Monday, June 30, 2008

Movie of the Weekend

Nothing beats a great western. There's no doubt in my mind that Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid is one of the finest westerns committed to film. Directed and edited by the brilliant Sam Peckinpah, it doesn't get any better than this, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly notwithstanding. Like Sergio Leone's classic, there is a great deal of pathos in the characters, more than you would automatically expect from a pop classic.

James Coburn and Kris Kristoffersen play the respective leads, and Bob Dylan shows up as a knife-wielding sidekick; you also have Slim Pickens in a memorable role along with many more familiar faces (like a young Harry Dean Stanton, fresh off Cool Hand Luke). One unforgettable sequence early on is Billy's escape from jail. After blasting his way out using a shotgun loaded with dimes (why not?), he proceeds to smash the gun and throw the pieces into the street. This is not the kind of action you usually expect from an Old West outlaw, and the film is full of little nuances like this. What's better, as the townspeople slowly gather around the corpse of Billy's jailer, he serenades them with a song; the fact that it is Kris Kristoffersen improvising on-camera makes this scene that much more mesmerizing.

Some weekend sit back with a few brewskies and sink into this classic film. You will not regret it!


Ken Armstrong said...

You are *so* right on this...

Elegiac is the word.

(I think)

wngl said...

Absolutely, Ken.

Have you read much Cormac McCarthy? I would use that word to describe his novels, and this film comes as close as anything I've seen to the same feeling I get reading his stories.

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Ken Armstrong said...

'The Road' is probably my best read of the year.

He got the idea for it while here in Ireland apparently...

... I can see that! :)

tashabud said...

I love "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly." My huby's the Western movie buff. He loves all of John Wayne's.