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Author Topic: Why does this movie fair so poorly with audiences?  (Read 29370 times)
Lac qui Parle
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« on: May 19, 2008, 09:31:47 AM »

Once Upon a Time in America is the only Sergio Leone film I haven't seen. And I don't intend to. Mostly because of its gloomy length, but also because every single review I have read of it has not exactly been favorable. Even the summary on the home page of this forum says, "A lot of people just do not like this movie. People think the movie is too long, too dry, and basically just a big waste of time."

Even the venerable cigar joe said, "I usually rate OUTIA lower on my preference list of Leone's films; I find myself touched not by exhilaration but by melancholy."

Now that is interesting.

Here are some other reviewers' attributes I've taken away:

gratuitously violent
no likable characters
horrible pacing
infamous rape scene
confusing chronology

So why does this movie fair so poorly with critics and audiences?
Am I wrong to trust the critics? Because I do.

Yet something gnaws at the road apple in me...

How can it be so colossally different than all the rest?

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Atlas2112
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« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2008, 10:45:32 AM »

every single review I have read of it has not exactly been favorable

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gratuitously violent
This is quiet baffling, the dollar films have about 6 times the body count this film has. The only thing that surprised me as far as violence was concerned was the bloodshed (this probably being the only film where Leone uses blood squibs). In the case of this movie, it is by no means gratuitous violence, it's realistic violence. A bullet to the head is not a pretty sight and Leone shows that. The problem is today everyone has become all too comfortable with violence, failing to see that ALL violence is gratuitous, be it real or fictional.

Quote
no likeable characters
well of course they aren't likable, they're mobsters. Ever since the godfather people have looked at mob movies as though they are about these swell guys who are constantly harassed by the evil policemen (how dare they enforce the law!). Personally, i like the characters in this film and in some cases identify heavily with them. I feel that they are quite likeable, but it is their actions that are unforgivable.

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horrible pacing
Only to someone who doesn't bother to invest himself in the film. When i watched it I never felt that it dragged or rushed, it was as though there was a complete and unbreakable bond between the sights and sounds of the TV to my head. The only time i was ever out of it was when i had to change disks to complete the movie (coming in at an awkward time).

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infamous rape scene
I'll level with you and say that is a very uncomfortable scene, but then again, when is rape ever comfortable? A lot of people want the scene to be shortend (or deleted) because of their discomfort with it, but like the violence, the film shows rape as it really is, hideous.

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confusing chronology
i don't know where this comes from. anyone who really pays attention to the film should understand the chronology of it. Certain things trigger Noodles to flashback to his childhood and vice versa. If anything should be confusing, it's the ending. Although it shouldn't frustrate you, its only there to make you think.

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So why does this movie fair so poorly with critics and audiences?
That depends, who are these critics, because these don't sound like any critic reviews I've ever read on the film. Remember, the Oily psuedo-intellects with acne problems known as IMDB members don't constitute as actual critics.

if you want to here some actual critic and audience responses read this bit from wikipedia.

The film's premiere at the Cannes Film Festival was an astounding success. Though some female audience members were offended by the rape scenes and depiction of women (Leone was often accused of misogyny based on his films' portrayal of women., the film was extremely successful, garnering a fifteen-minute standing ovation from the audience. The uncut European version of the film won rave reviews, and was very successful throughout Europe and abroad. However, several sneak premieres in Canada and the US gained a mixed reception at best (some suspect due to studio tampering). The film was drastically edited, as mentioned above, more for commercial reasons than anything else. Leone, who had turned down an offer to make The Godfather twelve years earlier, was indignant when several American critics compared the butchered version of his film to "a Jewish Godfather". The 144-minute version was a huge flop and American critics destroyed it. Roger Ebert wrote in a 1984 review that the original cut was a masterpiece but the American theatrical cut was a travesty.

The uncut version of the film gained widespread critical acclaim and a large following. James Woods, who considers Once Upon a Time in America Leone's finest work, mentions in the DVD commentary that one critic dubbed the film the worst of 1984, only to see the original cut years later and call it the best of the 1980s. Ebert, in his review of Brian DePalma's The Untouchables, called the original uncut version of Once Upon a Time in America the best film depicting the Prohibition era.[2] Sight and Sound magazine placed it among the ten best films of the last 25 years when it attempted to do a poll on recent films.


