Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Best Picture: "Unforgiven," 1992

Movie Stats:
Released 1992 (USA)
American, in English
Director – Clint Eastwood
Stars – Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman, Jaimz Woolvett

Plot Summary:
Set in 1880s Wild West. The promise of a big payday lures retired gunslinger William Munny (Eastwood) away from his pig farm to make one last kill. Freeman co-stars as Munny’s best friend, and former partner, Ned Logan; Hackman as the vicious sheriff they run afoul of, Little Bill Daggett; and Woolvett as the young greenhorn who brings Munny out of retirement, “The Schofield Kid.”

Graphic violence. Lots of blue language. Non-graphic sex scene (no nudity).

Bad Stuff:
Slow and plodding.

At the beginning of the film, the language seemed oddly stiff. I found it distracting. I don’t know if it got better as the film went along or if I got used to it.

Good Stuff:
Hackman was delightfully, intensely terrifying. In theory, he’s the good guy and he was scarier than anybody else in the film. Loved Richard Harris’s somewhat brief turn as English Bob, especially his rant in regards to having a queen versus having a president. I’m also always happy to see Saul Rubinek on my screen, in this case as dime novelist W.W. Beauchamp.

Amazing cinematography.

The best part is the realism. A man isn’t going to come out of 11 years of retirement and immediately be a BAMF again. His aim is going to be off. His horse, no longer used to being saddled, isn’t going to be especially cooperative in that regard. Sleeping on the ground at any age is no fun, but in your 50s or 60s it’s really going to suck. Kudos to the film for showing these things but not making a big deal out of them. I enjoy subtlety.

The Verdict:
I think it’s time to finally admit to myself that I just don’t like Westerns very much. I understand that this is supposed to be one of the really good ones but I don’t get the love. I thought it was dull. There Gene Hackman is, kicking the crap out of somebody, and I’m eyeing my phone, considering playing a game or two because I’m really bored (after all, it’s the second time he’s kicked the crap out of somebody; I kind of got the point the first time).

I did enjoy a lot of the underlying themes of the film: confronting one’s past, discovering one’s true nature, dealing with regrets, etc. Those are all things that are very relatable. Just because it’s relatable, however, doesn’t mean that it was presented in a way that I was able to connect with. I don’t think it’s a terrible film. Like The Silence of the Lambs, this movie just wasn’t my thing. Since it was much duller than Lambs, it’s getting a lower rating.

I give the film 3.25 stars.


Patricia said...

I saw this in the Plaza Twin Theater (for a dollar) the same evening I got back from my high school graduation trip. My brother, one of his friends and I all went. I remember I found it boring and fell asleep, making this one of the few films I've fallen asleep during.

I'm trying to think of a western I've actually liked. Cat Ballou. That was fun. But that's more of a musical. Okay, I've just looked up a list of the Rotten Tomatoes Top 100 Western Movies. Cat Ballou is listed as #6! In the top 50, I've seen seven. But two of those are Oklahoma! and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, so not so Western-y. In conclusion, I think I'm not overly drawn to westerns either.

Here's the link:

balyien said...

I can honestly say I've never fallen asleep in a movie theater before, haha.

I've seen 12 of the top 50 on that list. The ones of those I actually liked are "True Grit (2010)," "The Magnificent Seven," "Blazing Saddles," "3:10 to Yuma (2007)," "Dances with Wolves," & "Shanghai Noon." The rest were boring.

However, I consider "Blazing Saddles" and "Shanghai Noon" comedies, not westerns, and I wouldn't call "Dances with Wolves" a western either.

Side note: "Dead Man" (no. 58) is a movie I loved so much at the time that I watched it twice in a row. I bet I would find it boring now.

Patricia said...

I saw Dead Man because you loved it so much. I found it boring, but I really wanted to like it because you did.

I rarely fall asleep in movies, but for some reason the 10pm show of "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" was much too late for me and I lost things here and there. Matt and I also attended a Serenity fan film (it came free before a screening of Serenity) and it was so bad I thought, "why exactly am I trying to stay awake?" and immediately put my head down and slept. But I think that might be it.

balyien said...

Aww, thanks for trying to like "Dead Man"! I haven't watched it in a long time, but in hindsight I can see that it was slow (and probably dull). At the time I loved artsy, fartsy movies. Now I have little patience for them.