Sergio Leone Web Board

Films of Sergio Leone => Once Upon A Time In America => Topic started by: cigar joe on July 16, 2003, 08:52:17 PM

Title: No charater to identify with
Post by: cigar joe on July 16, 2003, 08:52:17 PM
I think OUTIA is a great film, a masterpiece, however that said it is a story with main characters that are generally unsympathetic. With all the rest of Leone's films you can at least identify with one or two characters. You can feel that with a certain set of circumstances (and a bit of skill with a pistol, lol) you could conceivably become one of them.

In OUTIA every main character has a fatal flaw, Max is a coniving double crossing weasle with a short temper, Noodles is a self destructive, a rapist and a opium addict, Deborah though a good person is beelining on a career leaving the neighborhood and family far behind in the dust. Patsy and Cockeye are not really fleshed out so there is not much to be said for them.  Their Madam/childhood girlfriend is treated much like Patsy and Cockeye. Perhaps it is this character depiction that stands OUTIA apart, makes a great story from the interaction of unsympathetic  people but taken as a whole creates a sympathetic masterpiece.

Only Fat Moe, a minor character is a regular guy that you can relate to. This is why I usually rate OUTIA lower on my prefrence list of Leone's films, I find myself touched not by exhilaration but by melancholy.

Title: Re:No charater to identify with
Post by: guybrush on July 17, 2003, 12:07:27 AM
This is why I usually rate OUTIA lower on my prefrence list of Leone's films, I find myself touched not by exhilaration but by melancholy.


I agree with you when you say that OUATIA doesn't show any fully likable character.
But, as a matter of fact, that might as well be one of the reasons why I like it so much.

Let's think of all the movies we have seen:  in the 99% of them the main character has no flaws or in the end he / she quits his / her flaws and grows to be a much better person. Why is it so? Because directors and producers feel like the audience will like a certain movie only if it portrays at least a likable character. Cinema makers know that most people go to the cinema to forget about life for a while, because they are more or less aware that real life is made of flawed people, and they know that the audience unconsciously needs to get reassured that life is not that bad after all, that there's always a happy ending waiting for us decent people. But the truth is that you and I and our best friends have our big or small flaws, and none of us is 100% likable to the people who get to know us well.

Imho this is one of the aspects that contribute to the success of OUATIA. Leone was able to make a masterpiece out of it even if more than a bit of real life with realistic characters got into a movie. For once at least...
Title: Re:No charater to identify with
Post by: cigar joe on July 17, 2003, 05:04:17 PM
That sums it up pretty well, it is more like real life to a degree and not about escapism.
Title: Re:No charater to identify with
Post by: shorty larsen on December 11, 2003, 02:31:40 PM
I like Noodles character.

I think it takes more courage to live a whole life as a coward than to die as a hero.

Noodles is a tragic character with a tragic history.
Title: Re:No charater to identify with
Post by: Walter on December 11, 2003, 06:56:45 PM
I think OUTIA is a great film, a masterpiece, however that said it is a story with main characters that are generally unsympathetic. With all the rest of Leone's films you can at least identify with one or two characters. You can feel that with a certain set of circumstances (and a bit of skill with a pistol, lol) you could conceivably become one of them.

I agree that all the main characters have fatal flaws, but I do not agree in that identification is important in order to invest interest. I can easily get interested in the fate of a character that I for the life of me wouldn't want to identify with, or see myself as in another situation.

But I also think that OUATIA is a bit more complicated than this. Because Leone actually makes us identify with Noodles in the beginning. When he is a bright punk, fighting against poverty in the ghetto, I sure identified with him.

Which makes it very strong, not to mention downright hurtful when his life turns to self-destruction (I think that is the key to all his vices, even the rape of his dream woman).

I remember when OUATIA was new, and I saw the movie with a group of friends. One of the girls told me she got so sad she almost cried when Noodles raped Deborah. Not because of the violence itself, but because she had liked him so much.

I think that still sums it up for me.
 

Title: Re:No charater to identify with
Post by: Jon on December 12, 2003, 02:08:09 AM
I felt the same way the first time I saw it.It was almost painful to watch Noodles desperately trying impress Deborah at the restaurant,I really wanted him to have her.Of course he than did,but in a completely different way than expected.I did indeed like Noodles up to that point-sure,he is a violent man,but so is James Bond.

Towards the end of the film,I think we[or me,amyway]start to like Noodles again,but that may be more a feeling of pity than anything else.Noodles had so much potential,and threw it all away.He is one of the great tragic [anti]heroes.

A friend of mine said he admired Max more,here is somebody who through deception and determination actually achieves what he probably intended.Max has goals,while Noodles seems to have none,except maybe get Deborah,and later call the police,and both of these attempts end up in disaster.

