Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thursday Movie Picks - Westerns


Happy Thursday!

Well, I just can't say "Happy Thursday," today. It's a special Thursday, for us Americans, at least. Today is Turkey Day. Okay, it's not technically Turkey Day. It's the day we set aside to show how thankful we are. With that in mind, I wish you a...


And it's still Thursday. That means it's time for Thursday Movie Picks. This week the topic chosen by our host Wanderer at Wandering Through the Shelves is Westerns. I'm good with that. It's a pretty easy topic to work with, right? It would be, but remember, it's still Girl Week 2016 around these parts. So, yeah, we're going that route.


True Grit
(1969, 2010)
The original is known as one of John Wayne's best and the remake is known as a Coen Brothers film. Both films, however, owe much of their success to their young female leads. In the original, this was Kim Darby, and Hailee Steinfeld in the remake. Both were outstanding, with Steinfeld earning an Oscar nomination for her work. If you're unfamiliar, the story is about a young girl, Mattie Rose, who hires the ornery Rooster Cogburn to help find the man who killed her father. Both are excellent productions. You can't go wrong with either one.


Bad Girls
(1994)
When we meet Cody (Madeline Stowe), Anita (Mary Stuart Masterson), Eileen (Andie MacDowell), and Lilly (Drew Barrymore), they are all prostitutes working in the same brothel. One of Cody's customers gets more than a little out of hand and she winds up killing the man. Rather than try to explain it because, well, it's the old west, Cody and her besties go on the run. Admittedly, this one has a pretty bad reputation (9% on the tomato meter), but I don't think it's as terrible as that. I rather enjoyed it, personally.


The Quick and the Dead
(1995)
There's a big gunfighting contest in the town of (the rather obviously named) Redemption. One of the gunfighters in town to win the big prize is an unknown who goes by The Lady (Sharon Stone). Of course, she has ulterior motives for being there. What follows is a rip-roaring shoot-em-up filled with tons of one-on-one gunfights. Stone is terrific, as is her supporting cast. That cast features a pre-Russell Crowe, Titanic Leonardo DiCaprio, a wonderfully ridiculous Lance Henriksen, Pat Hingle, Keith David, and Gary Sinise. The standout of all of them, though, is Gene Hackman as our deliciously nasty villain.


28 comments:

  1. I like both versions of True Grit, but this is one of those odd cases where I genuinely prefer the remake over the original. The Quick and the Dead has some really fun moments and it's so clearly a Sam Raimi film that I wouldn't have been surprised if some Deadites showed up in the middle of it.

    You're surprisingly classy this week with the picks.

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    1. Every now and again, I like to class up the joint.

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  2. I've only seen the Coen Brothers' version of True Grit which is an amazing western as I still haven't seen the original. Bad Girls was OK while The Quick and the Dead is actually really good as it's one of the few films that Sharon Stone is in that I actually like. The Western is my favorite genre as it's something I love to watch every July as it's the most American genre ever. It's a shame there hasn't been a lot of great feminist westerns though I do have The Beguiled with Clint Eastwood which is about a Union soldier being held hostage by women in the South as it's being remade by Sofia Coppola. Another western I heard that is considered a great feminist western though I haven't seen it is The Hired Hand by Peter Fonda. I forget who else is in that. We need more feminist westerns.

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    1. We do need more feminist westerns, but there are more than you think. I came across this while doing a little research on the matter...

      http://www.indiewire.com/2016/01/13-essential-female-led-westerns-86126/

      I haven't seen many of these, so we've both got some work to do.

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  3. I've only seen the True Grit remake, which was okay. I'm not good with Westerns lol.

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    1. If True Grit was only okay to you, I don't know what to tell you. I'll just agree and say Westerns aren't your thing.

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  4. A theme within a theme! Love those!

    Both versions of True Grit are excellent in different ways. The Duke is so comfortable as Rooster Cogburn he carries the movie but I've never been a Kim Darby fan which is where the remake is stronger. Hailee Steinfeld is much more interesting in the role. Bridges is good as well but the role is so associated with Wayne his shadow remains on the part.

    Bad Girls is rather a mess but it's great to see a contemporary Western focused on women. From what I've read the behind the scenes action on this was volatile with the women not getting along well at all.

