comedy, movie, movie review, western

Flashback Review: May 15th, 2014 Movie – Blazing Saddles

blazing saddles

Ahh, one of my favorite westerns of all time. I remember the first time I saw this movie years ago as a kid and I will admit that I did not get many of the jokes. However, the farting scene for some reason stuck in my head and made me laugh. Now I would have the chance to watch this many times since then and as I got older, I was able to understand more of the jokes which made this movie even funnier. Now I had this movie on DVD but it was one of the movies my ex-wife had bought so when she left and took her DVD’s with her, I made sure to pick up my own copy of Blazing Saddles as soon as I could.

The plot: In the Old West of 1874, a group of workers are busy laying down a new rail line but the workers aren’t too fond of the overly racist crew giving them orders. When the foreman, Taggart, sends two black workers, Bart and Charlie, ahead as there were reports of quicksand in the area. Bart and Charlie drive a hand cart down the line and end up stuck in quicksand and when they call out for help, Taggart and his assistant use a rope to save the hand cart, leaving Bart and Charlie to fend for themselves. As they manage to crawl to safety, Taggart figures out where they will need to re-route the railroad line and orders his assistant to send a telegram with the information but Bart grabs a shovel and hits him in the head. At the office of Attorney General Hedley Lamarr, Taggart is telling him of the new route through the town of Rock Ridge and Hedley decides to take advantage of the situation to try and grab the land for himself so he will be rich. When he tries to figure out a way to get rid of the townsfolk, Taggart says he and his men can ride through town, beating and raping everyone in town, and Hedley agrees to let him do it. When he notices Taggart is injured, Taggart tells him about Bart and Hedley speaks to the executioner and squeezes Bart in to be hanged on Monday. Taggart and his men do just as they say and the townsfolk hold a meeting to figure out what they should do. Roused by the gibberish of Gabby Johnson, they decide to stay in town and wire the governor to send them a new sheriff. At the Governor’s office, Governor Lepetomane is going over the days business and when his assistant hands him a telegram from Round Rock asking for a sheriff, he assigns Hedley to send them a sheriff. Not wanting to hinder his plan by sending someone competent, Hedley notices Bart in line to be executed and comes up with an idea. Sparing Bart, Hedley takes him to see the governor, who is shocked at Hedley’s suggestion but Hedley says that by being the first man to hire a black sheriff, Lepetomane would become famous and could manage to swing a cabinet position. Geared up for his new job, Bart heads out to Rock Ridge and the townsfolk start to give him a warm welcome until they realize what color his skin is. When Bart starts to read the notice from Lepetomane about his appointment, the townsfolk all pull guns out and point them at him and he is forced to pull out his own gun and hold himself hostage in order to fool the people into letting him get into the sheriff’s office alive. As the day passes and Bart gets settled in, the drunk in one of the cells starts moving and Bart introduces himself. As he helps the drunk out, the man introduces himself as Jim a gunslinger once known as “the Waco Kid”, and the two share a brief history of each other. Meanwhile, Taggart and his men learn about the new sheriff, but not his identity, and decide to send Mongo, a large, dim-witted brute, to kill him. The next day, Bart heads out to make the rounds, trying to win the town over, but is disheartened by their constant insults. When Mongo rides into town and starts beating up the people in the saloon, Bart heads out there to deal with him, using a box of exploding candy to knock Mondo unconscious. Later, Taggart is with Hedley saying he doesn’t know how Mongo failed to kill the sheriff and Hedley decides to use a different tactic to beat Bart. Back in Rock Ridge, the townfolks start to warm up to Bart, though they try to keep it secret from everyone else, and Jim decides to take him to see Lily Von Shtupp perform. Unknown to him, Hedley has approached Lili, whom he has used before to seduce people, and has told her to seduce and leave Bart in order to reduce him to an emotional wreck. After her performance, Bart is given a note to see Lili back stage and he ends up staying the night with her but the next day, it is revealed that Lili is the one that has become enamored with him and tries to get him to stay with her. When Bart returns to the sheriff’s office, Jim tells him that a telegram came ordering Mongo to be released per Hedley’s orders. Bart wakes up Mongo, he easily breaks the chains holding him, and tells him he is free to go but Mongo doesn’t want to leave, as he likes Bart since he is the first person to beat him in a fair fight. Bart and Jim asks Mongo if he knows why Hedley is interested in Rock Ridge and Mongo says it has to do with the “choo-choo”. Bart and Jim head to where the railroad tracks are being laid out and Charlie and the others are happy to see Bart is still alive but are shocked when he tells them that he is the sheriff of Rock Ridge, as Charlie tells him that the railroad is going through the town. When Taggart and some of his men show up and try to kill Bart, Jim quickly shoots their guns out of their hands and they are forced to run away. Hedley and Taggart tie up Lili to question her about what went wrong and when she says that Hedley will need an army to beat Bart and Hedley decides to do just that. In Rock Ridge, the townsfolk learn about the army recruitment and want to leave town but Bart convinces them to give him 24 hours to find a way out of this. Sneaking in to where Hedley is interviewing people, Bart and Jim disguise themselves as a pair of KKK members but when Bart’s skin tone is revealed, they are forced to run. Sneaking into the railroad camp, Bart and Jim tell Charlie to get all of the workers and gather supplies, then meet him outside of town. At the meeting place, Bart explains to the townsfolk that they are going to build an exact replica of the town in order to fool Taggart and his army, with the railroad workers helping in exchange for some land to call their own. The townsfolk don’t want to at first but realizing they have no choice if they want to survive, they agree. In the morning, the decoy is finished but they realize that they forgot to include people so Bart, Jim, and Mongo go to stall Taggart’s army while they quickly build some people. With the decoys finished, everyone watches as Taggert’s men head into the fake town. Bart goes to blow up the town but the detonator fails so he has Jim shoot the dynamite to set them off. With Taggart’s men disoriented by the explosions, Bart leads the townsfolk to fight with the ruffians as the camera pans up to show them in a Hollywood sound stage. On another stage, a musical number is being filmed when the fight breaks through the wall of their set. As the director yells at the men, Taggart punches him and the men in the musical join in the fight. The fight spills into the studio cafeteria, where people start throwing pies at each other. Hedley happens to be at the cafeteria and when he sees what is going on, he quickly ducks out of the building, though not without getting hit by a pie himself. Hailing a cab, Hedley heads to a theater and goes to watch a movie, only to see Bart riding up to the theater on the screen. Hedley tries to leave but Bart confronts him and after Hedley tricks him into dropping his gun, Bart manages to avoid getting shot and kills Hedley. Jim comes up and congratulates Bart on killing Hedley, and the two decide to get tickets to see how the movie ends. In the movie, Bart is leaving the town, much to the townsfolk’s dismay as they have grown to love Bart, but Bart says that With Hedley dead, the town has become boring and doesn’t really need a sheriff anymore. As Bart leaves town, Jim decides to go with him and the two ride off for a ways until the meet up with a limousine and hop inside and are driven away into the sunset.

