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Oh, I understand the pacing. You don't have to be a film major to get it. I also understand and realize the pacing is very self-conscious. I think the ending works. I think it is great.
This is what I felt when I saw Once Upon a Time in the West from the get go. Okay, he's doing the whole, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly thing here with a long ass ******* wait before a shootout. The difference here was the line, not the shootout (and ten times longer). You know Fonda is going to win. It just took us 15 minutes to get the great line, "You got two, too many." Wow!!!! My mind is ******* blown. Do I really need to see a guy blow on a fly for that long? I understand what is going on. It's matter of being successful. That is not suspenseful, that is boring. When you are trying and attempting to create mood and atmosphere with tension and suspense and entice boredom from a viewer, very painful boredom, that is a failure. If you call that shallow, then I don't really have a response for that. I didn't watch the movie to see how different it was from previous Westerns.
For me, set pieces and musical scores are there to ENHANCE the film. They aren't the film. I think The Good, The Bad and The Ugly is an average film with an above average ending. I am more than happy to miss out on the rest though. I love movies, but I hate movies of guys kicking dirt around for 20 minutes. The editing is awful in every movie I've seen from his. Every movie of his has been an hour too long. A full hour. Too long. Yet, these movies are masterpieces? The Good, The Bad and The Ugly is atrociously flawed from a technical standpoint (sound also kills the performances). Bizarrely overlong. Random and completely pointless social commentaries on war? Do I care? Why don't you save me the 30 minutes Sergio, cut out the entire war commentaries and just stick to the ******* story. The movie is simply unnecessarily long. Once Upon a Time in the West is just unbearable. I watched the ending on Youtube, pretty good ending, I just don't have the patience to sit through what feels like a 5 hour movie.
Is this guy serious??? btw I like the irony that you are the (incorrect) Sergio Leone that you speak of in your posts. Takes you 3 paragraphs to drone on and on and on and on about your simple minded point that could have been explained in three sentences.