Man does Tarantino know how to end a decade. After spending most of the 2010s making throwback westerns to (mostly) critical acclaim, Tarantino ended the decade with his most personal film yet and his best since 1994’s Pulp Fiction. Watch any Quentin Tarantino movie and it’s painfully obvious that he loves Hollywood and the movies, some might even say to a distracting level. Which is why it was so curious that he hadn’t made a movie about old Hollywood until 2019. It’s also significant to note that this is the ninth film by Tarantino, who has pretty publicly said that after his tenth film he’s intending on retiring from directing (we will see if that actually sticks, but so far he’s indicated that it’s still his intention). That means that this might be the penultimate Tarantino film. If it is, he surely is leaving us with some of his best work. With Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Tarantino reunites with Leonardo DiCaprio who as washed up, alcoholic actor Rick Dalton turns my favorite performance of his (sure The Revenant was a more physically challenging role, but Leo is so much fun to watch here it’s insane. Don’t believe me? Go re-watch the scene where Dalton melts down in his trailer and tell me that isn’t one of the most fun scenes of DiCaprio’s career). It’s a fascinating choice considering this is the first film that DiCaprio is staring in after his Oscar winning turn in The Revenant. The decision to cast the biggest, most bankable star in Hollywood at the top of his game after winning his first Oscar and then asking him to play a washed up has been is done to absolutely masterful effect. He also re-teams with Brad Pitt who gives by far the best performance of his career as Cliff, a cool as hell stuntman who is Rick Dalton’s stuntman and trusted friend. The two of them are the center-piece of the movie, with Margot Robbie co-staring as Sharon Tate in a significant, albeit much smaller role. This whole movie plays off of subversion of expectations, it’s still recent so I won’t spoil it other than to say that Tarantino turned his most self aware and mature film ever here. It’s funny, moves at a lightning quick pace, and features some of Tarantino’s all time greatest writing. It’s also one of his best and most fascinating films.