Blazing Saddles met with mixed reviews initially but has since come to receive high praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Daring, provocative, and laugh-out-loud funny, Blazing Saddles is a gleefully vulgar spoof of Westerns that marks a high point in Mel Brooks’ storied career.” CBS and Warner Brothers would produce a TV series titled Black Bart as a means to keep the broadcast rights for Blazing Saddles and any future sequels but the episodes were never aired (aside from the pilot that starred Louis Gossett Jr.) and when management changed within Warner Brothers, the plans for a sequel were dropped and the unaired show was canceled, though 4, 6-episode seasons had been filmed. The movie was a smash hit at the box office, earning $119.6 million off of a $2.6 million budget and would receive three Academy Award nominations. Widely considered to be one of the greatest comedies of all time, the movie would end up selected for preservation in the National Film Registry in 2006.

Let’s not mince words here, there is some racist humor in this movie but it is still an incredibly funny movie to watch. The acting was great, with Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder doing great jobs as Sheriff Bart and Jim respectively. I also thought that Harvey Korman was fantastic as Hedley Lamarr while Slim Pickens was great as Taggart. The story had a deeper meaning beyond the comedy, using satire to highlight the issue of racism that existed in the past and how it was “overlooked” when Hollywood made movies about the Old West. Yes, Mel Brooks was pretty blunt with the racism but that was to prove his point and actually did help with some of the comedy. The comedy was Mel Brooks usual blend of quick wit, play on words, and slapstick that worked to almost pure perfection in this movie. It may seem dated and is definitely crude but this is still a great comedy and one worth watching.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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action, movie, movie review, western

June 23rd, 2018 Movie – Young Guns II

young guns 2

You ever have a song that seems to be everywhere and you can’t escape it. Well that was the case in 1990 as Jon Bon Jovi’s “Blaze of Glory” seemed to be played ALL THE TIME. Now I will admit that it is a catchy song and I didn’t mind hearing it every now and then, but it really did seem to be on every time you turned on the radio. Now, this did make for some effective marketing for today’s movie, as it was the featured song for the movie. Now let’s have some fun with today’s movie, Young Guns II.

The plot: In 1950, attorney Charles Phalen meets with a man named Brushy Bill Roberts out in the New Mexico desert. Roberts explains that he wants Pelham’s help in securing the pardon he was promised 70 years ago by then New Mexico Governor Lew Wallace, telling Pelham that his real name is William H. Bonney, alias Billy The Kid. Pelham doesn’t believe him, saying that Billy the Kid was killed by Pat Garrett in 1881 and asks if Roberts has any proof to his claim, such as any scars. In flashback, Roberts explains that after he had parted ways with Doc Scurlock and Luis Chavez y Chavez, he had formed a new gang with Pat Garrett and Arkansas Dave Rudabaugh. When some bounty hunters attempt to kill Billy, the three manage to kill the bounty hunters, though Billy is shot in the leg in the process. Meanwhile, Doc is living in New York City and working as a school teacher when US Marshals break down the door and arrest Doc, as they are bringing all of the men involved in the Lincoln County War back to New Mexico to be executed. When he arrives in Lincoln, he is thrown into a gallows pit with some other prisoners and discovers that Chavez has also been captured. Meanwhile, Billy, Garrett, and Dave head to a border town that they have taken to hiding in and as Billy gets his wound tended too, he learns about the warrents issued for him and everyone involved in the Lincoln County War. A young boy named Tom O’Folliard approaches Billy, wanting to ride in his gang, but Billy tries to steer him clear of the lifestyle by showing him the wound in his leg and saying it could just as easily be in his head. When some soldiers show up, the residents hide Billy so they don’t find him and later, Garrett sneaks him some food and tells him that he is thinking of giving up the outlaw life and settle down. When one of the townsfolk decides to take a shot at Billy, he is forced to shoot him, then ends up in a gunfight with the soldiers but is able to escape town. Billy makes his way to see Governor Wallace, who offers Billy a full pardon in exchange for his testimony against the members of the Dolan-Murphy gang. Billy accepts and is taken to Lincoln to testify, only to find out that the prosecutors had no intention of using his testimony, making the deal null and void. Due to the fact that his wrists are bigger than his hands, Billy is able to slip out of his cuffs and escape, but overhears the sheriff telling the prisoners that a lynch mob is expected to arrive that night. Billy, Garrett, and Dave disguise themselves as members of the lynch mob and manage to trick the sheriff into releasing Doc and Chavez into their custody but when the real lynch mob shows up, they are forced to fight their way out of town. Later, as he is shooting the shackles from Doc and Chavez, he tells them that things are getting too hot and he is going to take the Mexican Blackbird, a series of broken trails that only he and a few others know, and head down to Mexico. Doc wants to head back to New York but Garrett warns him that things aren’t the same as they were when he was last in Lincoln and when he sees a posse heading towards them, he reluctantly follows after Billy and the others. Riding back to their hideout, Billy sends Garrett out to get some more people to join them but the only person he can find is a former farmer named Henry William French. Garrett then tells Billy that he won’t be riding with him, as he decided to follow through on his idea of settling down and opening up his own place and Billy argues with him briefly before accepting his friends decision, then agrees to let Tom ride with them when he is caught stealing some food. The next day, Billy, Doc, Chavez, Dave, Henry, and Tom ride to the ranch owned by John Simpson Chisum, a wealthy land owner who was an ally of Tunstall and McSween during the war. Billy tells Chisum that he owes them money for some services rendered as well as his avoiding hitting his property but Chisum says he doesn’t owe them anything. Billy threatens to kill one of his men for every $5 dollars that they owe, then has Dave kill one of Chisum’s men while Doc is forced to kill another. With Chisum refusing to pay them, Billy and the others rustle some of his cattle in order to get some money and head on to Mexico. Chisum meets with Wallace and they have Garrett brought to the Governor’s mansion, where they ask him to become the new sheriff of Lincoln County, offering him $1000 and all the resources he needs in order to capture Billy and his gang. Garrett accepts the job and hires his friend Ashmun Upson, a drunken journalist, to ride with him and document the journey. In the desert, Billy wakes up the others by shooting a newspaper article, telling them that Garrett is the new sheriff chasing them. As they head towards Mexico, they come across an Apache burial ground and Chavez says they should go around it but Dave argues that they can sell the bones for money. When he starts to dig up a grave, Chavez attacks him and the two begin fighting, with Dave stabbing Chavez in the arm with his knife while Chavez slashes Dave with his before they are forced to call a truce. The group arrive at the town of White Oak, where they meet up with Jane Greathouse, a friend of Billy, Doc, and Chavez’s who has opened a brothel. As the group is entertained for the night, a lynch mob comprised of the town’s citizens shows up ready to hang them. Deputy Carlyle tries to keep the peace and asks to come inside to speak with Billy. Once inside, he explains that he intends to follow the law but things will get ugly if the crowd doesn’t get a hanging so he proposes that Billy gives him Chavez to satisfy the crowd and the others can leave out the back. Billy refuses to turn over his friend and instead, puts Chavez’s hat and poncho on him and shoves him out the door while yelling at the crowd, causing the crowd to mistakenly shoot Carlyle, then quickly disperse when they realize what the did. Garrett and his men arrive shortly afterwards and after questioning Jane, he sets her place on fire, saying he is following the law and the towns wishes, and Jane proceeds to ride out of town naked to show what she thinks of the town. Billy and his gang end up in a small mining community that is mining guano but Garrett and his men catch up to them and start shooting. Billy and the others manage to get away ride their horses off a cliff, forcing Garrett and his men to take the long way around to try and catch them again. As Billy and the others continue, he and Tom ride on ahead to scout only to see Garrett close by. Despite the sun being in his eyes, Garrett takes aim and fires, thinking he shot Billy but as he rides up to inspect the body, realizes that he shot Tom, who says he can’t believe he shot him before passing away. Billy and the others take refuge in a abandoned house and when Doc asks him about the trail, Billy admits that there is no trail. Doc gets angry and goes to leave, only to be shot by one of Garrett’s men when he steps out of the house. As they argue over what to do, Doc tells Billy to finish the game and Billy hands him a pistol. Doc then charges out and begins firing at Garrett and his men, only to be gunned down. Dave, Henry, and Chavez manage to get away but when Chavez is shot, Henry goes back to help him while Dave continues on his way. Billy ends up being captured and is taken back to Lincoln, where the judge sentences him to be hanged. As he is awaiting his execution, Billy receives a visit from Jane, who has opened a new brothel and secretly gives him a note saying “outhouse”. When Billy goes to the outhouse, he finds a gun she had hidden for him inside and uses it to kill his guards and make his escape, riding back to his hideout in Fort Sumner. Chavez and Henry also head there and when he says that they need to head out, Chavez tells him he isn’t going anywhere, showing him his gut wound, and he wanders off to die. Henry also chooses to leave and as the town holds a celebration that night, Billy is confronted by Garrett. Billy and Garrett argue, with Billy telling Garrett to let him go to Mexico and Garrett says he can’t because he knows Billy would come back. As they continue arguing, Billy turns his back and starts to walk away, forcing Garrett to shoot him in the back. As a funeral is held for Billy, someone steals Garrett’s horse while in the present, Bill Roberts says he never stole a horse from someone he didn’t like and he loved Garrett like a brother. Dave had made it to Mexico but was beheaded shortly afterwards as a warning to outlaws crossing the border. Garrett’s book about the life of Billy the Kid was a failure and he was shot dead in 1908. Bill Roberts was brought before the governor on November 29, 1950 and despite several surviving witnesses that knew Billy the Kid and corroborated his claim, he was discredited and died 1 month later in Hico, Texas.

