"We're still at war, Plissken. We need him alive."

"I don't give a fuck about your war... or your president."

Posts Tagged ‘Warren Oates’

The Wild Bunch

Friday, March 6th, 2020

1969. Woodstock and the moon landing and the Manson murders and all that. A different time.

Not just because of bed-ins and bellbottoms, though. Another thing that was different was that people watched westerns. Tons of them! BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID topped the box office, TRUE GRIT won a best actor Oscar for John Wayne, plus there was MORE DEAD THAN ALIVE, CHARRO!, 100 RIFLES, SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL SHERIFF!, SAM WHISKEY, MACKENNA’S GOLD, GUNS OF THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, PAINT YOUR WAGON, THE UNDEFEATED, TELL THEM WILLIE BOY IS HERE, A TIME FOR DYING. By comparison, I only count nine super hero movies last year, and to get there I had to include GLASS, HELLBOY, BRIGHTBURN and JOKER.

It couldn’t go on forever. John Ford, Anthony Mann, Raoul Walsh and Delmer Daves were done making westerns. Howard Hawks only had one more in him. Several years earlier, Sergio Leone had rebuilt the genre in a completely different style, launching an entire national industry in Italy. Then in ’67 BONNIE AND CLYDE pushed the limits of onscreen violence, and in July of ’69, the countercultural, modern western EASY RIDER revved the engine on what would be come “New Hollywood” in the ’70s.

And Sam Peckinpah was hungry. He’d gotten into trouble with MAJOR DUNDEE in ’65, going over budget, fighting with the producer, getting it taken away from him and re-edited. His reputation took a hit, and he got fired from THE CINCINNATI KID a couple days into filming. Luckily NOON WINE, his 1966 hour-long for ABC Stage 67, was well received, giving him the opportunity for a comeback. So what the hell, he went and made an all-timer of a western, but a little different from his previous ones. This was a western made for a time when people were disillusioned about the war in Vietnam and the violent images it brought into their homes. (read the rest of this shit…)

Return of the Magnificent Seven

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

tn_returnofthesevenaka RETURN OF THE SEVEN

Six years after THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN they got tired of waiting for a SEVEN SAMURAI 2 to remake and just went ahead and made up a new story called RETURN OF THE SEVEN (now available on video with magnificence added to the title). John Sturges was not involved. The director, Burt Kennedy, was a fencing double who became a writer with SEVEN MEN FROM NOW and then director with THE CANADIANS. He directed numerous westerns (SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL SHERIFF!, HANNIE CAULDER) but also the first version of THE KILLER INSIDE ME and the only version of SUBURBAN COMMANDO.

But the name on the credits that gave me hope was the writer, future under-recognized genius of horror, blaxploitation and suspense Larry Cohen. In fact, this was his big screen debut after some years in television, during which he created and wrote the western series Branded.

The opening, introducing the plight of another (or maybe the same?) Mexican village at the hands of another group of Mexican bandits (all of the men are run off into the desert at gunpoint) is dishearteningly dull. But this is our connection to the first film – Chico (Horst Buchholz), the young fighter who stayed to live in the village because he fell in love with Petra (Rosenda Monteros), is one of the men captured, so Petra knows to go try to find the great Chris Adams to help. (read the rest of this shit…)

1941

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

spielbergtn_1941This movie has a reputation as kind of a mess. Admittedly it is a 2 1/2 hour broad comedy about paranoia right after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. In my opinion a 2 1/2 hour broad comedy about paranoia right after the bombing of Pearl Harbor was not necessarily one of the top two or three things the world hoped for as Steven Spielberg’s followup to CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND. But fuck ’em. It’s what they got and they oughta fuckin appreciate it. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Split

Monday, April 20th, 2009

tn_thesplitThere are two Richard Stark based movies left that have never been released for the home video in the U.S. One is MISE A SAC, a French one based on The Score, where Parker and a crew try to rob an entire mining town. The other is THE SPLIT, based on The Seventh, where Jim Brown as the Parker character robs a football stadium and then has some trouble afterwords. My man David M. in France has seen both – he saw a restored print of MISE A SAC and told me it was great. As for THE SPLIT he did me one better than telling me about it, he sent me a recording from when it played letterboxed on the French Turner Classic Movies channel. (I don’t know who the French Ted Turner is, but it sounds like he plays better shit than the American one.)

If you’re reading this in the future maybe every movie ever made is available for instant download, but in my day you had to be patient. You don’t know how long I’ve been waiting to see this thing. The closest I came before now was an old movie magazine I bought at an antique mall because it had Barbarella on the cover (wait a minute, is Roger Vadim the French Ted Turner?) So I bought it for the Barbarella, because a man has needs, but it turned out there was also an “article” – really just a plot summary – about THE SPLIT. I’d been meaning to read it and write a book-to-movie-summary comparison until they get off their ass and release it. But now thanks to French Ted Turner I don’t have to stoop to that. (read the rest of this shit…)

92 in the Shade

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

This guy Don’s been bugging me to review 92 IN THE SHADE since he nominated it for the BADASS 100 update and nobody else had seen it. And it clearly sounded worth seeing but I think the title had bad associations for me because it reminded me of a porno this dude I used to work with liked to watch. That one was called 92 AND STILL BANGIN’. Don’s movie is alot better, in my personal opinion. Your mileage may vary.

The title probaly could describe the heat in Key West where it takes place, but the movie never really shows or mentions it being that hot. So it could also describe the tensions between the young man (Pete Fonda) back in town resuming his job as a fishing guide and his main rival (Warren God Damn Oates). That’s a hell of a ’70s cast already, and then you also got Harry Dean Stanton as another rival, Margot Kidder as Fonda’s girlfriend, William Hickey as his dad, Burgess Meredith as some other dude, even Joe “MANIAC” Spinell as a client. (read the rest of this shit…)

Cockfighter

Thursday, July 6th, 2006

Well when you want a good sports movie you go to Monte Hellman, the fellow who also did the great racing movie Two Lane Black Top and Silent Night, Deadly Night 3. Now I know some of you from the title, you’re gonna say, “Oh, Vern’s reviewing a gay porno” but no, it’s about chickens.

I don’t know if you are familiar with cockfighting, cock is a term for rooster and what they do, they put two roosters in a circle and have them fight each other. Sometimes they put little metal hooks on their legs to make them more deadly. You know, it is basically like the dog fights we have up here but this is what they do in the south, because chickens are more readily available I guess. (read the rest of this shit…)

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia

Sunday, July 18th, 2004

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia. Can you believe that? Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia. Has there ever been a better title for a film of Badass Cinema, because I don’t think there has. Leave it to Sam Peckinpah, that lovable old drunk who spent his whole career fighting with studios and filming innocent kids standing by the side of the road watching as horrible atrocities took place in slow motion to come up with a title like that. I don’t think that one will ever be topped.

I really like Peckinpah, especially one that I guess is not generally considered one of his best, The Getaway. I like that this is a guy who makes violent westerns and crime movies but instead of trying to dazzle the audience with explosions and car chases, he seems to pour his filthy old grizzled alcoholic soul into it. All of his frustrations, problems and paranoid delusions seem to end up in there somewhere. He knows that a good personal film is not necessarily about some dude reading poetry and being misunderstood by the ladies. (read the rest of this shit…)