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And the Award Goes To: My Reviews of “The Irishman” and “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Butler chapter.

Okay, this weekend was way too busy for my taste. I was supposed to watch two unnecessarily long movies, and I’m not even sure if I fully comprehended them, looking back. I had way too much going on, too much homework, and too much film to get through.


I buckled down and tried my best, though, and that’s what matters, right?


The longest movie I had watched up to this point was Titanic, a three-hour and fifteen minute-ish epic. Now, it’s the second longest movie I’ve ever watched. If you’re not sure if either of these movies is your cup of tea, I tried my best to generally describe them without spoilers and give a few opinions below. 


DISCLAIMER: I’m not a professional film critic. I just enjoy movies! The best part about taking in artistic projects is that we don’t have to agree all the time. We may very well have different opinions, and that’s fine! In fact, I’d love to hear them- I love discussing film. With that being said, let’s jump in!


The Irishman


Holy Mother of God, this movie took a long time to get through. With a running time of three hours and thirty minutes, filled with dialogue, dialogue, violence, and more dialogue, I had to mentally prepare myself to invest my time in it. After all, I had watched gangster movies before, complete with the majority of the actors casted in this movie. Hadn’t I seen a shorter version of “The Irishman” before?


“The Irishman” recounts the life of Frank Sheeran and his involvement with both Jimmy Hoffa and the Bufalino crime family. It’s based on a nonfiction work called “I Heard You Paint Houses” (which, in case you were wondering, does not actually mean that Sheeran is a house-painter). The cast is stacked with all your mafia movie favorites, like Robert De Nero, Joe Pesci, Al Pacino, Ray Romano (everybody loves Ray…mond), Harvey Keitel, and Bobby Cannavale, who I recognized from Paul Blart: Mall Cop. It’s directed by- prepare yourself- Martin Scorcese. These guys know what they’re doing.


I can’t say I entirely disliked the movie- in fact, I found parts of it very interesting, especially when Pacino as Jimmy Hoffa came into play- but, I don’t think I’ll ever sit down and watch it again. For the time it took, there wasn’t enough to keep me on the edge of my seat, although it was fun to see all the famous faces they were able to pack into this movie. The violence in it wasn’t as graphic as I was expecting, which was nice, after watching “Joker.” Overall, it wasn’t my favorite, but the story the movie tells is interesting and deserves to be told.


Favorite Scene: I can’t say I really have one, but I liked Ray Romano and Joe Pesci’s characters and portrayals, specifically.


Rating: 6/10

Once Upon a Time In Hollywood


I should preface this review with the fact that I had the lowest expectations for this movie out of the nine, but I don’t think that’s fair as a movie reviewer. Yet, I’m supposed to give you my opinions, so here goes: I’m not a Tarantino fan. I’ve watched a handful of his movies, and if I’m being honest, find them unnecessarily graphic. This will make every film student in the room gasp- am I a prude? Can I not enjoy violence, drugs and sex? Look, it’s not these qualities that make me dislike his films, but I just don’t understand the hype over those taboo topics being shown without purpose. So yes, I can get down to “The Godfather” and “Call Me By Your Name,” and realize that you can make the same argument against those movies that I make against “Pulp Fiction,” but everyone is entitled to their own opinion, including you and I. Different movies call to different people, and I think that’s beautiful.


So what’s going on in this one? “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood” follows fading television star Rick Dalton, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, and his stunt double and best friend, Cliff Booth, played by Brad Pitt, as they work in Hollywood and interact with other famous faces in the late 1960s. (If you’re wondering where the “edge” is, you should know that The Manson Family play a huge role in this picture.) In the film’s credits, you’ll find that classic “Written and Directed by Quentin Tarantino.” DiCaprio and Pitt are joined by Margot Robbie, Margaret Qualley, Austin Butler, Dakota Fanning, Al Pacino, Luke Perry, Lena Dunham, Maya Hawke, and many, many more.


This movie is not for the faint of heart, but I actually enjoyed most of it. It’s not enough to convert me to Tarantino fanaticism- trust me, I don’t think that will ever happen- but I was able to enjoy the way the movie wove dozens of big celebrities of the era into one, giant 2 hour and 40 minute story. I’m still bad with violence, so I needed to turn away at some points, but it wasn’t an all-movie occurence. I especially enjoyed Robbie as Sharon Tate, which left me with a feeling of bittersweetness after the movie was over. Don’t show this movie to your kids. Or your parents.


Favorite Scene: The… Hollywood… party that Tate and Polanski attend, complete with Steve McQueen and gossip.


Rating: 7/10

Emily Wray is a sophomore at Butler studying English and Creative Media. She loves John Hughes movies, cold brew, ABBA, podcasts, and storytelling. An Indianapolis native, you can contact her through email, social media, or by simply yelling a pop culture reference across a crowded room- she'll respond to most, if not all.
Rae Stoffel is a senior at Butler University studying Journalism with a double minor in French and strategic communications. With an affinity for iced coffee, blazers, and the worlds worst jokes, she calls herself a witty optomistic, which can be heavily reflected in her writing. Stoffel is a Chicago native looking forward to returning to the windy city post graduation.