Young Guns II received mostly negative reviews from the critics, holding a 35% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, most of the critics felt that it was an entertaining movie, but lacked some of the depth from the previous film. Emilio Estevez had approached Jon Bon Jovi to ask permission to use “Wanted Dead Or Alive” in the movie but Bon Jovi felt the lyrics were inappropriate. Instead, he was inspired by the project and wrote a new song, “Blaze Of Glory”, that better caught the period and setting of the film, and would end up being #1 hit on the Billboard 100. Much like it’s predecessor, the movie was a hit at the box office, earning $44.1 million off of a $10 million budget.

The sequel curse definitely hit this movie as it was definitely not as good as the original. The acting was ok, as I liked Emilio Estevez reprising his role as Billy and I thought Lou Diamond Phillips was equally good as Chavez but felt like Kiefer Sutherland wasn’t too keen to return and didn’t put much emphasis into his character. I thought Christian Slater was great as Arkansas Dave and loved his constant challenging of Billy for leadership and William Petersen was decent as Garrett. The story was pretty good, focusing on the controversy that surrounds Bill Roberts, who did claim to be Billy the Kid and brought new life to the debate, which cause it to be brought up on Unsolved Mysteries. The special effects regarding the gunfights did seem better than the first movie but it didn’t do much to make the movie itself better. It’s some fun watching when you’re bored, but the original is still better.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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action, crime, drama, movie, movie review, western

June 22nd, 2018 Movie – Young Guns

young guns

So the Brat Pack decided to make a western movie. That was pretty much my opinion when I first heard about this movie. Anyways, I remember thinking that this would be an interesting movie to watch but never saw it while it was in theaters. I would end up catching bits and pieces of it on TV over the years before I finally decided to rent it one day so I could watch the whole thing. Westerns are not really my normal wheelhouse but I was entertained enough to end up getting both this and the sequel when the opportunity presented itself. So let’s sit back and enjoy today’s movie, Young Guns.

