ANGEL AND THE BADMAN

Poffy The Cucumber

Virgin and the Whipped Man. ANGEL AND THE BADMAN is a John Wayne western made for another era. The world’s cultural shifts since 1947 render this movie not only dated but naïve past the point of Puritan. Its message of violence begetting violence is, of course, eternal, though its solution of peace begetting peace is undermined by the plot itself … Read More

THE BEAST OF HOLLOW MOUNTAIN

Poffy The Cucumber

Rex Mex. Cowboys and dinosaurs! In a small Mexican town, a square-jawed American cattle rancher with a suitably steel-chested name (Guy Madison as Jimmy) puts the moves on Sarita (Patricia Medina), the whitest Mexican girl in town, who happens to be betrothed to powerful Mexican cattle owner Enrique (Eduardo Noriega – not the modern Spanish dreamboat, the old Mexican actor). … Read More

THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN 2016

Poffy The Cucumber

The Magnificent Minorities. Denzel Washington leads his black, brown, red and yellow gunslingers in cleaning up the Old West. Kinda like how black, brown, red and yellow people are still cleaning up the Modern Alt-West. In THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, director Antoine Fuqua, praying at the altar of Kurosawa, Leone and Eastwood, crafts a majestic modern take on this paean to … Read More

THE LONE RANGER 2013

Poffy The Cucumber

 A stranger Ranger. The Lone Ranger (in radio, television and film) has made Gioachino Rossini’s galloping theme so famous that the term “intellectual” has been defined as “a man who can listen to the William Tell Overture without thinking of the Lone Ranger.” — Wikipedia. No one’s a stranger to the Ranger. Popular in entertainment media since the 1930s, if … Read More

THE HATEFUL EIGHT

Poffy The Cucumber

Eight is Enough to fill our hearts with dingus. THE THING meets CAPTAIN RON. And all Snake Plissken breaks loose. Wyoming. Post-Civil War. At a snowbound outpost, eight strangers must survive the stormy night. And each other. Writer-director Quentin Tarantino‘s THE HATEFUL EIGHT is a slow burn; a firecracker waiting to be ignited in a nunnery. Unlike many of his … Read More

DJANGO UNCHAINED

Poffy The Cucumber

Once Upon a Black Time in the White West. Whiteys: 0. Niggers: 1 Quentin Tarantino, as he did with INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS (2009), once again punches history in the face and rewrites the underdog as the alpha dog in DJANGO UNCHAINED. And says nigger a lot. DJANGO UNCHAINED throws that word at us in such forceful abandon that it becomes hilarious … Read More

COWBOYS AND ALIENS

Poffy The Cucumber

A shallow ripple in the Force. Is COWBOYS AND ALIENS a boring western movie, or a clichéd alien invasion movie? At some point, I wondered whether it was just a tax write-off for Stephen Spielberg, who seems to have phoned in his producer’s credit on this one. At least he hired Han Solo. A cowboy (Daniel Craig) wakes in the … Read More

FIREFLY

Poffy The Cucumber

Gorram good – once you get past the rutting cheapness. Am I that shallow? Do I only dig Nathan Fillion because he looks exactly like the great and powerful Gale Harold from QUEER AS FOLK? Yes, I am that shallow. Fillion is Captain Malcolm Reynolds, helming a “Firefly class” spaceship named Serenity, five hundred years in the future. And it … Read More

HIGH NOON

Poffy The Cucumber

Man-Tales of the Old West. HIGH NOON is about being a Man. Surrounded by wussies and pussies. Gary Cooper is Marshall Will Kane, well-loved lawman of a small Western town, marrying his petite blond Quaker bride (Grace Kelly). At his new wife’s behest, he is leaving his tin star behind for a life of rousing inventorying in a General Store. … Read More

THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY

Poffy The Cucumber

The Ten-Minute Milestone. Back when overacting was the ONLY acting, before D.W. Griffiths, before KING KONG, almost before electricity (literally – this film was so far back in the mists of time that Thomas Edison was an indirect executive producer – yes, THAT Edison, the one who collects the money on your electric bills), THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY (1903) stands … Read More