Nevertheless,at the end of the film it is Noodles who,finally,has a bit of dignity.
Title: Re:No charater to identify with
Post by: Il Buono on December 21, 2003, 01:44:52 PM
I think OUTIA is a great film, a masterpiece, however that said it is a story with main characters that are generally unsympathetic. With all the rest of Leone's films you can at least identify with one or two characters. You can feel that with a certain set of circumstances (and a bit of skill with a pistol, lol) you could conceivably become one of them.

In OUTIA every main character has a fatal flaw, Max is a coniving double crossing weasle with a short temper, Noodles is a self destructive, a rapist and a opium addict, Deborah though a good person is beelining on a career leaving the neighborhood and family far behind in the dust. Patsy and Cockeye are not really fleshed out so there is not much to be said for them.  Their Madam/childhood girlfriend is treated much like Patsy and Cockeye. Perhaps it is this character depiction that stands OUTIA apart, makes a great story from the interaction of unsympathetic  people but taken as a whole creates a sympathetic masterpiece.

Only Fat Moe, a minor character is a regular guy that you can relate to. This is why I usually rate OUTIA lower on my prefrence list of Leone's films, I find myself touched not by exhilaration but by melancholy.



I feel the same way.  To me, it is a very interesting film, especially the 2 first hours, but towards the end it gets so sad that it becomes painful.  Indeed, you like the Noodles character first, and later on, you feel sorry you liked him, and it's an interesting point of view, but there I feel losing all bonds I have made with this character.  
You could maybe compare it to when you start disliking a good friend.  
So in the end, I'm full of melancholy, but I think it's more the style and the music of the film than Noodles' story itself that emotes me.
Title: Re:No charater to identify with
Post by: COLONNA on December 23, 2003, 03:11:01 AM
Fat Moe is a good guy, but who wants to be identifyed with Fat Moe ?
Cockeye is also kind , he likes food,drinks and women overall but who wants..
Patsy is handsome, funny but...

Clearly OUATIA  is a Leone product: there are winners and losers.

Noodles interest us because he is both .

But the "American Dream" proposed us many Debra and  Max by past no ?
Title: Re:No charater to identify with
Post by: guybrush on January 09, 2004, 06:39:43 AM
sure there is no character to identify with?

with all his flaws and bad behaviours, Noodles still remains the perfect example of the average next guy, who wants so much from life (even if he thinks he just wants the basical things) but gets much less in the end.

Do we like the idea to be found similar to such a character? maybe not.

Aren't we all a little bit like him (without being rapists...)? I do think so.
If you do not identify yourselves at least a little bit with that next guy, you must be living a 100% wonderful life, you must be achieving all your goals bar none, and I envy you so much...

 


Title: Re: No charater to identify with
Post by: Mw/NNrules on October 06, 2007, 04:55:09 PM
Fat Moe has always struck me as the most sympathetic of characters as well. Just by himself, he's still the number one nicest guy in the movie, but how he treats Noodles as a superior is what gets to me, blissfully unaware of what made Deborah leave.
Title: Re:No charater to identify with
Post by: Tuco the ugly on October 06, 2007, 07:12:14 PM
sure there is no character to identify with?

with all his flaws and bad behaviours, Noodles still remains the perfect example of the average next guy, who wants so much from life (even if he thinks he just wants the basic things) but gets much less in the end.

Do we like the idea to be found similar to such a character? maybe not.

Aren't we all a little bit like him (without being rapists...)? I do think so.
If you do not identify yourselves at least a little bit with that next guy, you must be living a 100% wonderful life, you must be achieving all your goals bar none, and I envy you so much...


I don't think so gaybrush.

 A rapist?

You must be out of your mind...
Title: Re: No charater to identify with
Post by: Tuco the ugly on October 06, 2007, 07:22:36 PM
I think OUTIA is a great film, a masterpiece, however that said it is a story with main characters that are generally unsympathetic. With all the rest of Leone's films you can at least identify with one or two characters. You can feel that with a certain set of circumstances (and a bit of skill with a pistol, lol) you could conceivably become one of them.

In OUTIA every main character has a fatal flaw, Max is a coniving double crossing weasel with a short temper, Noodles is a self destructive, a rapist and a opium addict, Deborah though a good person is beelining on a career leaving the neighborhood and family far behind in the dust. Patsy and Cockeye are not really fleshed out so there is not much to be said for them.  Their Madam/childhood girlfriend is treated much like Patsy and Cockeye. Perhaps it is this character depiction that stands OUTIA apart, makes a great story from the interaction of unsympathetic  people but taken as a whole creates a sympathetic masterpiece.

I must say this is a great post cj. Can't believe I haven't seen this before, I must be out of my mind.



Quote
Only Fat Moe, a minor character is a regular guy that you can relate to. This is why I usually rate OUTIA lower on my preference list of Leone's films, I find myself touched not by exhilaration but by melancholy.

Although I don't think that's the reason why I rate it lower that GBU, OUATITW and FFDM. I just like them better.