The plot: In Lincoln County, New Mexico, local ranch owner John Tunstall is in town with Doc Scurlock, one of the young men he has hired to help work the ranch, when they hear the sound of a gun shot and see a young man, Billy, running down the street, being chased by some men who work for Lawrence Murphy, a well connected Irishman who Tunstall is at odds with. Tunstall decides to help Billy get out of town and takes him back to his place, where Billy sees the other Regulators (Jose Chavez y Chavez, Richard M. “Dick” Brewer, Steve Stephens, and Charlie Bowdre) and Tunstall offers to let him stay there provided he earn his keep. The next day, Billy works at tending to the pigs as Charlie explains what it is they do around there and after supper, Tunstall works at teaching everyone how to read and write. The next day, Billy hides when he sees Murphy, ride up with the sheriff and some of his men. Tunstall and the Regulators go to meet them and when the sheriff says that Murphy is accusing Tunstall of stealing some of his land but Tunstall denies the claim, causing Tunstall and Murphy to argue over their place in town. The next day, a former worker for Murphy, J. McCloskey, shows up looking for work and Tunstall agrees to let him in. That night, they head into town for the New Year’s Eve dance and while he is there, Tunstall speaks to his lawyer, Alexander McSween, about trying to expose Murphy’s corruption to the governor only to be told that Murphy had given a large donation to the governor’s election campaign. During the course of the night, Billy meets a man named Pat Garrett and Doc dances with Yen Sun, a Chinese girl under Murphy’s care only to later be told that she is actually his house slave. As Tunstall and the Regulators head home in the morning, Murphy’s men kill Tunstall and chase after the Regulators but they manage to get away. Later, Alex goes to the Justice of the Peace and asks if he is going to serve warrants on the men responsible for Tunstall’s death and he says no but does deputize the Regulators so they can issue the warrants and arrest the men. When they go to arrest Henry Hill, they send Billy in to the shack he tends to hide out in but when Billy hears that Hill is going to the outhouse, he heads over there and ends up shooting Hill, causing a gun fight to erupt. The next day, Doc reads a newspaper article about the gunfight and Billy, who they nickname The Kid, to the others when he notices Yen Sun walking by and goes to talk to her, but when she refuses to take the flowers he offers her then he tells her to give Murphy a message that they are coming for him. The Regulators manage to capture two of Murphy’s men that they have warrants for but Billy wants to kill them. When McCloskey says that they should go a different route than the one Dick wants to go but Billy notices McCloskey and one of the men sharing a glance and realizes that McCloskey is a traitor and kills him, prompting the Regulators to kill the other men when they try to escape. As they try to figure out there next move, and Billy and Dick argue over who should be leading the group, they see Buckshot Roberts approaching them, as he wants to collect the bounty on Billy’s head. A shoot out occurs, with Chavez and Doc both being wounded as Roberts takes shelter in an outhouse. The Regulators fire into the outhouse and when they don’t hear anything, Dick goes to check it out only to be killed by Roberts. The Regulators agin fire into the outhouse, then leave before more of Murphy’s men can arrive. Later, Doc heads off to write to Dick’s family about his death and get some fresh wrappings for his and Chavez’s wounds. Though Billy warns him to stay out of Lincoln, he heads there anyways and sneaks in to see Yen Sun, trying to convince her to leave with him but she refuses and he is forced to leave when Murphy heads up to her room. When Doc returns, Billy convinces the group that they need to go after Sheriff Brady, as he helped Murphy get away with Tunstall’s murder, and they head into Lincoln and kill him and some of his men. When they go to see Alex, he is furious with them as the governor has revoked their deputization and now the military will be after them. He says they were just supposed to serve the warrants and expose Murphy’s corruption but Billy argues that by killing Brady and bringing more attention to the situation, that President Hayes will have to take notice of what is going on out there. As they go to leave, Alex tells them that he is going to reopen Tunstall’s store and tells them to be careful. As they go to hide out, Charlie wants to spend the night with a woman so they head into a town and give him money for a prostitute. While they wait for him, Billy overhears a man at the bar looking for him and he taunts the man briefly, as he doesn’t know what Billy looks like, before revealing himself and killing him. Suddenly, Charlie bursts into the bar and tells them that John Kinney, an ex soldier turned bounty hunter, and his men are coming and they all quickly ride off, hiding in some thorn bushes to escape detection. As they rest for a while, Billy wants to head back to Lincoln to take out Murphy but the others all want to head to Mexico to get away and Billy, describing the risk it will entail to get to Mexico, decides to go with them. They reach a border town and rest up for the night only to be surprised when Charlie falls in love and decides to marry a local girl. As they celebrate the wedding, Pat Garrett shows up and approaches Billy, telling him that their mutual friend Alex is in danger, as Murphy is planning on killing him on his return to Lincoln. Billy calls out for the Regulators to get ready to ride out and both he and Doc tell Charlie that he should stay, as he has a wife now, but Charlie refuses to let his friends ride off without him. The Regulators head back to Lincoln and go to get Alex and his wife Susan out of town but they realize that it is trap as Murphy’s men begin setting up barricades in front of the house. Kinney and his men show up as well and the Regulators find themselves trapped in the house. As Murphy and Kinney’s men begin shooting at the house, Billy and the others take refuge on the second floor. Murphy arrives to oversee the events just as some soldiers arrive from the nearest army camp, and Murphy tries to get them to leave as he doesn’t want too much attention brought on them. While he argues with the colonel, Yen Sun leaves his wagon and races into the house, choosing to be with Doc. Murphy orders his men to set fire to the house in an attempt to smoke out Billy and the others and Alex yells down that he is sending his wife out so she can get away. Chavez sneaks out of the house and when Steve discovers he is missing, he starts ranting that he went and saved his own skin. Coming up with a plan to try and get away, they all start throwing items out of the windows to avoid having them catch fire, including a large trunk. Suddenly, Billy bursts out of the trunk and begins shooting at the men, while Doc and the others head out the side door. They see Chavez riding towards them with some horses he procured and they move to get on the horses but Billy is wounded. Charlie ends up getting into a shootout with Kinney and they end up killing each other. Doc is wounded but manages to get both him and Yen on a horse so they can ride off. Chavez is shot but Steve helps him back onto the horse, only to be killed as well. Billy is able to get on a horse and escape as well and Alex heads out and yells good luck after them only to be gunned down by a Gatling gun. Murphy starts ranting for everyone to go after them when Billy rides back and shoots Murphy in the head, then leaves town. In a voice over, Doc says that Chavez headed to California, changing his name in the process, and began working on a farm. Doc and Yen moved to New York and got married while Susan stayed in town and continued Alex and Tunstall’s work, resulting in the governor being forced to step down. Billy the kid continued to ride in the New Mexico area until he was eventually killed by Pat Garrett after he was made sheriff. He was buried next to Charlie in Fort Sumner and one night, someone inscribed the word “Pals” on his tombstone.

Young Guns met with mixed reviews from the critics, holding a 42% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, most of the critics felt that despite the star power it had, it fell flat as a whole. Much like almost every other movie about the Lincoln County War, John Tunstall is depicted as an older gentleman when he was actually 24 when he was killed. In fact, he was younger than most of the Regulators, with Billy the Kid being one of the only ones younger than him, as he was 20 at the time. Despite the mixed reviews, the movie was a box office success, earning $45.6 million off of an $11 million budget and would spawn a sequel two years later.

So, I may be in the minority on this one but I find this movie pretty entertaining in a guilty pleasure type of way. The acting was good, with Emilio Estevez doing a good job as Billy the Kid. I also liked Keifer Sutherland (Doc), Casey Siemaszko (Charlie) and Lou Diamond Phillips (Chavez) but was kind of indifferent to the others. The story was based on the real events of the Lincoln County Wars, which helped make Billy the Kid famous and they had some fun with their version of it. I thought the scene where Chavez had them drink some mescaline to guide them on a spirit journey was pretty funny. Some of the gun fights seemed a little out there in the sense that nobody was getting hit, while they had an affinity with the slow motion shots when some of the guns were firing and people were actually shot. It’s not the greatest western ever but it is an entertaining movie.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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May 24th, 2018 Movie – Westworld

westworld

Now this is going to be a fun movie to watch, especially since it probably has a lot more name recognition with most people thanks to the show on HBO. Now way back in the video store days, I remember seeing the video case for this movie as a kid and it always seemed to draw me in. I mean, you have a robot cowboy that goes around killing people. What about that wouldn’t be interesting to a kid. I did eventually rent it and thought it was a great movie, made even better years later when I learned that Michael Crichton didn’t just write this but also directed it. So let’s introduce some people who have only watched the recent show, today’s movie, Westworld.

