"Open Range" a movie review by Brigadier General Alan Farrell.
Personally, I think any film directed by Costner is bound to be a loser. "Dances With Wolves" was one of the most sentimental pieces of clap-trap I have had the displeasure to view. "Blazing Saddles" with its Yiddish speaking Indians seemed a more likely depiction of the Plains Indians.
And then there was the depiction by the Hollywood nitwits of the officers and men of the 2nd US Cavalry Regiment. Costner is lucky that those fellows are all long gone.
You want to see a Western? Go watch the director’s cut of "The Wild Bunch."
Yeoman’s work on the review! I especially like the line: “Embroidery within the formula is the art of this genre [epic wester]”. I remember seeing the trailer for this movie and knowing immediately that it was yet another western/epic/Coster/Duvall movie that I was surely going to stay away from.
For some reason, Costner regularly chooses to be a schmoe in movies that are plainly a waste of time and money. Ironically, he also makes some good movies. And though he’s never able to play any character other than Kevin Costner with a different name, his movies “No Way Out”, “Bull Durham”, “Tin Cup” and “The Bodyguard” were good – but are always forgotten when his stinkers are mentioned. Ah well, I’m sure the paycheck was more than satisfactory.
Was he the director in any of the good ones?
“Buy land,” Mark Twain said. “They aren’t making it any more.”
That’s kind of the way it is with westerns these days, which is why I try to watch any that happen to come out. As it happened, I liked “Open Range.” Which is a lot more than I can say about that stupid “Dances with Wolves” thing. Sounds like Pat made it all the way through, which just goes to show he’s a better man than I. I made sure I didn’t see it in the theater, though, and only made it part of the way through the video—that was in pre-DVD days.
For my money the best modern western is “Unforgiven.” And my western drawer here at home also has copies of “Barbarosa” (with Willie Nelson); John Ford’s cavalry trilogy; “Ride the High Country,” “The Professionals,” and “True Grit.” I probably won’t be adding “Open Range,” at least for now.
And I had an Uncle Charley—no “ie” for him, either.
Oh gosh no! His pretentiousness extends into the fantasy that he can direct. Keep in mind that along with the movie reviewed here and Dances With Wolves, he also directed Waterworld and The Postman – both of which are considered two of his worst movies. One wonders how he convinces investors – much less studios – to give him the money to direct.
RAM – don’t forget Sam Peckinpah. He made a western or two that is considered top notch. (I quite liked Unforgiven also, for reasons too numerous to go into right now.)
I like Indians being partly Indian myself and find the bead work, sand paintings, etc., fascinating. I always like to see that stuff on “Antiques Roadshow.”
And, I like soldiers coming from that kind of family.
So, I sat through the whole wretched thing.
I like all the Westerns you mentioned and I think “Searchers” is in a class all by itself. Racist movie? You bet it is, but it is the truth. pl
Check out “Rio Bravo”.
And my western drawer here at home also has copies of “Barbarosa” (with Willie Nelson); John Ford’s cavalry trilogy; “Ride the High Country,” “The Professionals,” and “True Grit.”
No “Red River”, “Shane”, or “Rio Bravo”??
Not to mention all those Anthony Mann oaters back in the 50s starring Jimmy Stewart(“The Naked Spur”, The Man from Laramie”)!
Need to get yer act together, pilgrim!
Wonderful review – what a wordsmith! My western faves in no particular order –
1. Nevada Smith
4. One –
5. Rio Bravo ( The reason I learned to play guitar )
6. Lonely Are The Brave
7. The Unforgiven
8. The Wild Bunch
9. High Noon
Also “My Darling Clementine”
Yes. “The Wild Bunch” is, not just a great Western, it’s a great film.
And I urge all to rent the DVD of “Deadwood,” the HBO series. The writing, by the ever insane and brilliant David Milch, has been compared by many critics to Shakespeare. I kid you not. And the casting is marvelous.
Warning: I found the first episode of Deadwood a bit dark, and the excessive foul language was disruptive to my listening … but, as i kept watching, I found that Milch rounded out the characters, particularly Al Swearengen (played by Ian McShane) … and I got used to the language.
I do have to watch each episode at least twice to catch all the dialogue, particularly its inferences.
And I’m furious with HBO for cancelling the series after the current third season (now airing on HBO). The show was very expensive (a few million per episode), and it wasn’t a huge ratings boon, a la The Sopranos. HBO responded to the fury of fans — and tthe condemnation by critics in newspapers across the country — by signing up the actors/crew for two two-hour movies next season.
Btw, this is a terrific blog on TV and film:
And, every Monday morning during the Deadwood season, this blog posts the superb review of each episode of Deadwood by Matt Zoller Seitz, TV critic for the NJ Star-Ledger.
Susan, I agree with you about The Wild Bunch being an important movie. In the same respect I strongly believe Lonely Are The Brave is one of the best movies of all time. it is also Kirk Douglas’ fave of all the ones he made, too.
Since this has turned into a favorite western movie list, my choice is easy: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly.
Best western ever, period. Proved that Italians were good at something other than pasta and scooters.
Dances With Wolves would probably have been better if Kevin Costner could act, or rather, play someone other than himself. Oh well, the ladies seem to like him.
Sorry, Sir, for getting you off on the wrong track. I hadn’t seen Open Range. It came recommended by a friend whose judgement I trust.
The second movie Broken Trails was overly sentimental, but was interesting for its nitty-gritty depiction of the West.
I like to watch westerns, so when Broken Trails came on TV last week(on basic cable), I watched and would probably watch it again, at least if it was up against Forensic Pathology 90210–or something.
I don’t really understand why anyone would pay 8-10 bucks to watch the pap that Hollywood puts out these days.
My favorite westerns since since 1990 would be Unforgiven and Tombstone, the latter primarily for the quirkiness of the deadly dentist.
Thanks for the review.
the dentist was cool. your e-mail is dead. alan tried to write you. pl
I’ve known a lot of guys like that bunch. Pat
To the “Wild Bunch” I would add “The Unforgiven.”
Do not forget Audi Murphy movies; they were comfortable fantasies.
But he was the most decorated soldier of the US Army in WW2. That added a certain something to the fantasy. pl
Just came across your site. I will read anything by AFF, my French professor at H-SC. Will visit regularly.