The Valero Verdict: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Welcome to another edition of the “The Valero Verdict” movie review. In this I will give you a quick movie review with a couple of bullet points of which I either liked or disliked. I will end the review with rating of the movie and a short overall thoughts.

On the docket today, the highly anticipated 9th film out of Quentin Tarantino Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

  • Plot: A faded television actor and his stunt double strive to achieve fame and success in the film industry during the final years of Hollywood’s Golden Age in 1969 Los Angeles.

    The idea and concept behind the plot really worked. Tarantino did his best to really bring 1969 Hollywood to the big screen.
  • Writing/Directing: Quentin Tarantino

    This was easily some of the best (and mature) work from Tarantino. It was unique and different. The way he laid out most of this film was perfectly touched, you could see his work truly kick into high gear going into the Third Act of this film.

    If we are speaking on what he did on the Third Act alone, this movie would hands down be the years best.

    I do think he got a little lost along the way with what he wanted to do with Sharon Tate’s character in this film. One of my biggest complaints was there was a lot of time spent on this character with no true payoff. The scene in which she goes and watches her own movie felt so un-needed and a true waste of time.

    But on the flip side, the payoff we got for Rick Dalton was beautiful. From start to finish what he did with this character was a true work of art. I loved what he did for Booth, but the payoff wasn’t so stellar.
  • Acting: Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt & Margot Robbie

    DiCaprio: Look I am the biggest Leo fan in the entire world, I believe he is one of/if not the greatest to ever do it and there is one scene in-particular that really showed why my feelings are true. The scene of him inside the trailer where he just goes off the deep end, that scene was masterful. It was him, his mind and his rage, and just the raw emotion of that scene sent chills down my spine.

    Pitt: Opposite of DiCaprio, I am not a fan of Pitt. But if this man does not get a nomination for this role, the Oscars have done something wrong. This is hands down Pitt’s best work EVER. His portrayal of Cliff Booth stole the show. I was truly blown away at the variety of scenes he just stole right out from DiCaprio and even some of the scenes in which he was the vocal point and knocked it straight out of the ballpark. I am still in awe of his work on this film.

    Robbie: She in the role was good, but she truly didn’t have much to work with. Tarantino’s lack of direction for Sharon Tate was the biggest problem with this film and I do not blame Robbie.
  • Soundtrack: AHHHHHHHHH the old school tunes of the 60’s, some of the best music was made in this generation, I can’t wait to add this to my Spotify playlist.
  • Cinematography: This was a beautiful film. I loved the artsy color palette that embodied this film. Obviously you are in that hippie-style era and colors were the thing.
  • Favorite Scene: I couldn’t pick just one.

    Bruce Lee/Cliff Booth fight scene
    Rick Dalton going nuts in his trailer

The Verdict:

**** out of ***** gavels

This is the most tame movie Tarantino has ever brought to the big screen, I can’t talk enough about how much I love the third act and that alone was worth two stars. This movie does have it’s flaws, the entire Sharon Tate thing and I didn’t really care for Pacino’s role or his character direction either. While the film was 2 hours and 45 minutes long, it didn’t feel like it, but at the same time if you cut out about 25-30 minutes out of this film, we might be talking about the best movie of 2019.

On the flip side, what Tarantino was able to pull out of Brad Pitt in this film, I still can’t get over this. I have never seen Pitt show so many range of emotions and just take over a film the way he did in this one. Leo was Leo, I expect nothing less.

My rating is a little biased I think out of pure enjoyment, I do think a rewatch of this film could change the rating for the good or the bad.

Should You See It?: Yes. Just for Pitt’s performance alone (never thought I’d type that). It’s a fun movie with some great acting, a fun soundtrack and hands down one of the best third acts you will ever see in film.

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Tell me what you thought of the movie, hit me up on here or talk to me on Twitter@RickyValero_


  1. On the Sharon Tate storyline, I feel it was brilliant. With the climax of the film being nonchalantly made apparent (prior to the revisionist third act), I feel it was beneficial for the audience for Sharon to be more humanized and give the audience a further chance to connect with her and see her innocence in direct dichotomy to the original plan of the Manson clan for her demise.

    I feel it contributed towards the massive climax of the revisionist piece where the targets for the night change and all of a sudden the untimely end for Sharon is dashed away and in its place, gives Cliff one more solid chance at redemption, in his otherwise very sordid life.

    I will agree that the Pacino’s character was probably the most unnecessary, despite being a massive catalyst in the beginning of the movie to Leo’s insecurities. The Italian Spaghetti Western portion of the movie, felt like filler to me, and a way to bypass a portion of the timeline and not make this movie 5 hours long.

    Great review!

    • I saw the point of the Sharon Tate stuff, just felt some of it drug on too long.

      Pacino stuff, I get why it was thrown in but honestly, they could’ve figured out a better way.

      Thank you for the kind words man!!

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