The plot: In the year 1983, a company called Delos offers a brand new theme park, where guests can enter three themed areas (Westworld, Medievalworld, and Romanworld) and interact with life-like robots. Peter Martin and his friend John Blaine are heading to Westworld, and Peter is asking John all sorts of questions about it, as it is his first time there and John has been there before. When the arrival at the main terminal, the board a cart to take them to their assigned world, stopping at the outfitters to get dressed in clothing from the time period. When they arrive in Westworld, Peter starts feeling silly over the whole idea but John convinces him to try and have some fun. The two head to the saloon and as they are having a drink, one of the robots starts insulting Peter, as it is programmed to instigate a fight. John convinces Peter to engage it and when Peter does, the robot challenges him to a duel and Peter manages to draw his gun first and kill it. Later, Peter wonders if  he might accidentally shoot another guest with the gun and John has him try to shoot him, then explains that there is a sensor in the gun that prevents them from firing on anything warm blooded. After having dinner at the hotel they are staying in, the pair head to the local brothel and pick up two women. As they are about to head upstairs with them, they hear a commotion outside and are told some men are robbing the bank. Peter wants to go help fend off the robbers but John tells him that it’s some other tourists that are robbing the bank. As night falls, the Delos clean up crew arrives and carries off all of the dead robots from the day’s adventures and takes them to the repair bay. In the repair shop, the chief supervisor notices an increase in malfunctions among the robots, starting in Medieval and Romanworld and has since spread to Westworld. when he mentions it is like an infectious disease, one of the scientists scoffs at the suggestion but the supervisor tells him that these are complex machines, some of which were built by computers, they don’t know exactly how they work. The next morning, the repaired gunslinger shows up at the hotel, holding John at gunpoint, but Peter manages to kill him again. Peter ends up being arrested but John helps him break out of the prison, shooting the sheriff in the process, and they ride out of town. As they lounge about in the desert outside of town, a rattlesnake approaches them and they try to shoot it and eventually kill it but not before it bites John. Peter asks if it is real but John says no, then gets upset as it shouldn’t have happened. In the control room, the chief supervisor learns of what happened and has his team go pick up the snake immediately so they can examine it. Meanwhile, in Medievalworld, one of the guests, who is acting as a king, attempts to seduce a chambermaid but is rebuffed. The supervisor has the robot brought to the repair bay and so they can examine her. The next morning, the king goes to get some breakfast but ends up being challenged by the Black Knight in the dining hall. As the two men fight, the Black Knight deviates from it’s programming and starts winning the fight, then wounds the king. In the control room, the chief supervisor yells for them to cut the knight’s power but are unable to stop it from killing the king. Meanwhile, in Westworld, Peter and John wake up, having taken part in a drunken barroom brawl the night before, and encounter the gunslinger again. Peter jokingly tells John it is his turn to deal with him and as John turns to face him, the Gunslinger shoots him. John reacts in shock to being shot just as the Gunslinger shoots again, killing him. The Gunslinger then challenges Peter, who quickly runs and grabs a horse to leave town but the Gunslinger chases after him. In the control room, the chief supervisor orders the power to be cut for the whole park, hoping to shut the robots down but the robots continue attacking guests all over the park. When they can’t restore back-up power to the room, the chief supervisor tells them to get the doors open or else they will suffocate in there, as the ventilation system isn’t operating. Back in the desert, Peter encounters a worker out in the field, who is frightened by Peter at first until he has Peter show him his hands to prove he is a guest. The worker tells him the robots are malfunctioning and Peter asks him what he can do. The worker tells him some options to destroy the robots, like acid, or wait till it runs out of power but says he doesn’t have a chance and Peter rides off, just as the Gunslinger kills the worker. Peter keeps running and eventually reaches Romanworld, where he finds a courtyard full of dead guests and robots. Making his way through the courtyard, he finds a manhole cover and moves the manhole to enter the sewer system, which is actually the service tunnels for the workers. Making his way through the tunnels, he comes across the control room but finds all of the people inside dead, as they were unable to get the doors opened before they suffocated. Meanwhile, the Gunslinger has followed Peter’s trail to Romanworld and made it’s way into the tunnels. Peter reaches the repair bay and, hearing the Gunslinger coming down the tunnel, lays on one of the tables to pretend like he is a robot needing repairs. The Gunslinger enters the room and looks around but doesn’t see Peter at first, allowing Peter to throw some acid in it’s face. Peter leaves the room, with the damaged Gunslinger following him but after firing and missing him, it is unable to shoot anymore as it’s gun has run out of power. Peter makes his way to the Medievalworld’s dining room, and attempts to avoid the Gunslinger when it follows him. As Peter ducks underneath some of the torches, he realizes that the gunslinger can’t see him, as the torches confuse it’s infrared sensors. The Gunslinger can still hear him and as he makes a slight noise, Peter grabs one of the torches and sets it on fire. Peter leaves the dining room and ,finding a woman chained to a dungeon wall, frees her and attempts to help her only to discover she is a robot as well when he accidentally shorts circuits her. As Peter backs away from her, he encounters the Gunslinger, whose body is completely charred, and it attempts to grab him one last time but ends up falling and finally short circuits due to all the damage it sustained. An exhausted Peter then sits on the dungeon steps to rest as the Delos slogan “Boy, have we got a vacation for you.” goes through his head.

Westworld met with high praise from the critics, holding an 86% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Yul Brynner gives a memorable performance as a robotic cowboy in this amusing sci-fi/western hybrid.” While Yul Brynner’s character of the Gunslinger was iconic in it’s own right, but served as the inspiration for John Carpenter’s Michael Myers character as well as Arnold Schwarzenegger’s portrayal of the Terminator. The movie was a box office success, earning $10 million off of a $1.25 million budget and spawned one sequel and two TV series, one in 1980 and the more recent one now airing on HBO.

This is such a great movie to watch and definitely indicative of Crichton’s theme in his writings. The acting was great, with Yul Brynner doing an amazing job as the Gunslinger and you could definitely tell how other movie characters would come to be patterned after his consistent and dogged pursuit of Peter. James Brolin (Josh) and Richard Benjamin (Peter) were also good in their roles as well, but I honestly liked Alan Oppenheimer’s performance as the chief supervisor a little better and wished that he had a bigger role. The story was great, which is not really surprising considering the writer, and I liked the theme of technology eventually turning on it’s owners, which admittedly is a common sci-fi theme but it was well written in this movie. The idea of the robots all malfunctioning and the malfunctions spreading like a virus through the park was actually a great plot line and I wish they could have gone a little deeper into that aspect but there wasn’t enough time for it. The special effects were pretty good for the most part, especially since this was the first time computer digitized images was used in a feature film (not counting computer monitor graphics), but I did think they could have done a better job with the blood, as it really just looked like red paint. The blood is honestly my only real complaint about the movie as I think that this is definitely a great movie and one that I highly recommend people watch.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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adventure, movie, movie review, sci-fi, western

April 15th, 2018 Movie – The Valley Of Gwangi

the valley of gwangi

It has been way, way too long since I have watched a Ray Harryhausen movie;  I mean for this blog, not on my own time. The fact of the matter is, I have simply gone watched all of his movies that I own (I am apparently missing 4-5) and this just happens to be the last one alphabetically. Anyways, I remember seeing this movie years ago when I was a kid and heavily into my dinosaur phase. There is something about this movie that has always held a place in my heart and is probably the only western, in a loose sense, that I have never grown tired of watching. So let’s have a bit of fun with today’s movie, The Valley Of Gwangi.

