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Five Great Canadian Westerns . . . Sort Of

by on 2012/06/01

What should a Canadian western look like, anyway? A Gold Rush? Some Mounties? The Riel Rebellion? Despite variations in history between the north and south sides of our border, it seems our Prairies are unusually popular for mimicking American climes.

Over the two-plus years we’ve been blogging about movies, we’ve always come back to a few core subsets, including Canadian Content and the Old Wild West. We’ve never put them together until now.

Very few true CanCon westerns exist, but there are plenty if you measure by story settings and shoot locations. Which I intend to start doing in due course.

But first let’s take another look back at a group we’ve already seen, westerns set or shot in Canada…

And, no, Assault on Precinct 13 may not appear to fit the description but — like its originator, and many movies by John Carpenter — it’s inspired by a western, in this case Rio Bravo.

So saddle up, eh?

Legends of the Fall (1994) on 2010/11/07

* * *

“This Oscar-winning, beautifully-filmed movie about unhealthy, overwrought (hilarious) passions is lung-collapsingly funny. To me. I did feel somewhat alone in my perspective, perhaps Legends of the Fall is a film for the vast majority of people out there who also like movies with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan playing developmentally challenged people in love (apologies to Janeane Garofalo for this bad paraphrase).”

The Searchers (1956) on 2011/06/20

* * *

The Searchers is considered by many to be among the greatest of films, but I didn’t particularly enjoy it. I found it to be little more than an empty vehicle built on director John Ford’s visual craft.”

The Searchers (1956) on 2011/06/21

“The idea that a female kidnap victim is better off shot through the head than to live as the wife of a First Nations chief is a layer cake of wrong. Wrong.”

Unforgiven (1992) on 2011/06/30

* * * *

Unforgiven succeeds in realizing everything I expected from The Wild Bunch, and more. It’s a film which gives me a sense of hope that the ones I don’t like might one day turn a corner and win me over too.”


The Wicked Wicked West (1998) on 2011/06/19

* * *

“This is the wild west stripped bare (literally). What we uncover is sad and sobering.

“Was The Wicked Wicked West entertaining? Nope. Did make me want to hold the deed to my very own home (with my solitary signature on it) close to my chest? Yes.”

Assault on Precinct 13 (2005) on 2011/12/31

* * *

Assault on Precinct 13 is unabashedly formulaic through-and-through, from beginning to end, a product cobbled together from a grab bag of others’ cliches. Yet it’s also a serviceable action flick with a good cast, good music, and no innocent children being killed.”

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