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A Goth’s Month in Review: June 2012

by on 2012/06/29

I do plum love me some westerns. I grew up in houses with paintings of cowboys, watched Clint Eastwood on television, and country music was my town’s state music. I even lived with people who wore cowboy hats and boots without any irony.

I ran with Arabian horses, currycombed prize cows, and named entire herds after Greek and Norse gods. Ok, that last part isn’t very prairie, I guess.

I was a strange member of the Wild West.

As a result, I suppose westerns are in my blood. (Although my real love is for the creatures who would mythically want to drink my cow-country Albertan A-positive).

This month blew by faster than a tumbleweed in ghost town. So here, faster than you can shake a rattlesnake, here are this month’s favourite, surprise, disappointment, and least-liked, as well as the blue-ribbon steer from my fellow film wrangler.

Whoopee Ti Yi Yo.


Favourite
The Missouri Breaks (1976) on 2012/06/10

* * * *

“Seeing Brando and Nicholson share a screen was something to behold. I am not a huge fan of Nicholson – he of the maniacal grin – but I liked him a whole lot in this movie. Brando was raving and unpredictable. I thought I saw a flicker of surprise more than once in his fellow players’ eyes – making me wonder whether Brando wasn’t improvising most of his lines. Nicholson and Brando together were like watching a sneering mongoose and thick, ancient cobra locked in combat.”


Surprise
The Assassination of Jesse James (2007) on 2012/06/18

* * * *

“More about mental illness and lizard-brained motives than horses and bullets, The Assassination of Jesse James is a quiet, dark dirge about the life of the great outlaw Jesse James. Like the place of my birth, there’s a bleakness to this film. Sparse. Barren. Rugged. There are huge swathes of silences. Coughs echo against clapboard walls. Beaten boots pound over worn wooden floors.  There’s a soft whisper from a prairie filled with long, dry grass.”


Disappointment
Kansas Pacific (1953) on 2012/06/27

* * *

“I think civil engineering departments should use this film as a recruitment tool. I can imagine the recruitment promos now:

  • This engineer is admired by men and loved by women. Romance!
  • See this engineer tackle tough track grades in mountainous terrain. Blammo! Pow!
  • Watch as he does rapid calculations of raw materials required to accelerate track production in his head. In his head! Kaboom! Shazam!
  • Experience how he wins over veteran employees and work teams with expert change management skills. Bang! Kazam!”

Least-Liked
Vampires: Los Muertos (2002) on 2012/06/11

* *

“When the strongest actor you’ve got in your film is Jon Bon Jovi, you have very serious problems indeed. Bon Jovi, if that is his real name, never really does more than look sleepy, bemused and then mildly peeved. I believe Mr. Bon Jovi looked more nonplussed and distressed when confronted by Triumph the Comic Insult Dog than the master vampire in this film.”


Show Me
The Englishman’s Boy (2008) on 2012/06/24

* * * * *

“The importance of The Englishman’s Boy is less its western trappings than its powerful take on history, socio-political and personal alike. As the script itself observes, “This isn’t the kind of truth anybody wants. It doesn’t have much public appeal.” While the claim might have validity, it is also the sort of truth we’d all do well to recognize.”


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