Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Thursday Movie Picks: Westerns

Westerns is such a broad genre that it even has its own section in HMV. I’m going to go for the traditional kind. 

Don't forget to check out where it all started and who this is hosted by - Wandering Through the Shelves.
True Grit
 Wanted to fit a Coen Brothers film in here and True Grit just fit right. I actually saw this film 3 times at the cinema as my friends all saw it separately and I was too excited so went along each time.  Mattie Ross hires lawman Rooster Cogburn to help her track down the man that murdered her father. It’s a simple story of revenge and an unlikely friendship or sorts. Everything about this film is just superb and having Jeff Bridges take the lead just makes the film stand out on high. Finding unknown Hailee Steinfeld was also an excellent idea, she is a picture of determination and the two are well matched.

Slow West
 A horribly tragic story about young English nobleman who travels to the west to find his love, Rose. She and her father were accused of murder and ran away from Scotland. Young Jay Cavendish teams up with Irish bounty hunter Silas to find the fugitives. But with Silas keeping his true motives secret and with a gang of hunters on their trail, it’s only a matter of time before a deadly standoff. I say it sad because Cavendish is in love with Rose but she isn’t with him and its painfully obvious in the flashbacks and when they are finally reunited. Kodi Smit-McPhee and Michael Fassbender do make an excellent team though.
High Plains Drifter
When I was younger, I was ill quite frequently. It actually really sucked. I missed out on some field trips, fun music lessons and events. I even missed out performing at the Christmas musical one year. But during the times I was ill, I watched movies. If my mum had to go to work or go shopping, I’d stay at home and raid the video cupboards. Mostly taped from the TV, we had Disney and a few random ones too, one being High Plains Drifter. It was certificate 18 so to a 10/11 year old this was enticing. A supernatural western starring Clint Eastwood in a story inspired by his previous roles in Sergio Leone and Don Siegel’s films, where he plays a mysterious stranger who arrives in a corrupt town who had their sheriff killed. He is violent, mean and uncaring and orders the town people to paint the place red as the criminals their hired come back. It’s actually a pretty good movie, but to be honest, 15 certificate would have been fine.


  1. I wasn't a huge fan of True Grit but Hailee Steinfeld was amazing in it. I hope she sticks to acting and less the pop star route she's on now.

  2. Good choices. I like both versions of True Grit and I like Hailee Steinfeld in this much more than Kim Darby in the original. High Plains Drifter is a nice unexpected choice. One of the better Eastwood westerns. I haven't seen Slow West, it's in my queue so hopefully soon.

    I love Westerns and had a little trouble narrowing down so I ended up with two that are more female focused and two make centered.

    Hannie Caulder (1971)-After she’s been raped, her home burned and her husband murdered before her eyes by three brothers Hannie Caulder (Raquel Welch) is hell bent on revenge. She tracks down bounty hunter Thomas Price (Robert Culp) and pressures him into training her to be a deadly shot then starts her hunt for justice. Tough, violent western with Welch hard as nails in the lead.

    River of No Return (1954)-Vigorous tale set in the 19th century Pacific Northwest of widowed farmer Matt Calder (Robert Mitchum), recently released from jail for an honor killing, his young son Mark, the beautiful showgirl Kay (Marilyn Monroe) and her ruthless gambler fiancé Harry Weston (Rory Calhoun) who cross their path and a perilous raft journey down The River of No Return in a quest for gold and redemption. Big stars, standard story and beautiful location filming in the Canadian Rockies make this worth seeing. Marilyn sings several good era appropriate songs well including the title song though Mitchum sings it over the credits.
    Side note: Mitchum & Monroe (when she was still Norma Jean Dougherty) knew each other well pre-fame, he worked with her first husband, which adds a bit of background dimension to their interaction in this film.

    The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)-When Senator Ransom Stoddard (Jimmy Stewart) arrives in the small western town of Shinbone for old friend Tom Doniphon’s (John Wayne) funeral a curious reporter pursues him and tries to find out why he would travel so far for a man no one knows anything about. Stoddard shares a story of arriving in Shinbone a greenhorn young lawyer years before and how he rose to his current position by being the infamous Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (Lee Marvin), a notoriously evil outlaw, and what part Doniphon played. A study of myth building and busting is director John Ford’s last great film.

    Bonus: Silverado (1985)-Reformed thief Paden (Kevin Kline), left for dead in the desert is rescued by Emmett (Scott Glenn) who’s passing by on his way to meet his rakish quick draw brother Jake (Kevin Costner) so they can visit their sister in Silverado before heading out to California. Along the way they befriend Mal (Danny Glover) who’s heading the same way. Once there Paden finds the town is run by his old gang led by Cobb (Brian Dennehy) now the sheriff as well as the owner of the saloon operated by the wise Stella (Linda Hunt). There’s a range war brewing and the boys are pulled in leading to a showdown. Solid western directed well by Lawrence Kasdan.

  3. I seen both Slow West and True Grit, the title Slow is appropriate for Slow West, but I did like the film overall.

  4. I also picked Slow West, I absolutely loved it! I'll check out High Plains Drifter, it seems interesting.

  5. I prefer the original True Grit even though I think HaileeSteinfeld is better than Kim Darby. I think Jeff Bridges overdid his gravel voice and I love Jeff Bridges. I still have to see Slow West which I will. Love High Plains Drifter because the story is so unique and I love the little person who, I believe was also in The Wizard of Oz

  6. We have a match in True Grit. Excellent movie. Still need to see the other two.

  7. I really enjoyed Slow West.

    Hey you still have HMV over there. It's all closed here. Quite sad really, we no longer have a proper record/video store.