Still, a great post.  O0
Title: Re: No charater to identify with
Post by: Groggy on October 06, 2007, 08:21:49 PM
I think I identify more with Chicken Joe than any other character in this film... :D
Title: Re: No charater to identify with
Post by: shades on October 07, 2007, 03:14:04 AM
Noodles is an exact mirror of my life - except the members of the group to which I belonged were more interested in playing guitars than committing crimes.

 :)
Title: Re: No charater to identify with
Post by: Groggy on October 07, 2007, 12:42:14 PM
Well I can relate with Noodles to some extent, smart, thoughtful guy, wrapped up in his memories (although in my case much less so than say a year or two ago), unsuccessful with women... But overall, nah, he's not me.
Title: Re: No charater to identify with
Post by: Silenzio on October 07, 2007, 03:05:58 PM
I identify with Dominic.



I am the littlest dude on this board and also slip a lot.
Title: Re: No charater to identify with
Post by: Tuco the ugly on October 07, 2007, 03:11:55 PM
Quote
I am the littlest dude on this board and also slip a lot.

?


 ;D
Title: Re: No charater to identify with
Post by: Silenzio on October 07, 2007, 03:16:58 PM
?



Good question





















mark.
Title: Re: No charater to identify with
Post by: Tuco the ugly on October 07, 2007, 04:47:14 PM
Check.
Title: Re: No charater to identify with
Post by: shades on October 08, 2007, 05:35:48 AM
I don't want to encourage anyone but, speaking of Dominic...

...there are two things I can't get out of my mind. 
One is Silenzio's and rrp's humor.  The other is...


...aren't dots useful?

  :)

Title: Re: No charater to identify with
Post by: Groggy on October 08, 2007, 09:04:02 AM
Well ellipses is the proper term for ... Just FYI. :D
Title: Re: No charater to identify with
Post by: Tucumcari Bound on October 08, 2007, 10:32:33 PM
I think most of us guy's identify with the character's in this film when they were kids. I'm not saying we partaken in crime, I'm just saying the way they act around eachother, how they fall in love and are attracted with girls for the first time.
Title: Re: No charater to identify with
Post by: Groggy on October 09, 2007, 06:07:45 AM
I think most of us guy's identify with the character's in this film when they were kids. I'm not saying we partaken in crime, I'm just saying the way they act around eachother, how they fall in love and are attracted with girls for the first time.

Well, I can agree with that.
Title: Re: No charater to identify with
Post by: cigar joe on October 09, 2007, 06:43:41 PM
true.  O0
Title: Re: No charater to identify with
Post by: PowerRR on October 09, 2007, 08:05:16 PM
I can identify with Noodles because we both have giant noodles.
Title: Re: No charater to identify with
Post by: Tuco the ugly on October 09, 2007, 08:14:48 PM
I can identify with Noodles because we both have giant noodles.
In the head.
Title: Re: No charater to identify with
Post by: Jill on October 10, 2007, 02:22:18 AM
That's my problem too. I like Noodles, but the characters are not so lovable as in other Leone films. If I think better - there are very few Prohibition movies in I really like the characters. (Except Untouchables and Mobsters). Great movies there are, but I can't feel so much sympathy for gangsters as for the Ol' West heroes. Western heroes are a differend kind. "The ancient race". Gangsters are capitalists. The are not doomed to die out like western heroes.
I can identify with Billy the Kid, but can't with Al Capone or Dillinger. They are tough and badass, but not so sympathetic.
But it's different with the gangsters/cops of the noirs who have something to do with Death, see Bogie's characters or Melville's heroes.
Title: Re: No charater to identify with
Post by: moviesceleton on October 10, 2007, 05:45:39 AM
I think most of us guy's identify with the character's in this film when they were kids. I'm not saying we partaken in crime, I'm just saying the way they act around eachother, how they fall in love and are attracted with girls for the first time.
True. O0

But I don't think it's a matter of identifying, at least not for me. I don't identify to Noodles as much I identify to Tuco for example. But still Noodles is my favorite character of all Leone characters. Yes MWNN is cool and Tuco is funny but Noodles is just so real and honest portray of a humanbeing. I like him because many of his acts are not logical (why does he Rape Deborah?). People do stupid and illogical things because they are not throughout brain but emotions too. Plus, to me antagonist is in most cases more interesting than the protagonist (Frank > Harmonica).
Title: Re: No charater to identify with
Post by: Tuco the ugly on October 10, 2007, 07:16:47 AM
Maybe we're not talking about identifying with a character, but just liking one.

I don't honestly like even one in OUATIA.
Title: Re: No charater to identify with
Post by: shades on October 10, 2007, 11:55:06 AM
I don't honestly like even one (character) in OUATIA.

I like Eve - lovely eyes

 :)
Title: Re: No charater to identify with
Post by: Jill on October 11, 2007, 01:56:40 PM
I like Peggy. She's a good character.