TRUE GRIT

Poffy The Cucumber

Flight of The Rooster. No one should go to the movies unless they believe in heroes. — John Wayne. Ironic that John Wayne should talk of heroes when his most iconic role, that of Rooster Cogburn in TRUE GRIT, is anti-hero, taking The Duke beyond his safety zone of pure-hearted, white-hatted, virginal good guy-ism and into the dark realm of … Read More

TRUE GRIT 2010

Poffy The Cucumber

From Duke to Dude. They went and done it! Remade TRUE GRIT (1969). I can understand how John Wayne purists would blanch at any actor attempting his legendary dirt-talkin’, eye-patched, whiskey-guzzlin’, six-shootin’ role as Marshal Reuben J. “Rooster” Cogburn. It’s like remaking DIRTY HARRY without Clint Eastwood. But they went and done it anyways! And like one of those rare … Read More

RED SUN

Poffy The Cucumber

Stick ’em up – or just stick ’em! The Old West meets the Rigid East on a collision course with wackiness! Is it a Samurai Western or a Western Samurai movie? RED SUN: a unique action-adventure that is all six-shooters and sushi. Across the American western landscape, outlaw gunslinger Link (man’s man Charles Bronson) and samurai Kuroda (Japan’s Man, the … Read More

JOE KIDD

Poffy The Cucumber

Totally Kidd-ing. There are a lot of interesting things about JOE KIDD, the least being the movie itself. This is Clint Eastwood at the peak of his early stardom: ruggedly handsome, aquiline nose, velvet rasp, thick shock of dirty blonde receding hair, three-day growth to emulate Leone’s Italian spaghettis that made him famous, wisecracking and head-cracking all over the New … Read More

THE OX-BOW INCIDENT

Poffy The Cucumber

Vengeance is Swine. Play with fire, you burn your fingers and / Lose a hold of the flame, oh It’s over, it’s done / The end is begun If you listen to fools… The Mob Rules! — Black Sabbath, “Mob Rules.” It’s Twelve Angry Cowboys! Long before Henry Fonda was sequestered in a jury room trying to convince a buncha … Read More

3:10 TO YUMA 2007

Poffy The Cucumber

Black hat, White hat, Gray souls… Every way of man is right in his own eyes. – Wade quoting the Book of Proverbs, 3:10 TO YUMA. Every modern Western released after Eastwood’s mighty 1992 elegy has laid hollow claim to “The best western since UNFORGIVEN.” 3:10 TO YUMA is. That’s because – like UNFORGIVEN – YUMA is not a “Western,” … Read More

THE PROPOSITION

Poffy The Cucumber

Brutal, Bloody, Beautiful. In 1800’s Australia, somewhere in the rugged skeleton colonies of New South Wales, police trooper Captain Stanley (Ray Winstone) puts this proposition to Charlie Burns (Guy Pearce, greasier and grimier than he was in THE HARD WORD, 2002 – if that’s even possible): Kill your older brother to save your younger from the noose. THE PROPOSITION is … Read More

THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD

Poffy The Cucumber

The Shooting of an Olde Worlde Epic by a New World Filmmaker. This classical western draws us into 1800s Americana so richly that we feel our teeth rotting from lack of dentistry not invented yet. Written and directed by Andrew Dominik (from a book by Ron Hansen), THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD is a study … Read More

THERE WILL BE BLOOD

Poffy The Cucumber

Bloody Awesome. I look at people and I see nothing worth liking. – Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis), THERE WILL BE BLOOD. In the words of Jack’s Joker, “I like him already.” Yet I fear him like I’ve feared no other man. Speaking of Jokers, Daniel Day-Lewis is probably the only person on Earth who could replace Heath Ledger in a … Read More

TOMBSTONE

Poffy The Cucumber

When The West Was Huckleberry. The PULP FICTION of westerns, with its vivid dialogue and firestorm set pieces, TOMBSTONE roars like a stallion on steel hooves, in a hail of Peacemaker gunfire and very real handlebar moustachios. TOMBSTONE is another retelling of the infamous Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, but presented in such an epic, revisionist manner that the ill-fated … Read More