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Once upon a time... a movie that really stunk

In this week's Everything King, Wendy reviews her most hated movie of the year
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Once upon a time, I sat through the most boring movie in the history of movies.

Obviously, I am neither Siskel nor Ebert nor any other professional movie critic.

I do, however, know a good movie when I see one. A good one makes you laugh, cry, feel, cringe, cheer and think after it ends.

I also know a bad one. It leaves you angry and empty and sad you wasted the money.

My pick for absolute worst movie I have ever seen is the Brad Pitt/Leonardo DiCaprio fiasco Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

If you have seen it, I would love to hear your personal opinion.

It seems to have people split right down the middle. Viewers either hate it or love it and see it multiple times.

Here’s my take:

If you have not seen it — take a hard pass. Save your money. Save almost three hours (two hours and 40 minutes, to be exact), which will seem like six. It will be the longest day of your life. It is time you can never regain.

Once the popcorn is gone, it's all downhill from there.

While I would like to tell you the plot, I really can’t because I was not following it at all.

It is something about a small-time actor (DiCaprio) and his loyal stunt double (Pitt) struggling in 1969 Hollywood to remain relevant. This was during the time of Westerns.

There is also a subtext of the Charles Manson Family murders of Sharon Tate and her friends. 

My first mistake was thinking it was mostly about that crime. It's not at all.

There was a lot of classic cars, car chases, vintage billboards, interesting costumes and a decent '60s soundtrack.

Other than that, I can say three positive things: I liked the dog, I liked the little girl and I liked the very last scene. Period.

Since seeing it, I have tried to read some reviews and some background. Nothing has left me any more enlightened.

After the screening, I was so unimpressed by the film, I did an impromptu interview of other moviegoers to see what they thought.

The completely informal poll suggested mature audiences didn’t like it, nor understand it. Everyone said it was too long.  Younger people said they really liked it, but agreed it was a bit weird even for a Quentin Tarantino film. 

That’s what people kept asking me: “Well, do you like Tarantino films?”

“Do you understand Tarantino?”

No and no.

Why do I have to understand the director to understand his movie?

Why do I have to understand him? Why can’t he understand how to make a clearer storyline?

In reading about the movie, critics kept repeating the fact there were a myriad of references to other Tarantino films, so clearly I was at a disadvantage having seen nothing else he ever did. (Not even Pulp Fiction.)

There is even a website devoted to 25 things people likely missed in the movie.

If they know the average viewer is going to miss stuff — is that a good movie? Shouldn’t once through be plenty?

I thought of asking for my money back, but then realized they’d wonder why I sat through the whole hideous thing. That would be because I kept thinking it would get better. At some point, I figured there would be some pivotal scene that explained it all.

Truthfully, not being able to figure it out made me feel stupid. 

I was starting to buy into the suggestion that I was just not sophisticated enough to comprehend the genre. I was not high brow enough.

Then, I realized it's all a matter of taste.

A Tarantino film must be an acquired one which I found to be tasteless and endless.


About the Author: Wendy King

Wendy King writes about all kinds of things from nutrition to the job search from cats to clowns — anything and everything — from the ridiculous to the sublime. Watch for Wendy's column weekly.
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