The plot: A group of gypsies are making their way through the Mexican desert looking for one of their group, Miguel. The eventually find him near dead by a small river and as his brother Carlos approaches him, Miguel manages to say “Gwangi” before dying. Seeing a sack with something crying out, Carlos grabs it but the leader of the gypsies, a blind elderly woman named Tia ,Zorina, says that the bag’s contents must be taken back to the valley, as stealing from Gwangi will bring a curse on them, but Carlos refuses to believe in her superstitions and leaves with the bag. Some time later, Tuck Kirby, a former rodeo stuntman that now works for Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, arrives in a Mexican town and hires a young boy named Lope to take him to the arena. As Tuck reaches the arena, he is met by Champ, the manager of the rodeo, who isn’t happy about seeing Tuck back and says he doesn’t want to see T.J. get hurt. Before Tuck can respond, he hears the music for the finale starting up and, recognizing it as T.J.’s music, heads inside the arena doors so he can watch. T.J. is guiding her horse up a diving platform and is preparing to have her horse jump into a pool of water, with Champ lighting the outer base on fire. When she notices Tuck watching, T.J. gets distracted, missing her cue, but quickly recovers and successfully complete the jump. After T.J. and her horse are helped out of the pool, T.J. heads to her dressing room and Tuck follows after her, telling her he has a business proposition for her. Tuck tells T.J. that Buffalo Bill wants to her horse to use in his show and T.J. tells her she isn’t for sell and as Tuck comments on the dwindling audience attending their shows, she gets upset and yells at him to leave. Tuck and Lope leave the arena and encounter Professor Bromley, a paleontologist that is digging in the area. Helping take him back to his campsite, Bromley tells them about his discovery of a bone, with the footprints of an Eohippus, the early ancestor of the modern horse. Tuck talks with Bromley a bit longer and then decides to head back to the arena to try and convince T.J. to sell. At the arena, Carlos approaches T.J., who is excited about their new act, El Diablo, but Carlos wants to talk about the two of them starting a relationship. Tuck shows up and attempts to talk to T.J. again when Lope enters the arena and attempts to imitate the matadors. Lope is knocked down by the bull when it passes him and Tuck races into the arena and grabs Lope then runs for the wall and throws Lope over but is knocked down by the bull before he can climb over it. Carlos enters the arena and distracts the bull long enough for the matadors to enter and lead it away, but he gets upset when he sees T.J. rushing to check on Tuck, who kisses her. Later, T.J. is tending to Tuck’s injuries and asks why he left her and he says he doesn’t know, feeling apologetic about hurting her. T.J. tells him he can have the horse but Tuck gets suspicious and asks her why. T.J. reveals that she is starting a new act and shows him El Diablo, a live Eohippus. T.J. shows Tuck the poster for the act, having El Diablo dance on a platform atop another horse, and Tuck says it is amazing and sure to be solid gold, then realizes what El Diablo really is. Tuck sneaks Bromley into T.J.’s dressing room to show him El Diablo and says they most know where Carlos found him, as there could be more of them. Tuck and Bromley refuse to tell them anything, upset that T.J. told them about El Diablo, but when he mentions the gypsies, Tuck tells Bromley they should ask them. Tuck and Bromley ask Lope to help them find the gypsies camp and when they reach it, they try speaking with Zorina, but she refuses to help them, as she doesn’t want to anger Gwangi. Tuck decides to head back and get some sleep but Bromley approaches Zorina and offers to tell her where El Diablo is. The next day, Tuck is trying to decide if he should tell T.J. about what El Diable really is when he encounters Lope, who tells him he is meeting the Bromley for an expedition. Realizing that Bromley might have arranged to have El Diablo stolen, Tuck heads off to the arena. At the arena, the gypsies break into T.J.’s dressing room and steal El Diablo, knocking out Carlos when he tries to stop them. The gypsies race off back to the forbidden valley just as Tuck arrives and, seeing T.J.’s dressing room door open, he chases after them, followed by Bromley and Lope. T.J. and Champ see Tuck racing off and find Carlos, who tells them that Tuck stole El Diablo and Champ convinces T.J. that Tuck is no good and she orders him to get some of the men together so they can ride after him. The next day, Tuck manages to meet up with Bromley and Lope and asks Bromley where El Diablo is but Bromley says he doesn’t know, as he was merely following the gypsies to the Forbidden Valley, as if there is one Eohippus, there must be others and convinces Tuck to help him, though Tuck says he only wants to get El Diablo back for T.J.. Coming to a series of mountains, Bromley says this most likely is the Forbidden Valley when they hear the horses crying out and head back to find that Lope’s mule, Rosita, missing and blood all around the area, not knowing that it had been carried off by a Pteranodon. They eventually find where the gypsies released El Diablo and discover that T.J. and her group had beaten them there. T.J. lassos Tuck and calls out to Champ and the others when Bromley spots El Diablo next to Tuck’s horse. Everyone attempts to capture El Diablo, who manages to slip through a crevice in the rocks. Champ explores the crevice and discovers it opens into a large valley and they use the horses to pull some of the rocks free from the opening so they can ride inside. Once in the valley, they split up to look for El Diablo, with Tuck, Champ, Rowdy and Bean heading off in one direction, while Carlos, T.J., Bromley, and Lope in another. When a Pteranodon flies down and grabs Lope, Carlos gives chase as is drops to the ground, apparently unable to keep aloft with Lope’s weight, and Carlos manages to break it’s neck, killing it. Meanwhile, Tuck and the others spot an Ornithomimus and they attempt to capture it to bring back but as they chase it, an Allosaurus leaps out from behind some rocks and kills the Ornithomimus. Tuck and the others make a run for it, though Rowdy decides to try and shoot the Allosaurus but his gun is loaded with blanks for their performance and the noise only manages to attract it’s attention and it starts chasing after them. Carlos decides to go looking for the others, and finds them heading back just as the Allosaurus appears and Carlos whispers “Gwangi” when he sees it and turns and follows them. They reach T.J., Lope, and Bromley and tell them they have to leave but Bromley refuses to leave the dead Pteranodon so they are forced to leave him. When Gwangi appears, Bromley quickly goes and hides in a cave but he disturbs some rocks and Gwangi spots him and chases after him. Meanwhile, Tuck and the others are confronted by a Styracosaurus and quickly head in another direction as it makes its way towards where they were coming from. The Styracosaurus ends up confronting Gwangi and the two dinosaurs face off before heading their separate ways, with Gwangi grabbing the dead Pteranodon as it leaves. Tuck and the others find a cave they can stay at and as tensions start to flare, Lope tells them that Bromley and the gypsies had stolen El Diablo, while Carlos lied about who stole it. Tuck and the others work on making a pit trap near the cave opening to try and keep them safe, managing to catch Bromley in it, and they settle down for the night. T.J. approaches Tuck and tells him she wants to sell out, not just the horse but the entire show, and settle down, and Tuck admits that he is scared but he has been looking at a ranch in Wyoming which would be perfect for them to settle down and raise horses or cattle, and the two kiss. The next day, Tuck goes to get some water when he sees Gwangi nearby and Gwangi quickly starts to chase him. Tuck makes it to the cave but is thrown from his horse when it tries to climb up and is forced to hide in a crevice as Gwangi approaches. Champ and the others use some spears to try and fend off Gwangi and when it continues to chase after Tuck, they mount up on horses and chase after him. Carlos manages to get a lasso around it’s mouth but is knocked off his horse and Tuck quickly hops on and continues trying to hold Gwangi at bay. As Champ, T.J., Rowdy, and Bean all join in and use their lassos to try and subdue Gwangi, Carlos heads back to get Tuck’s horse only to encounter the Stracosaurus. Carlos ends up using a torch to light some nearby brush on fire, chasing the Styracosaurus away and straight towards Gwangi. As the two dinosaurs begin fighting, Tuck and the others race past them on their way out of the valley but Gwangi, after killing the Styracosaurus, chases after them and kills Carlos. Tuck and the others make it through the opening and Gwangi attempts to follow them but as it struggles to make it through the opening, it causes a rock slide that knocks it unconscious. Tuck quickly wraps a lasso around it’s mouth and ties it up and Champ is excited and makes plans to bring it back to the arena. Bringing back a cage, they secure Gwangi inside and start making their way to the arena when they are confronted by Zorina and her dwarf companion. Zorina says she foresaw Carlos’ death and says they will die to unless Gwangi is returned to the valley. When they reach the arena, Bromley is upset that T.J. is planning on using Gwangi as part of their show and after he leaves, Tuck questions her plans about a world tour with Gwangi, upset that she decided to ignore their plans of moving to Wyoming and pursue the fame that this world tour would give her. After Tuck leaves, Lope tells T.J. she needs to go after him and T.J. realizes that he is right and quickly rushes out and stops Tuck from leaving, and the two embrace. Meanwhile, Zorina and the dwarf gypsy make their way into the arena, and the dwarf sneaks backstage and works on releasing the pins for the cage so Gwangi can get free but he ends up being snatched up into Gwangi’s jaws. As an elephant in the previous act senses the danger and starts crying out, as the curtain is raised and the crowd gasps in horror as they see Gwangi with the dwarf in it’s mouth. Gwangi breaks free from the cage, crushing Bromley as it does, and begins fighting with the elephant as the crowd quickly flees the arena, trampling Zorina in the process. Tuck, Champ, and Rowdy grab some rifles and attempt to kill Gwangi but the bullets have no effect and Tuck is forced to take shelter inside a large church with T.J., Lope, and most of the other townspeople. Tuck and some men try and brace the door so Gwangi can’t get in but he easily forces the door open and everyone starts leaving out the back as Gwangi makes his way inside. Tuck tells T.J. and Lope to escape while he tries to lock Gwangi inside, then circles back to the front doors to lock them. T.J. and Lope get trapped by Gwangi and Tuck works to distract it, using a flag pole/spear to fend it off. When Tuck is accidentally knocked into the organ, the noise distracts Gwangi and Tuck throws the spear into it’s head, wounding the massive dinosaur. As it roars in pain, Tuck grabs T.J. and Lope and they quickly run for it, with Tuck throwing some hot embers at Gwangi when it tries to follow them. The embers set the pews on fire and Gwangi soon becomes trapped in the fire, knocking over some torches that cause the fire to spread. Tuck, T.J., and Lope make it outside and watch with the rest of the crowd as the church catches fire and starts to collapse, killing Gwangi as it is trapped under some debris and burned to death.

