Quentin Tarantino's revisionist dream of late-60s LA, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, was a massive box office success and just about the only artful and wholly original movies in 2019's otherwise tepid, sequel-plagued summer movie season, but apparently, it wasn't enough for Tarantino. In September, the director teased the idea of extending the movie into some kind of ill-advised miniseries for Netflix, like he did with The Hateful Eight. And now, only three months after the movie's premiere, it's already back in theaters—with even more footage.
The new version of Hollywood pushes the film's already shaggy two-hour-and-forty-minute runtime even closer to three hours. But judging by how much of the footage was left out of the original version, from the extra Charles Manson scenes to James Marsden and Tim Roth's cameos to the extended Bruce Lee scene that should probably stay on the cutting room floor, a longer cut of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood makes sense. Or it would, if those scenes were actually in the cut.
The new version that hit theaters this month doesn't give us any more of Damon Herriman's Manson or a longer version of that young girl brilliantly ripping Leo's acting to shreds or whatever—it just pads out the movie with, uh, more fake commercials?
The movie is, for the most part, the same movie that the world saw last summer. Except if you thought the narrative was a little slow to get started, now you have to sit through a commercial for Tarantino's favorite fake cigarettes, Red Apple, and Old Chattanooga Beer before it even begins.
Fortunately, the Red Apple commercial features that aforementioned Marsden cameo, starring the guy as a young Burt Reynolds, which is particularly fitting since Reynolds was set to appear in the movie as George Spahn before his death. Unfortunately, that's about all either of the faux 1960s commercials have going for them.
The extended cut ends with two more in-universe clips: Footage from Rick Dalton's two western shows, Bounty Law and Lancer, the former featuring Michael Madsen and the latter giving more screen time to Julia Butters, neither of which are bad things. The clips are fun and worth watching for a Tarantino completist, but they'd be better off tucked in the special features of a Blu-ray than in any theatrical cut.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood may be one of the best movies of the year, but if this extended version proves anything, it's that Tarantino would be better off forgetting his plans to turn this into a miniseries. Stick with the horror movie plan, alright?