Movie Review: No 21. Once Upon a Time in the West

Movie Review: No 21. Once Upon a Time in the West


This movie is about as worthy of a ranking of 21 as those women who, at 50+, still shriek “21 again!” on their birthday as if somehow this will fool the Grim Reaper (you’re not fooling anyone ladies!)

Imagine, if you will, Britney Spears thrust into the Wild, Wild West with nothing but 60s-style eyeliner to save her from the baddies. Imagine, too, that Chevy Chase has grown a beard and suddenly expects everyone to take him seriously. Imagine that Henry Fonda is tired of being cast in masterpieces like ’12 Angry Men’ and wants to try his hand at the other end of the Hollywood spectrum. Finally, imagine you just wasted 2.5 hours of the dying days of your twenties watching the World’s worst movie and now you’re 2.5 hours closer to 30 (and death) with nothing to show for it but just that tiny little bit more resentment for having wasted your youth.

The movie begins with the most irritating scene ever brought to the big screen. The repetitive squeak of a windmill pump, knuckle cracking, dripping water,  and a persistent buzzing blowfly make for a cacophony of grating sounds. I was getting edgy just watching it and was tempted to switch it off then and there.

From that irritating beginning, the movie doesn’t improve much. This is especially so after they introduce the character ‘Harmonica’ who, unsurprisingly, is known for playing a harmonica (notably, in the most irritating and ridiculous way you could imagine). From Andy’s perspective, this was largely irritating because you could tell the actor wasn’t really playing the thing at all because his cheeks didn’t move. From my perspective, it was the hideous rusty chain swing sound he supposedly made with it that really got up my goat. Not to mention the fact that you are expected to keep a straight face whenever he fires it up which, more often than not, is at a completely inappropriate time.

Cheyenne: Do you know anything about a guy going around playing the harmonica? He’s someone you’d remember. Instead of talking, he plays. And when he better play, he talks.

And when he better shut up, he just keeps. playing. the. stupid. harmonica.

Apart from the irritating soundtrack, the movie also boasts (in my opinion) the worst sex scene of any movie, ever. How can you take this seriously?

Frank: You also like feeling a man’s hand all over your body, even if they’re the hands of the man that killed your husband.

Fortunately, Jill’s reaction to all of this is explained when (spoiler alert for any of you bored enough to still want to see it after my scathing review…) it is revealed that Jill is in fact a prostitute from New Orleans looking to make a new start (presumably by sleeping with a whole different bunch of men… Yay for Jill!)

We watched the movie in two halves because at 2.5 hours long it was more than we could bear. In fact, it took me several days just to get the stomach up to watch the second half. Andy conveniently had better things to do – The lucky duck isn’t required to watch these movies like I am.

In the first half of the movie, the most poignant scene is when Jill’s youngest stepson is shot square in the face after witnessing the murder of his entire family. It’s quite an intense scene and probably the sole reason I didn’t rate this movie a bit fat zero.

On the other hand, the most poignant scene in the second half of the movie is where Cheyenne grabs Jill’s arse and meaningfully mutters:

Make-believe it’s nothing…

If only I could make-believe my eyes had never seen this sorry excuse for a Top 100 movie.

Now, just to provide somewhat of an antidote to the poisoned waterhole that spawned this tripe, I will paraphrase a quote from a far more sophisticated film, Billy Madison:

What I have just watched is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever seen. At no point in its rambling, incoherent plot was there anything even close to what could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having seen it. I award it 1 pumpkin, and may God have mercy on its soul.

Have you seen ‘Once Upon a Time in the West’? If so, I feel sorry for you. Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments below.


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