Western

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)

 

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)

NETFLIX

Director:

Ethan Coen

Joel Coen

Starring:

Tim Blake Nelson

James Franco

Liam Neeson

Harry Melling

Tom Waits

Bill Heck

Zoe Kazan

Grainger Hines

Jonjo O’Neill

Brendan Gleeson

Saul Rubinek

Tyne Daly

Chelcie Ross

Plot:

An anthology film comprised of six stories, each dealing with a different aspect of life in the Old West.

Review:

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is a Western anthology in which at least one person dies in every story. The first story is amusing and fun to watch, while each story after that is various levels of depressing. It was not what I expected and while I enjoyed some parts of it and the stories will probably stick with me a while, I didn’t really like it.

The first story is Buster Scruggs, it’s filled with music and seeming magic, it’s fun. The next story is Near Algodones and it is also fairly amusing and fun, with a tragic, though, deserved ending. Things take a dark and depressing turn with Meal Ticket and it made me really sad. All Gold Canyon was depressing in a different way, though, it had beautiful scenery. I ended up talking to the TV a fair amount during The Girl Who Got Rattled and was seriously hoping it would take a different turn than it did. Sadly, by the time we got to the final story, The Mortal Remains, I had checked out and did not pay as much attention to it. So if it was a fitting ending, I’m not sure.

I wasn’t a fan of The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, but then it’s not really the type of movie I like to watch. I will say, after watching something so depressing, I’m really looking forward to some Christmas movies.

2/5

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Gunslinger Girl

Gunslinger Girl By: Lindsay Ely

Plot:

James Patterson presents a bold new heroine—a cross between Katniss Everdeen and Annie Oakley: Serendipity Jones, the fastest sharpshooter in tomorrow’s West.

Seventeen-year-old Serendipity “Pity” Jones inherited two things from her mother: a pair of six shooters and perfect aim. She’s been offered a life of fame and fortune in Cessation, a glittering city where lawlessness is a way of life. But the price she pays for her freedom may be too great….

In this extraordinary debut from Lyndsay Ely, the West is once again wild after a Second Civil War fractures the U.S. into a broken, dangerous land. Pity’s struggle against the dark and twisted underbelly of a corrupt city will haunt you long after the final bullet is shot.

Review:

I devoured the first seventy percent of this book. The world was relatively interesting, the characters were fine, but most of all, for me at least, it was a western led by a girl. I love westerns with female leads.

The last thirty percent was a difficult slog, though. I had never cared about the characters so when it really started to get emotional I did not care what happened, at all.

Did I say I love westerns with female leads? I should have said I love westerns with female leads that are strong. Pity lives up to her name. It’s a pity she was the lead because she had no brain. It’s a pity she had almost no survival instinct and whenever it did kick in she made the wrong choice.

The book was a YA novel, I’m always harshest on them, for whatever reason. I honestly try to avoid them, but they seem to have the stories I want to read but the characters I fucking hate.

I didn’t like Gunslinger Girl. I wanted a female led western with a woman that didn’t need everyone to tell her what to do and wasn’t constantly just reacting to the situation. I wanted more than just a girl falling in love with a boy and doing everything for him.

2/5

Godless (2017-?)

Godless (2017)

Network:

Netflix

Starring:

Jack O’Connell

Michelle Dockery

Scoot McNairy

Merritt Wever

Jeff Daniels

Thomas Brodie-Sangster

Plot:

Frank Griffin, an outlaw terrorizing the 1880s American West, hunts down Roy Goode, his partner turned enemy. Roy hides out at a ranch as Frank’s chase leads him to La Belle, New Mexico – a town mysteriously made up almost entirely of women.

Review:

I canceled Netflix in 2017 because they canceled Sense 8 and I was pissed. At the end of October when I saw the trailer for Godless I decided I’d resubscribe. It looked incredible, it was a western where women were kicking butt. A whole town filled with women who’d lost their husbands tragically but were able to take care of business. It was everything I’d ever wanted.

Then the second trailer hit and I grew concerned. On November 22nd when it launched I wasn’t at home so I wasn’t able to watch and as impressions started to roll in I became incredibly disappointed.

