“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” is such a rabbit hole of references, themes and moods that 40 minutes is hardly sufficient to scramble down it. But a small audience in a Hollywood theater was happy to have that much time Saturday with the rare reassembling of Quentin Tarantino, Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie for a post-screening discussion about the year’s most rewardingly episodic epic. (The chat was also live-streamed to 18 other screens around North America.)
The Q&A had Tarantino holding the home-field advantage as a conversationalist, taking place at his own beloved repertory house, the New Beverly. Invited guild members were on hand along with 50 members of Tarantino’s public, who were recognizable as the ones asleep under coats and blankets before the screening started, some having waited outside much of the night for the early a.m. dispersal of free tickets. They were rewarded with a discussion that packed a lot into those 40 minutes, like the legacy of Luke Perry; the influences on the movie of “Billy Jack,” Travis Bickle, Edd “Kookie” Byrnes and cumulus clouds; and what horrors might have transpired if a smartphone had dared interrupt the director’s 1969 fever dream.