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Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino’s latest flick, hit the big screen on Friday. The film’s message can be summed up in one short, and crass, line delivered by protagonist Rick Dalton (Leonardo Dicaprio): “dirty [expletive] hippies.”
While Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is nominally the story of Dalton, a washed-up actor struggling to remain relevant, it is just as much about hippies and, as the quote from Dalton indicates, how awful they were. It is, essentially, a two-hour, 45-minute middle finger to hippies.
The countercultural movement often gets viewed through rose-colored lenses. Its themes of peace and love do seem appealing, and the notion that swaths of the country dedicated themselves to promoting those ideals does sound nice. In theory. The actual movement was fairly, for lack of a better word, gross. Tarantino brings this oft-unexplored aspect of hippiedom to the forefront of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and doesn’t shy away from depicting the nasty reality of the bohemian life.