Assuming Quentin Tarantino actually retires after ten films, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is his second-to-last film. Today, a teaser trailer was released—with those boring ass posters coming out I figured a trailer wasn’t far behind—which gives us our first look at QT’s penultimate movie (if you believe he’s retiring, which I don’t). Despite the horrible posters, the movie does not look bad. I’m not a huge fan of Leonardo DiCaprio, but Tarantino brings out the best in him and there are a couple moments in this teaser that I enjoy, particularly the weird look on his face in the dancing clip. Brad Pitt is throwing me a little because his styling here is so much like Chris Hemsworth in Bad Times at the El Royale and I think I prefer this look on Hemsworth? I do like the scene between Pitt and “Bruce Lee” (played by Mike Moh), although why anyone would be talking down to Bruce Lee I do not know. But the manslaughter line is solid.
This movie has a huge cast and a ninety-second teaser barely scratches the surface, so we’re missing a lot of people. We do get to see Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate—still low-key worried about Tarantino tackling true crime—and we get a glimpse of Damon Herriman (AKA DEWEY CROWE) as Charlies Manson. But there is no Timothy Olyphant, which is like a little crime. There is also no Dakota Fanning as Squeaky Frome, which is such good casting it’s obnoxious. So this teaser is doing its job, piquing interest without really giving anything away, and for the most part, relying on the movie stars to sell it. The movie looks like a lot of fun, even if I am still nervous about Tarantino displaying anything even resembling restraint when it comes to the Tate murders. (If he does not include the actual murder night at all, this will be my favorite movie of the year out of SHEER RELIEF.)
Once Upon a Time is premiering at Cannes, 25 years after Pulp Fiction. This movie will probably play like gangbusters to that crowd, they f-cking love Tarantino, and he is bringing a couple of the last major movie stars to the Croisette, which will make those starf-ckers happy. It then opens in July, high summer, which is the first time Tarantino has had a summer movie. I don’t know if this means Sony doesn’t think this has a shot at award season—it’s Tarantino tackling Old Hollywood, why rule it out?—or if they think the mod vibe fits into summer best. I’m generally content to sit back and let Tarantino movies play out, but with this one, I have a lot of question marks and nerves. The teaser sells the tone, at least until you get to the big question: Can Quentin Tarantino restrain himself when it comes to one of the most shocking crimes of the 20th century? I almost hope the full trailer just clues us in, yes he’s doing it or no, he’s actually not.