The Valley Of Gwangi met with relatively high praise from modern critics, holding a 78% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, many critics praised Harryhausen’s stop-motion effects, feeling it was the best part of the movie. The concept for the movie had actually conceived by Willis O’Brien, of King Kong fame, and was supposed to be a follow up to King Kong but was never made. O’Brien had actually produced a similar movie, The Beast Of Hollow Mountain,  a few years earlier however he died before this movie started, and the project passed on to Harryhausen. Unfortunately, the movie was not as successful as Harryhausen’s other ventures, as the market had started shifting away from giant monster movies and Warner Bros. management had undergone changes and they released it with little promotional effort.

I love this movie and I honestly don’t know why it didn’t do better in theaters, as it had most of what you would expect young boys to be drawn to; cowboys and dinosaurs. Anyways, the acting was pretty good, with James Franciscus (Tuck), Laurence Naismith (Bromley) and Freda Jackson (Zorina) doing great jobs in their roles. I also liked Curtis Arden (Lope) and Gila Golan (T.J.), but I wonder what Gila’s voice would have sounded like as they had her voice dubbed for the movie. The story was pretty good, and I liked the idea of Gwangi being captured and placed as part of a circus show and Bromley being upset about it. I might be biased but I honestly feel like Gwangi was some of Harryhausen’s best work, as his movements were incredible when translated onto the screen. Some of the blue screen work could have been a little better but on the whole, this is still a great movie to watch.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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action, drama, movie, movie review, western

February 27th, 2018 Movie – Tombstone

tombstone

It’s been a while since I have watched a western. This is probably due to the fact that it is not a genre of movies that I particularly care for as a whole, but there are several standout movies that do catch my interest. I mean, there are a couple of John Wayne and Clint Eastwood movies that I have watched and enjoyed, while some more recent movies and remakes have also been entertaining. However, today’s movie is somewhat a first because it is the first western that I actually liked enough to buy on video/DVD, well maybe the second because I did buy Blazing Saddles first. Anyways, I remember going to see this movie in theaters and thinking it was a lot of fun and even though I own it on DVD, it has been a while since I have watched it. Now let’s see if the teenage memories do today’s movie justice as I watch Tombstone.