I’m not sure who in the Netflix marketing department thought it would be a good idea to paint the series out to be something it wasn’t but I hope they had a stern talking too. I thought I was going to get a western where men were the bystanders and women took the wheel and settled shit. I understand that’s not what the creator ever intended and I feel kind of bad for him since that’s what a lot of people expected, but I’m also pissed. I would have watched the stupid thing if it was just a normal western, why did they have to go and raise my hopes with that amazing trailer?

It took me a while to work my way to watching Godless, then it took me a while to make my way through the seven episodes, and I know I didn’t give it a fair chance, but I don’t care. I enjoy westerns and this was certainly one of them. It was beautifully shot and the female characters were pretty awesome and diverse, but they barely had any screen time and they were still taken advantage of and weak.

There was no need to make this a miniseries, it was needlessly long and filled with unnecessary flashbacks. It took whole episodes to cover what could have been covered with a few words. It was boring and filled with longing glances. Most of the best scenes were in the last episode and you could almost skip everything and just watch that if you wanted.

The women ended up doing all the heavy lifting but it only followed them when there was a chance at nudity or a lesbian relationship. Merritt Wever’s character was so perfect and I wish we’d had more of her. Instead we spent most of our time following four men live out a story that has already been told a million times.

I know I’m being harsh, maybe even too harsh, but I saw a glimpse of what could have been and I can’t forget it.

2/5

Longmire (2012-2017)

Longmire (2012-2017)

Season 6

Network:

Netflix

Starring:

Robert Taylor

Katee Sackhoff

Lou Diamond Phillips

Cassidy Freeman

Plot:

Walt Longmire is the dedicated and unflappable sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyoming. Widowed only a year, he is a man in psychic repair but buries his pain behind his brave face, unassuming grin and dry wit.

Review:

This is the last season of Longmire and it had a few things to wrap up.

I was disappointed with the previous season of Longmire because Walt, Robert Taylor, seemed to go off the deep end. He could not get past suspecting that casino dude of doing everything. This season finds him a bit more in control of his faculties, though just slightly.

The main story line was wrapped up by the end of the season and we got lots of character resolution. There were tons of beautiful shots of Wyoming and despite all the murders I would totally visit.

I enjoyed this season, there was enough small stories that it didn’t feel like just one giant buildup to an ending that couldn’t possibly deliver. The ending of the overarching story line was good, we saw all the characters develop, it was mostly an enjoyable season.

The part I didn’t like was

****SPOILERS***

the relationship development between Walt and Vic, Katee Sackoff. I wanted her to finally move past her thing for him. She mourned the loss of her child for most of the season and then gets together with a man that is past child raising years. I’ve never liked her character, she always seems to make bad personal decisions, but I really did not want her with Walt.

After getting with Vic, Walt then goes to see his daughter, Cassidy Freeman, and tells her that he thinks she’d make a great sheriff and he could retire if she took over. She’s spent the last few episodes telling her new man that she wants to go to NYC, that she wants to leave this small town, and now all of a sudden she’s running for sheriff. It greatly annoyed me.

If it wasn’t for the ending I would really have liked this season. As is, I’d still recommend watching the show because it’s honestly really good, especially if you like westerns.

3/5

The Magnificent Seven (2016)

the-magnificent-seven

The Magnificent Seven (2016)

Director:

Antoine Fuqua

Starring:

Denzel Washington

Chris Pratt

Ethan Hawke

Vincent D’Onofrio

Plot:

Seven gunmen in the old west gradually come together to help a poor village against savage thieves.

Review:

Oh my god what the hell was Vincent D’Onofrio doing with his voice? It was painful anytime he spoke.

I really wanted to watch this movie. Even after hearing that the movie got bad reviews, I held on hope because I really liked the trailer. I really need to stop doing that.

Chris Pratt nailed the look, but didn’t get the voice for me. Denzel Washington was fine and so was Ethan Hawke, but they didn’t make up for the films short comings.

The movie was too clean for a western, as in the appearance of the film, not the actual people and setting. It just seemed too digital, I guess.

The movie ended up being about how a group of seven relative strangers could work together seamlessly without any preparation, they just knew what the other would do as if my magic. They forged a psychic link that could be surpassed by nothing, well…

2.5/5