s Who

Tarantino couldn’t complain about the lack of acting options, either. And that’s in two ways: Today’s stars, such as Damien Lewis, Margot Robbie, Mike Moh or James Marsden embody the stars of the past, Tarantino’s youth champions. Despite its running time of close to three hours, the movie is too full or, if you want to put it negatively, too heavy with references that none of the real characters can be given much screen presence. Not Steve McQueen (Louis), not Bruce Lee (Moh), not even Sharon Tate (Ruby).

Instead, your story comes as a common thread in the background. Equals a continuous, simple ominous tone, in stark contrast to what appears. Her life until that fateful night on August 9, 1969 was activated by Tarantino with an unimaginable amount of ice. Tate spends dissonant girls’ nights, goes shopping, and marvels at himself at the cinema with childlike joy in a touching (and best ruby) scene. Tarantino flirts with the foreknowledge that a large portion of the movie audience probably possesses: that exactly six months after the movie’s plot begins, Sharon Tate will die pregnant, heavy and brutal by the “Manson Family.”

For spoiler reasons, we will not reveal how the aforementioned night of terror in “Once Upon a Time” unfolds. Just that much: Tarantino uses a trick he’s already used in another of his films. And in an interview with the news agency Spot on the news, he showed himself that not all viewers like him. Tarantino said, “When you make a movie like this with an ending like this, you have to realize that not everyone will like the ending. It’s a risk, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done.” Movie movie 2019 in berlin.

A clear bias to every imagination

The main focus is clearly on the fictional part of the story, i.e. the (anti-hero) journey of Rick Dalton and Cliff Booth. It’s not just Tarantino’s pupils who should be able to admire Hollywood-heavy duo DiCaprio and Pete together and in the best comedy-buddy way on the big screen. But it helps, of course, that they are allowed to hit typical Tarantino dialogues over and over and live in weird situations.

Both are given the opportunity to attract the audience in different ways. DiCaprio is the self-doubt, the crying child, the charming asshole who moans about the heat of the flamethrower. Pete is the saddest character in fact, he has a lot in the box, but he lives in the caravan, does housekeeping – and yet shows an unquestionable self-confidence. He is a man who does not even understand that he killed his wife. The reward for his performance came in 2020, when Pete took home an Academy Award for “Best Supporting Actor” – his first ever acting Oscar.


With “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood,” Tarantino opens countless construction sites, most, but not all, of them shutting down in less than three hours. It delivers a hymn to the film industry, honoring its past greats and blending fact and fiction, which live next door to each other in Benedict Canyon, at the end of Cielo Drive.

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