The plot: In 1879, a group of outlaws known as the Cochise County Cowboys ride into a Mexican town and interrupt a police officer’s wedding. Holding up two red sashes, which the Cowboys are known for wearing, their leader, William “Curly Bill” Brocius, tells the assembled officers that they killed two of his men, then he and his men proceed to kill all of the police officers there, including the newly married groom and his wife. When the priest starts saying that their acts will be avenged, quoting Revelations and it’s passage of Death riding on a pale horse, he is shot as well. Meanwhile, retired sheriff Wyatt Earp arrives in Tucson Arizona and is approached by two U.S. Marshals but he turns down their offer to work for them. He is then met by his brothers Morgan and Virgil and their wives Allie and Louisa. Wyatt introduces them to Mattie Blaylock, his common–law wife, and then starts putting his suitcases in the wagon for their trip, while Allie gives Mattie a bottle laudanum, which she says is for her headaches. Wyatt and his family eventually reach Tombstone, Arizona and are greeted by Johnny Behan, the town sheriff, who speaks with Wyatt and offers him the use of three cabins that just came up for rent. Later, Wyatt, Morgan, and Virgil are talking with Marshall Fred White, who points out some Cowboys nearby and says they are really the “law” around there. He then talks about the various casinos in town and mentions one, the Oriental, that has fallen on hard times. Wyatt heads over to the Oriental and speaks with the bar tender, commenting on how nice it is and wondering why it is so dead. The bartender explains that a dealer had shown up and taken over one of the tables and essentially run everyone out so Wyatt confronts the man and gets rid of him, then offers his own services for 25% of the house. Wyatt rejoins his brothers to tell them about his good fortunes, not noticing the dealer coming up behind them with a shotgun. Suddenly, Doc Holliday appears, calling out the dealer, who he knows, then shakes hands with his friend Wyatt and the others. After chasing off the dealer, Wyatt introduces Doc to Behan just as a gunshot is heard at a nearby saloon and they see two associates, Texas Jack Vermillion and Turkey Creek Jack Johnson, involved. The two Jack’s say hello to their friends but Fred tells them they have to turn over their guns. When a theater troupe arrives in town, Wyatt finds himself attracted to Josephine Marcus, an actress in the troupe and attends the show that night with the rest of his family as well as Doc and his companion. After the show, Wyatt heads off to work and has an encounter with Curly Bill and his lieutenant Johnny Ringo. Ringo’s attention is focused on Doc, wanting to test his skill against Doc’s but Doc refuses to take the bait and things end up settling down as Curly Bill, Ringo, and the other Cowboys leave. The next day, Wyatt is on his way home when he runs into Josephine and the two end up riding together and talking, where Josephine asks him if he is happy with his life. The next night, Curly Bill gets drunk and ends up shooting his gun around town and when Behan refuses to do anything about it, Fred heads out and tells Curly Bill to turn in his guns but ends up getting shot. Wyatt knocks Curly Bill out and starts taking him to the jail but Ike and Billy Canton, and some of the other Cowboys tell him to let Curly Bill go. Wyatt refuses, saying Curly Bill will stand trial, then holds a gun to Ike’s head while Doc, Morgan, and Virgil back him up. The next day, Curly Bill is let go due to a lack of witnesses to the shooting and the U.S. Marshalls ask Wyatt and his brothers to become the new marshalls but they turn them down at first but later, after rescuing a boy from getting trampled by the Cowboys as they leave town, Virgil becomes the new marshall, and Morgan joins him. Virgil’s first act is to forbid guns from being carried in town, forcing people to check them when they enter. That night, a drunken Ike loses to Doc in a poker game and as he cusses him out, Doc collapses to the ground and Wyatt and Morgan carry him to the hotel. Ike gets his guns from the bartender and drunkenly declares he will kill Wyatt and Doc the next time he sees them but Virgil knocks him out and locks him in a cell. When some Cowboys show up to pick up Ike and get his weapons, they threaten retaliation and Wyatt has Virgil swear him in as a Marshall. Later, 6 Cowboys, including Billy and Ike, ride into town and head over to the O.K. Corral. Doc joins up with the Earps and Wyatt wants to just let them simmer down but Virgil wants to arrest them for carrying weapons as a show that they can’t break the law so Wyatt relents. The four men head over to the corral and are met by Behan, who says that he disarmed the Cowboys but when they continue, he quickly hides inside a nearby building. When they get to the corral, they discover that Behan lied and a gunfight ensues, with Morgan and Virgil getting wounded, Billy and most of the Cowboys getting killed while Ike manages to escape. The next day, a drunken Ringo tries calling out Wyatt and his brothers to fight but they refuse and Curly Bill pulls him away before he starts a fight with Doc, saying that the time isn’t right. A few nights later, Behan tells Josephine, whom he has been seeing, that he knows of the attraction between her and Wyatt but after tonight, he will be the only law in town. Josephine heads over to Virgil’s house to warn Mattie, Allie, and Louisa, then saves them when a Cowboy attempts to kill them. Meanwhile, Wyatt, Morgan, and Virgil are eating dinner and Virgil leaves to go home but is ambushed by the Cowboys and stumbles back into the bar. Wyatt and Morgan carry him to his home and the doctor says he will lose his arm, prompting Morgan to storm off while Allie blames Wyatt for what happened. As Wyatt leaves, he runs into Sherman McMaster, who says he had no part in what happened and is no longer with the Cowboys, throwing his sash on the ground. Sherman is accompanied by the two Jacks, who tell Wyatt that if he needs them to let them know, then the three ride off. Morgan had gone to shoot pool but is shot in the back and ends up dying from the wound. The next day, Wyatt and Doc place Morgan’s coffin in a wagon and ride out of town, with Virgil and the wives following behind them. Wyatt stops to tell Curly Bill that it is over between them but after they leave, Curly Bill sends Ike and Stillwell to follow after them to kill Wyatt. Wyatt has Virgil and the women get on the train but when Stillwell and Ike show up to kill them, Wyatt kills Stillwell, then sends Ike with a message to the other Cowboys, saying that he is coming for anyone wearing a red sash and will kill them. Swearing in Doc, Sherman, and the two Jacks, Wyatt and his posse begin riding out and killing every Cowboy they find. When they come to a river, they get in an ambush set up by Curly Bill but Wyatt walks out into the river, untouched by any of the bullets, and kills Curly Bill, but afterwards Sherman says that Ringo will be coming out for blood. Some time later, Behan has deputized Ringo and the other cowboys to arrest Wyatt and his posse and they come across a stage coach containing Josephine and Mr. Fabian, who was shot by one of the Cowboys while preventing them from robbing them. Josephine chastises Behan for his actions and Behan’s deputy leaves, saying that there has to be some sort of law around there. When Doc’s condition worsens, Wyatt’s posse takes refuge at a farmhouse but a Cowboy appears, dragging Sherman’s body behind him, and tells Wyatt that Ringo is calling him out for a duel. Wyatt agrees and he and the two Jacks ride off, leaving Doc in the care of the rancher. When they get to the meeting place, Wyatt is told where Ringo is and before he leaves, he tells the two Jacks to take off for Mexico if things go south. At the oak tree, Ringo sees a figure approaching but is surprised to find that it is Doc, who had ridden there ahead of Wyatt. Ringo agrees to fight Doc but Doc quickly shoots him in the head then turns as Wyatt approaches and Wyatt says they should finish it. Wyatt and his posse head off to finish killing the Cowboys, with Ike being spared when he removes his sash and leaves the group. Some time later, Doc is placed in the Glenwood Sanatorium where he tells Wyatt to start a new life with Josephine before he ends up dying of his tuberculosis. Wyatt heads to the town that Josephine has moved to and speaks with her after her performance, asking her to go with him and she kisses him and they dance outside in the snow.

Tombstone met with positive results from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 73% on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, many critics felt it was one of the best Westerns to come out in years but others felt that there were too many characters to try and focus on  plot was unfocused while the plot was unfocused. The gunfight scene in the river is supposedly true, with Wyatt Earp actually walking out into the water unscathed and shooting Curly Bill point blank with a shotgun, then shooting a second person in the stomach. Unlike the movie, Johnny Barnes (the man that was gut shot) did not die right away but managed to escape and make it to a farmhouse, where he reported what happened and how Earp walked up to Curly Bill unscathed before killing him. The movie was a hit at the box office, earning $56.5 million off of a $25 million budget.

This is still a great Western and a highly enjoyable movie, but I will say that it does have it’s faults. The acting was really good, with Kurt Russel doing a really good job as Wyatt Earp, but I think Val Kilmer stole the show as Doc Holiday (in fact it might be his best performance in my opinion). Powers Boothe (Curly Bill), Michael Biehn (Ringo), Sam Eliott (Virgil), and Dana Delany (Josephine) were also very good in their roles as well. The story was pretty good and I liked how they tried to keep it fairly accurate to the events. However, one of my favorite, somewhat underrated scenes, was after Doc killed Ringo and placed his badge on top of him, telling Wyatt that his hypocricy can only go so far. This is because he knew what they were doing had nothing to do with the law or justice, but was simply revenge for the Cowboys killing Morgan, but was going along with it to help out his only friend, Wyatt. The one thing I didn’t like was that they had soo many characters that they introduced, that they couldn’t really do half of them any justice. There were several times a character would show up briefly, then you wouldn’t see him again till the very end but he is given a poignant moment in the movie (like the deputy). The special effects regarding the gun fights were pretty good, though a little flashy at times. A great movie and definitely something that is worth watching.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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