by Dave B.
The Magnificent Seven (2016, currently on Hulu) is one of many, many movies heavily inspired by the Japanese classic film, “Seven Samurai” (including the original “The Magnificent Seven” of which this movie is a more direct remake). That means, it follows basically the same plot: a town is in need of help and recruits seven rogues, led by a relatively isolated hero, to train the townsfolk how to defend themselves against an overwhelming force and impossible odds. The Magnificent Seven takes place in 1879 in the western town of Rose Creek instead of in a feudal Japanese village, and the villain is a rich miner instead of a gang of bandits, but the general outlines of the stories are pretty much the same.
By Dave B.
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (Netflix) is a Western anthology written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. The stories range from following the nicest outlaw ever, through the tale of a gold miner who finds a big score, to love and loss on the Oregon Trail. The various tales are not connected through characters or plot, however they possess a thematic consistency regarding their outlook on the human condition that is both bleak and moving.
By Dave B.
Hostiles (2018, currently on Netflix) takes place in 1892 and tells the story of Captain Joseph Blocker’s (Christian Bale) last mission. He’s tasked with delivering an old foe, Chief Yellow Hawk (Wes Studi) and his family to yellow Hawk’s ancestral homeland in Montana. The trip is plagued by misfortune from the outset, with Blocker unable to overcome his dislike and distrust for his former adversary.
By Dave B
Godless (Netflix) attempts a rejuvenation of the Western genre and it largely succeeds. It tells the tale of a town that is predominantly populated by women after over 90% of the men were killed in a mining accident a couple years prior to the events in this story. For the long-term, I believe that Netflix has shown that the miniseries is the ideal format for Westerns. Through a combination of good story-telling and amazing character development, Godless rarely disappoints and oftentimes wows. However, it commits the ultimate Hollywood sin; the thing that pisses me off more than anything else that happens in Hollywood movies, and that really cast a pall over the entire series for me.
I have no clue what I'm doing, but I'll keep doing whatever it is to the best of my ability.