Retro Reviews

Movie Released: 7/26/19

Review Published: 6/22/22

Once Upon A Time In... Hollywood

How do you describe a perfect film? I describe "Once Upon A Time In... Hollywood" as about as close to a perfect film as you can get. Directed by Quentin Tarantino and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie in career defining performances what more could you ask for. This film is Tarantino's true love letter to old Hollywood and the city of Los Angeles where he grew up and it truly shows the love he has for the city and the industry of filmmaking. The film follows fading actor Rick Dalton (DiCaprio) and his stunt man and best friend Cliff Booth (Pitt) throughout their daily lives in 1969 Hollywood. The other plot in this film follows Sharon Tate (Robbie) through what in reality would be her last days before her murder by the Manson Family in August 1969. Tarantino does an expert job taking a real life tragedy and using it to build his film. While the film is not specifically about the Tate murders more focusing on her "neighbors" Dalton and Booth and the possibility of what could have been, the overarching tension for anyone that does know the real life story is utilized very well. The crew for this production deserves a shout out as well because they completely transformed an area of Hollywood Blvd. into a exact recreation of 1969 LA, from signage to window dressing to cars and extras everything in any given shot throughout this entire film is 100% period accurate. At its core this is a film about filmmaking and what being in that industry can mean on a personal level as well as a worldly level. You can feel not only Tarantino but the entire cast and crews passion for their craft coming through in this film and it is incredible to watch. While this film like most of Tarantino's work isn't for everyone due to its more "adult" subject matter and delivery this film after a handful of viewings since its release has become one of my favorites of all time. I love learning about Hollywood and the art of filmmaking hence the reason for my production company and these reviews so this film is a perfect blend of great story as well as great execution behind the camera. A must watch in my opinion if you are at all interested in the art of filmmaking.

Final Score - 10/10

Season 1 Released: 8/31/21 - 10/19/21

Review Published: 7/13/22

Photo of Selena Gomez and I outside the Season 2 premiere of "Only Murders In The Building" in Los Angeles

Only Murders In The Building (Hulu Series)

Season 1

I was completely unaware of this series existence before my family vacation to Los Angeles in the summer of 2022. While there I had the amazing pleasure of meeting Selena Gomez who not only stars in this series but was an icon of my childhood and my biggest celebrity crush since I was 8 years old. I happened to be passing by the Directors Guild Of America office and saw barricades, security guards, and a red carpet so I thought I'd check out what was happening. After some questioning I found out it was the season 2 premiere for a Hulu show called "Only Murders In The Building" and after a quick google search I knew this was an event to hang out outside and see if I could meet anyone in the show. After a few hours I got to meet Selena Gomez as she was leaving and it was an incredible experience and she was so kind to take time to say hi to everyone that was waiting and take photos. After meeting her I definitely wanted to check this series out and I was not disappointed. I'm not usually into the true crime and thriller genre but this series captured my attention with the first episode. Right out of the gate the individual acting as well as the group chemistry between the three leads, Selena Gomez, Steve Martin and Martin Short is one of the best group dynamics I've seen on TV ever. The comedic timing and real feeling you get off these characters really makes you think they either are or very easily could be real people and that is all due to the phenomenal acting. The other major thing that made it impossible to stop watching was the use of cliffhangers and twists to end each episode. Framing the story as the trio doing a podcast on a murder made it very easy to end each episode with a new piece of evidence or a new suspect. Allowing the episodes to have thrilling endings and "send the investigation into a whole new direction" without feeling forced. That is the big reason why cliffhangers work so well in this genre and tend to feel forced or fall flat in others. While this series is a suspenseful investigation of a murder don't let its title fool you this is still very much a comedy as well and the jokes and gags of this series shine with the performances of not only the leads but also the supporting cast. I went into this series as a casual Selena Gomez fan and now I can honestly say I'm a huge fan of the entire series. With season 2 already four episodes in I can't wait to keep watching and see what happens next.

Final Score - 9/10

Show Released: 6/21/19 - 12/8/20

Review Published: 8/24/22

Mr. Iglesias (Netflix Series)

I discovered this show because of my love of stand-up comedy and Gabriel Iglesias is one of the best and one of my personal favorites. When I saw he was doing a sitcom for Netflix I was instantly interested, and it didn't disappoint. "Mr. Iglesias" sees Gabriel return to a fictionalized version of his real life high school, Woodrow Wilson High School as a history teacher. The halls of Wilson High and filled with an extraordinary supporting cast including Sherri Shepherd as Principle Paula Madison, Jacob Vargas as Gabriel's childhood best friend and fellow teacher Tony Ochoa, Maggie Geha as new history teacher Abby Spencer, and Richard Gant as English teacher Ray Hayward. The students of Wilson High are given memorable moments and realistic high school struggles by amazing young actors, Cree Cicchino as Marisol Fuentes, Fabrizio Guido as Mikey Gutierrez, and Tucker Albrizzi as Walt. The cast does an incredible job making you feel like your watching a real high school environment with real struggles and consequences. The comedic timing by the cast both "student" and "faculty" is very well done which is to be expected from a stand-up comedian. Despite being a comedy this show also tackles some serious issues as well like bullying and trying to decide a path after high school and it tackles these topics very well in my opinion. While it only went for two seasons I highly recommend "Mr. Iglesias" to anyone wanting a quick binge show with a strong cast and good amount of laughs to keep you drawn in. The laugh track that's become common with sitcoms can be kind of annoying at times and some of the jokes don't land as big as I think expected but beyond that this show is good. The cast is great, the setting and themes are all well done and the chemistry and comedic timing keeps you entertained as you blow through this show which honestly could've had a few more seasons in my opinion. A solid recommend for anyone with Netflix.

Final Score - 8/10