Eps 28: new westerns today are so corny


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John Lowe

John Lowe

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Indeed, we here at Den of Geek thought it was a great time to put guns on the backs of our hands for a moment and look at TEN MODERN WESTERNS that proudly embrace Westerns without breaking the bank. With all that in mind, here are 10 of the greatest westerns from the past decade. This list attempts to provide a summary of great Western films; ones which are especially notable for setting certain standards, or that are among the genres most visually spectacular examples. The history of The Western is a complicated one, with many different threads and facets, and there are far more icons and films of interest than can possibly be mentioned in one essay.
The history of The Western is so widespread, some of the genres most notable films were actually made in Europe -- particularly Italy and Spain, with the Spaghetti Westerns, beginning in the 1960s. For nearly all of Hollywoods first 60 years, westerns, or films set in the Old West in the latter part of the 19th century, were the most popular genre of film in Hollywood. Westerns, in the form of Westerns, were a pariah of the film industry for quite some time.
If the past decade has seen the mixing of subversive and mainstream westerns, it is that genre is always changing. Yet, paradoxically, Westerns have not taken a back seat over the last decade.
It is not transcendental: it is now corny and old-hat, the way movie entertainment goes. Of course, Westerns do not have the obligation of staying faithful to the story -- far from it. The trouble is that, in a historical sense, more often than not, we are shown a very narrow view of what the West is.
Perhaps there is no way of doing contemporary Westerns, given the genres terribly ideological foundations, that are sufficiently revisionist in order to deal with all of the relevant concerns of depiction. Perhaps, in the future, the answer may not be to render Westerns as CG spectacles.
It is also the classic movie in this genre, and it closed Clint Eastwoods curtains. Perhaps the quintessential contemporary western, Clint Eastwoods Oscar-winning epic, Unforgiven, is a melancholy meditation on the West, exploring its myths and history through a bleak, brutal lens. It is Clint Eastwoods first American western since coming out of retirement in Italy, where he had appeared in the title role in Sergio Leones Dollars films. As much a bleary-eyed deconstruction of tropes that he had come to idolize as it was a love letter, Unforgiven marks The Man With No Names last ruminations on the western.
Insidiously feminist and relentlessly grittier, The Houseman is an avatar for modern Westerns. The snowy setting is gorgeously photographed, and Robert Altmans offbeat western is a critique of big business and capitalism.
The Hollywood ensemble film, which is heavily set in the gritty world, is deliberately closer to a Gothic horror movie than to a Western, born out of the director, Juliano Questi, not having any real affection for the genre. A surreal western, and an unofficial film by Django, although really, A Macho Hollywood Ensemble Film is related to the Corbucci films only by name.
This story mixes elements of both Westerns and sword-and-sandals movie genres. John Fords film is bleak and cynical, bringing together three American Western legends in John Wayne, Lee Marvin, and James Stewart.
The film is expansive, emotional, and features notable performances from its cast, including John Woo, Brad Ryder, John Cena, Kevin Costner, and is preserved in the United States National Film Registry as a quintessential contemporary American western. Notably noted for its expression of anti-violence, Unforgiven went on to become the third Western to win the Academy Award for Best Picture, and has since been inducted into the National Film Registry. Lone Star likewise won the Oscar for Best Picture, particularly noteworthy as the first Western to win this major honor since 1931s Cimmaron. In fact, the first feature-length motion picture ever made, The Great Train Robbery , was a Western.
Indeed, this propulsive, star-studded contemporary Western accomplishes a remarkable feat, managing to deliver coherent thrills, an intelligent narrative, and a clever reinvention of the eponymous 1957 movie . Carrying a wonderful, nuanced performance from Bruce Greenwood) and Michelle Williams, a muse for Reichardt, this modern Western reeks of life unlike any other. In what was probably Lone Ranger is greatest impact, this 15-year-old western/swashbuckler is still an absolute blast to watch. So far, the reaction to its films seems to suggest people are ready to give it its shot - and at least give the genre another shot.
I tried watching a few John Wayne movies, but I found I did not like the old, campy Western styles very much. Personally, I love Westerns, and I love the retaliation storylines, and I love Idris Elba, Jonathan Majors, and LaKeith Stanfield - they are all movie loves of mine.
Films such as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Wild Bunch, both released in 1969, and spaghetti westerns such as A Fistful of Dollars subverted idealistic notions of the West with their nihilistic antiheroes. The few dozen spaghetti westerns themselves were low-budget, B-grade pictures produced during the 1960s and 1970s, usually directed by Italians and shot on location in southern Spanish deserts with international casts.
There is a list of 10 contemporary westerns that mostly found an audience and acclaim, and did so without having to hoist up a town-square First National Bank or a Bisbee stagecoach to do so. The early Western mythologists, tall-tale tellers, and downright frauds were the Westerners themselves, many of them determined to get good stories out of their adventures--and perhaps even good lives, Westerners themselves. For the most part, Westerns are as much about men as they are written about.