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Am I wrong to trust the critics? Because I do.
Critics should never decide what you can and can't watch. You are the best critic in what you do or do not like, not anyone else.

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How can it be so colossally different than all the rest?
Well it is a movie about the jewish mafia, while all his others are western, But other then that it still has the same Leone style and pacing that we have come to know and love. If you like his other movies there's no reason you shouldn't like this one as well

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PowerRR
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« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2008, 01:23:53 PM »

Gratuitously violent? What the fuck do you expect from a mob movie?

No likable characters? Go watch Austin Powers.

Horrible pacing? Attention span sucks.

Infamous rape scene? ....how exactly is this a flaw? It's part of the story.

Confusing chronology? The last time they fondled with the chronology it was considered the worst movie of the year.



And who listens to cigar joe? If Once Upon a Time in America was a western he'd probably like it more. And if OUATIA is considered "dry" then I don't know what every other movie is considered.

« Last Edit: May 19, 2008, 01:25:08 PM by rrpower » Logged
moviesceleton
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« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2008, 02:05:05 PM »

Atlas provided good points (as did rrpower); I would have passed the whole thing by saying: "Those attributes suck". Plain and simple: watch it!

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« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2008, 06:03:40 PM »

It's compelling.  And gets better every viewing.

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cigar joe
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« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2008, 08:45:18 PM »

Its better than most gangster flicks, better than most films in fact, I just rate it lower that Leone's Westerns, which is the Genre I preference. I don't relate to any of the characters, and it is melancholy, my opinion, but you should definitely see it none the less.

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« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2008, 11:47:17 PM »

It's Leone's Citizen Kane. But better.

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Tuco the ugly
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« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2008, 12:01:15 AM »

Unlikeable characters.

People expected Vito Corleone - alpha male - Man With No Name - cynic jokes effusing - kinda (company of) anti-heroe(s).

He gave them a rapist, a psycho, a drug addict, an idiot, and a bunch of whores and corrupt half-somethings.


Not much for a superficial and narrow (read - classic) audience to like, I'm afraid.

« Last Edit: May 20, 2008, 12:08:05 AM by Tuco the ugly » Logged
Panache
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« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2008, 01:14:03 AM »

i think ths film was way more realistic than mos gangster flix

showed em like they really are, not all dressed up in tuxdos and all those formalitys

Godfather was pretty to look at, but was pure bolony- mafia probly thought it was a comedy Grin

real gansters were animals jus like in ths film

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Sergio.L
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« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2008, 12:05:08 PM »

it's THE BEST movie ever made!

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« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2008, 04:07:39 PM »

It's long, features a complex, non-linear story, main characters who aren't particularly likeable, graphic violence/sexual content, and overall is not exactly fodder for mass audiences.

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« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2008, 06:14:03 PM »

i think that when it came out hurt it most- the 80s

by then audinces wanta to see big blockbusters crap like Beverly hills Cop instead of personal film like Leone made

hell, a lot of younger audiencs dint even know who Leone is. so no connection was made

if Leone had made it in 70s it would be as wel regarde asGodfather or mean Streets. he just waited too long, is all.

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« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2008, 06:34:55 AM »

Nah, I don't think American audiences would have received it well anyways. Comparing it to The Godfather it's night and day. There were plenty of blockbuster "crap" in the '70s anyway, I doubt the mainstream audiences got dumber in the meantime.

PS: What's wrong with Beverly Hills Cop? Huh

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« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2008, 06:46:02 AM »

Very good points have been made above, but i just wanted to make things clear about these 4 points:


horrible pacing
confusing chronology
So why does this movie fair so poorly with critics and audiences?


Horrible pacing:
it's a lot faster than OUATITW. And if somebody tells me HERE that OUATITW has a horrible pacing, I reap his heart.

Confusing chronology :
it goes without saying that i completly disagree with this statement, but the point i wanted to make about it is that the chronology is IMO what appeals the most to mass audience in this movie. It is a bit confusing for some people (and not the majority, IMO), but it is the "cool" part of the movie.

So why does this movie fair so poorly with critics and audiences?
Professional film critics usualy endorse the movie. Only audience doesn't.


To conclude: why don't you watch the movie and make your own opinion about it? (just to clarify: "it" refers to the greatest movie ever made)

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« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2008, 07:15:35 AM »

Any negative critical reviews the OP is likely to have read were probably of the 144 minute version.

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