Welcome to the West.


Recently I have been working on different stories and screenplays, as I do, and have weirdly found this new passion for Westerns. Yes, Westerns. More modern Westerns however, there's a few classics I know, but it's more the ones that have come out in the past sort of ten-ish years that have shown me that my mind is far more open to movies then I thought, which is saying something considering I've seen more than one Larry Clark movie.

So, since I have found some new movies that I have been trying to recommend to rolling eyes and John Wayne impressionists, I thought I'd put a few of them here, just for you guys. I have no current intention for Western puns in this piece as of yet, but at this point in the article, I can make no promises. (It would've been good comical tactic to put one there wouldn't it?).


First of all, is kind of an obvious one; I'm not sure how clear I have made it on Velvet but I ADORE Quentin Tarantino, like if that man made a movie that was just Tim Roth reading a shopping list and then he made a random cameo to say the meats; I'd probably give him an Oscar. Django: Unchained (2012) starring the brilliant duo of Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz, plus the bloody good show put on Leonardo Dicaprio. This revisionist Western is one of a kind. Portrayed through the mind and eyes of Quentin what this film is, is almost 2 and a half hours of important history, disturbing politics and violence and the dark comedy that ties it all together. This movie shows slave Django becoming a free man and working along side a quirky bounty hunter, played by Waltz. Like many Tarantino films it's unforgettable, indescribable fantatsic-ness and only multiple viewings can do it the justice it deserves when trying to explain how good this movie is. Let me put it this way, this was the first movie that made me break down into tears half way through purely because I got really excited; so I guess my crazy-crying-because-I-love-this-movie comes from here, who knew!

The Magnificent Seven (2016) is an adaptation, I would say, more than a reboot, of the old westerns of the same name starring one of the movie gods Steve McQueen. With McQueen in the cast party for the original, it's easy to say that leaves such big boots to fill. Did this movie do that? Sort of. Do I love this regardless? Very much so. I originally wanted to see this movie purely for Ethan Hawke, and with Guardians and Passengers all about, I definitely had a growing love for Chris Pratt. This is a really enjoyable movie, with great chemistry between all the lads, great comedy and all the traditional Western things that make a great cliche movie. Did I mention Denzel fronts it? It's an easy watch Western with really good acting and brilliant moments; definitely a movie worth considering for those times where you just want to watch something and you can't decide what.

Okay, so is it cheating with this one? It's hard for me to separate myself from Sci-Fi too long; Cowboys vs Aliens (2011)! Yes, it's a real film and it's even better than it sounds. With Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford in the leads, you immediately know that there's something about this script that is unique rather than ridiculous. This is a one of kind moviethat I still haven't seen anything else copy or top. A bucket list movie.

True Grit (2010) Jeff Bridges. Cohen Brothers. Nuff said. No really, this is a cult Western that exhibits the talent of both Bridges, the Cohen's, Matt Damon and introduced us to the talent of Hailee Steinfeld. Side note; this is an adaptation of a novel, so if you're looking for Western to read rather than watch - bam. Also, Josh Brolin.


Slow West (2015) is a little gem of a film, that I actually wasn't a massive fan of when I first watched it, but then it was one of those pieces that just stuck to my thoughts like hot glue. Visually, the cinematography blew me away; in fact a shot of Kodi Smit-McPhee towards the end of the movie is one of my favourite shots ever (always secondary to Rutger Hauer in the rain in Blade Runner). This film is about love and the journey to it traveled by Kodi and cowboy type played by Michael Fassbender. You also have Ben Mendelsohn playing the hate trying to catch up with them. An independent movie with both stereotypical and completely unpredictable moments, it's a diamond in the rough.

So aside from all the writing, there is one specific Western that has kicked this all off, inspired me and entertained me. A movie that has pulled the word 'Masterpiece' out of my mouth; The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007). It's safe to say that if Brad Pitt had not been in Fight Club this would be my favourite of his portrayals. Based off a novel about the same circumstances, Casey Affleck shows us that his talent is immeasurable and sadly overlooked. This tense, obsessive and deeply saddening Western is beautiful and with the score composed by Nick Cave, you are transported between the Western era and other worlds. Ridley Scott is also a producer, so I repeat - bam.



There are many I still want to see, including some of the greats such as Unforgiven and The Wild Bunch. I also think some of this new cowboy interest may have come from Westworld, but that conversation is for another time.

Then there's some classics I would recommend such as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Blazing Saddles (which is actually a Mel Brooks comedy) and just to round it up -Tarantino's The Hateful Eight.

Well I feel better getting these movies off my chest, do you feel educated? I must end on a sad note though; through writing this piece, I have not come up with a pun. I HAVE DISAPPOINTED YOU! Okay, maybe a bit dramatic, but hey, if you have one, I'd love to hear it....partner?

VF.

Images taken from:
https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/the-magnificent-seven-2016
http://www.unchainedmovie.com/
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2404435/mediaviewer/rm155127296
https://physicalimpossibility.com/2015/06/24/3x3-slow-west-2015/
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0443680/mediaviewer/rm1942260992








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