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cigar joe
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« #105 : November 09, 2021, 09:46:03 AM »

So what did you discover this time? Saying you discovered new things doesn?t inspire conversation; why not actually discuss what you discovered?  :)


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« #106 : November 09, 2021, 09:46:28 AM »

He discovered that the dream theory got it wrong: the dream is when they're children. Everything else is real.


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« #107 : November 09, 2021, 09:47:02 AM »

I hadn't seen the movie in several years, probably my longest break from having watched it countlessly through high school and college. I think the last time I watched it was the release of the extended cut in 2014, right when I graduated. I'd always considered the 60s dream theory but mostly dismissed it. But now I'm pretty much decided that it's a fantasy. It feels so much like a sad old man imagining what could have been. And although n_l was joking, it's also much clearer to me how much of the childhood and early adulthood scenes are made up of Noodles looking back on his gangster fantasy. Unlike the 1960s scenes, these events feel real. But they also feel highly elevated and romanticized by a man who likes to think he's James Cagney (i.e. Harry Grey). The tough-guy teenager, the rosy hazy nostalgic 1920s memories, women fawning left and right over this group of awful misfits, an overly extravagant dinner date that feels ripped out of The Great Gatsby. Only seldom does Leone's gaze break free of its fairy-tail fantasy - culminating with the rape of Deborah - but to Noodles, he's still remembering his life as if it were a gangster movie. He's the ultimate unreliable narrator - it makes me wonder what these events were really like.

But despite all the implied fantasies and embellishments, it's still an overwhelmingly personal movie. Friendship, perceived love, perceived memories, the barreling pace of time passing by. It's impossible not to strongly relate to these characters, despite them being some of the most vial people ever put to screen. Not in a "fun" way like Goodfellas or The Godfather either (not that these movies glorify the gangster life, but the characters are still decidedly better, more likable people than those in OUATIA). I think this movie deals better with the passage of time and memory better than those that address it more directly, like The Tree of Life or Boyhood.

I guess I'd always viewed OUATIA much more literally than it really is. It's a haunting fairytale as remembered (and sometimes imagined) by a sad, pathetic man. Reading The Hoods somewhere along the way makes this all the much clearer - it's probably the worst book I've ever read, but its existence contextualizes the movie in a whole different way. One of the most interesting book-to-screen adaptations ever.

The best part is, I may entirely disagree with all these sentiments when I watch it again in a couple more years. That's really what makes it the best movie ever made.


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« #108 : November 09, 2021, 09:47:31 AM »

I think that really IS what he's saying. But then, since you two are the same person, you should know.


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« #109 : November 09, 2021, 09:47:48 AM »

OUATIA - The childhood scenes aren't dreams, they're romanticized nostalgic memories. The prohibition stuff is real and the 60's scenes are the closest to a dream theory. I just wish the soundtrack didn't have the version of "Yesterday". I'm in the camp that the 60's scenes are an opium influenced glimpse into the future.


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« #110 : November 09, 2021, 09:48:04 AM »

That's what I'm getting at, though admittedly too wordy and over-exaggerative. I would argue they are highly romanticized memories. This is taking the book into account and Harry Grey's "experiences", which when reading, are so obviously fantasies.


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« #111 : November 09, 2021, 09:48:21 AM »

It's a bit more complex than that. First of all, the whole movie feels dreamy. But we also know what this movie is: it's the cinematic adaptation of a book writen by a liar who tries to show what true gangster life is, and he does that by replicating Hollywood clich?s on the page. Leone saw that and that's what drove him to do the movie: the relationship between the tales we say and reality. Knowing that both influence each other. And that the way we experience life has a lot to do with how we interact with these tales. Needless to say, the whole story takes place in the country of one of the biggest lies ever: the American dream. The movie is very self aware and constantly navigates these muddy waters. Now of course, the 3 main time periods of the movie aren't treated the same. But they're all in muddy waters.


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« #112 : November 09, 2021, 05:20:46 PM »

Quote: "I just wish the soundtrack didn't have the version of Yesterday".

Unless one feels that the entire movie was Noodles thinking of the past and not a dream.....thinking of "yesterday"/yesteryear....

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« #113 : May 02, 2024, 04:16:45 AM »

The reality ends on that fateful night in 1933.

The newspaper Noodles holds in his pocket as he enters the opium den is the proof of the death of his friends (hence the past being true, as actually occurred), and the pagoda across the street in Long Island is the ultimate clue of Sergio Leone telling us that we had been living in Noodles' mind throughout the whole movie; the garbage truck turning into the 30s cars could've (possibly) been a vision/reminiscence triggered by the death of Max, at least for those opposing the dream theory, but the pagoda clearly gives it away: Noodles is still in the opium den in Chinatown and he has been there all along. Had it not been there, there could've still been a debate, but that puts an end to it.

What's strange is that the movie/dream begins and ends on the notes of God Bless America, which seems to be non-diegetic when the partiers ride past Noodles in 1968 but definitely is when Eve gets killed, as if it really happened.. but I guess it can still work in the realm of dreaming.

The turning point for the whole dream is when Noodles goes to the scene of the shooting and sees his friends' dead bodies on the street; I think he's not dreaming it up, and seeing the burnt body of Max enables his imagination to envision it as being someone else's and Max somehow faking his own death, otherwise he would've never been able to concoct a different fate for him, and then the whole dream (movie) would've been totally different.
My take is that what prompted Leone to add the post-1933 section (through Noodles' opium-induced dream) was Harry Goldberg telling him the only liberty he took was Max's death, with him being still alive in the 1970s while the meetings between HG and Leone were taking place.





« : May 02, 2024, 12:29:51 PM gabriele.723 »
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« #114 : May 03, 2024, 05:59:43 AM »

Come to think about it: according to HG, Max survived that tragic night in 1933, went into hiding with the help of the Syndicate, presumably he also changed his identity (as Secretary Bailey did) and got in touch with Harry in the late 60s (or early 70s, cannot remember exactly) with a job that Noodles refused to take (just like him declining to kill Bailey) and eventually Maxie went on to do it on his own but got arrested and ended up in jail (I may misremember as well, but HG also mentioned that the arrest was broadcast/televised).

So it makes even more sense that Leone decided to add the 1968 parts (through Noodles' opium-fueled dream) based on what HG told him, with this alternate version of Max's fate, along the lines of what "really" happened to him.


« : May 03, 2024, 06:10:38 AM gabriele.723 »
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« #115 : May 05, 2024, 03:44:00 PM »

I think I?ve just found another clue: the garbage truck plate is ON 13 32; if you cross the number it?s 12/33 and it obviously implies the night the Prohibition ended and the gang got killed, pointing at Noodles still being in the opium den in Chinatown (just like the pagoda across the street).
I doubt it?s random, since there?s also the 35 on the side of the truck (35 years of guilt from 1933 to 1968).

What do you think?

« : May 05, 2024, 03:48:37 PM gabriele.723 »
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