    The Quick and the Dead is a great pick! One of the few good films Sharon Stone made during her brief leading lady period. I remember going to see it and being so excited that Russell Crowe was in it, I had seen some of his early Aussie films and was already a fan which was very gratifying a few years on when he exploded into superstardom. He's very good in this but I agree that aside from Stone Gene Hackman's is the standout performance.

    I LOVE Westerns so I've been looking forward to this week. I rejiggered mine a bit so they more closely aligned with Girl Week. My first definitely fits and my second has an enormous, rather unexpected star in the leading female role but the next is more male centered however the woman is a catalyst for much of the story. My bonus is just one I love though it does have a VERY strong woman in one of the major roles.

    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.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

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    1. I've only seen Silverado, and I don't think I've seen it all the way through. Might have to revisit that one. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance has been on my watchlist for years. I promise I'll get to that one, soon. I've not even heard of that Raquel Welch flick, but it sounds like fun.

      Side Note: I have another post going up at 12 EST that I think you'll enjoy. And tomorrow's just might be your favorite of the week. It is mine, so far.

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    2. I think the Raquel film will be something you'll really like. It's got a hard 70's revisionist attitude. Heading over to check out the other post now!

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  5. Happy Thanksgiving to you! I haven't seen any of your picks but I love that you picked three female westerns. I'm not a big fan of the genre but I promised I'd watch more so I'm going to add these to my list right away.

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    1. Thanks! I'd love to hear what you think of these!

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  6. The one I haven't seen is Bad Girls and may see it one day. It sounds like they all want to be Calamity Jane. I picked True Grit-The original this week and find it better than the remake. I love Jeff Bridges but he tried to hard with his gravel voice and I even forgot Matt Damon was in it. Hailee was excellent though and better than Kim Darby. The Quick & the Dead is just so silly. Love Russell Crowe and my hubby has a major lust..er...crush on Sharon Stone but I found it silly especially when one can see right through the bullet hole in the man's body. If I were to pick 3 women in Westerns. I would pick The Plainsmen with Jean Arthur as Calamity Jane. I haven't seen it in years but it is enjoyable and she can play a good Calamity. Speaking of Calamity-Calamity Jane with Doris Day. She was so much fun in this role and it's a musical to boot. The other has to be Johnny Guitar. An over the top Joan Crawford with Mercedes McCambridge as warring females who actually gun it out at the end. the men don't really matter in this movie:)

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    1. Awww, moments like the perfect bullet hole make The Quick and the Dead so perfectly ridiculous it works. Sure, I roll my eyes and laugh, but in a good way, if that makes sense. I really need to see Calamity Jane.

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  7. Bad Girls...what? It only got a 9%...no way. I really enjoy it! As for True Grit...wow, what movies. The book is fantastic too! And you know what I feel about The Quick and the Dead already from my Girl Week bit ;-)
    Oh, and have you seen Jane Got a Gun? I know many didn't like it but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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    1. Glad to see some more love for Bad Girls! No, I have not seen Jane Got a Gun. Thanks for putting it on my radar.

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  8. I've only seen the remake of True Grit, I do agree that Hailee Steinfeld was superb.

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  9. I love the Quick and the Dead - Sharon stone is awesome in it. Bad girls sounds amusing. Need more bad ass women in the West. Ah yes True Grit - I went for the Coen Bro one couldn't resist

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    1. Yes, Bad Girls is amusing. That's an apt description. And we definitely need more badass women in the West.

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  10. I never knew Sharon Stone was in a western.

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  11. When I saw this theme coming up this month, I knew weeks ago that I wasn't going to have a good list up. I'm just not a western kinda gal. But I do want to see True Grit someday because I've only heard good things. But I mean.. it probably won't happen because I'm super bad with my "watchlist" movies. Like.. SUPER bad!

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    1. I'm always amazed how many people just don't like westerns. For the most part, the difference between them and regular action flicks is the setting. Anyhoo, sorry for getting on a soapbox. I do highly recommend True Grit.

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  12. The Quick and the Dead is really underrated and kinda fun. Such a great cast aswell.
    If I had to pick three two right off the top of my head would be The Hateful and and Once Upon a Time in the West, and if it qualifies as a western, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.

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    1. Three excellent choices. Once Upon a Time in the West is my absolute favorite western.

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  13. I've seen all, well except the 1969 True Grit. I can't remember much of TQaTD and Bad Girls either, but either but I didn't think it was that bad too...hmmm...maybe I was young?

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