Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch: New Hilarious Red-Band Trailer For 'The Interview' Starring Seth Rogen And James Franco Watch: New Hilarious Red-Band Trailer For 'The Interview' Starring Seth Rogen And James Franco Fantastic Fest Review: Hitman Thriller 'John Wick' Starring Keanu Reeves, Willem Dafoe & Adrianne Palicki Fantastic Fest Review: Hitman Thriller 'John Wick' Starring Keanu Reeves, Willem Dafoe & Adrianne Palicki Watch: First Trailer For Tim Burton's 'Big  Eyes' Starring Amy Adams And Christoph Waltz Watch: First Trailer For Tim Burton's 'Big Eyes' Starring Amy Adams And Christoph Waltz 'Deadpool’ Spin-Off With Ryan Reynolds Is Finally Green Lit, Set For A Winter 2016 Release Date 'Deadpool’ Spin-Off With Ryan Reynolds Is Finally Green Lit, Set For A Winter 2016 Release Date First Look: Cobie Smulders & Guy Pearce In Andrew Bujalski's 'Results' First Look: Cobie Smulders & Guy Pearce In Andrew Bujalski's 'Results' 10 Films We Haven’t Yet Seen That May Be Serious Oscar Contenders 10 Films We Haven’t Yet Seen That May Be Serious Oscar Contenders Watch: Oscar Isaac And Jessica Chastain Are At War In First Trailer For 'A Most Violent Year' Watch: Oscar Isaac And Jessica Chastain Are At War In First Trailer For 'A Most Violent Year' Review: 'The Maze Runner' Starring Dylan O'Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Patricia Clarkson, Will Poulter And More Review: 'The Maze Runner' Starring Dylan O'Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Patricia Clarkson, Will Poulter And More Exclusive: Matthew McConaughey Won’t Be Back For ‘Magic Mike XXL,’ Director Says Sequel Will Be “Very Different” Exclusive: Matthew McConaughey Won’t Be Back For ‘Magic Mike XXL,’ Director Says Sequel Will Be “Very Different” David Fincher Says He Shouldn't Have Directed 'The Game,' Dislikes Superhero Movies & Talks "Crazy" '20,000 Leagues' David Fincher Says He Shouldn't Have Directed 'The Game,' Dislikes Superhero Movies & Talks "Crazy" '20,000 Leagues' Matt Damon & Paul Greengrass Are Returning To The 'Bourne' Series Matt Damon & Paul Greengrass Are Returning To The 'Bourne' Series First Look: Angelina Jolie And Brad Pitt In 'By The Sea' First Look: Angelina Jolie And Brad Pitt In 'By The Sea' The Best, Worst And Most Disappointing Films Of The 2014 Toronto International Film Festival The Best, Worst And Most Disappointing Films Of The 2014 Toronto International Film Festival Recap: 'Boardwalk Empire' Season 5, Episode 2 ‘The Good Listener’ Recap: 'Boardwalk Empire' Season 5, Episode 2 ‘The Good Listener’ The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

22 Classic Westerns We Love

The Playlist By The Playlist Staff | The Playlist December 22, 2010 at 6:01AM

There are two genres that every filmmaker wants to tackle: the musical and the western. Having flirted with the latter a number of times, the Coen Brothers, undoubtedly one of the foremost filmmaking teams of their generation, have finally delivered their first full-flung oater with "True Grit," a second adaptation of the Charles Portis novel made famous for winning John Wayne his only Oscar the first time around.
23

“My Darling Clementine” (1946)
Director John Ford’s take on one of the most notorious stories of the frontier era -- the gunfight at the OK Corral -- is notable today not just for being marvelous entertainment, but also for inspiring other directors. Most impressively, Sam Peckinpah, himself no slouch in the western department, cited it as his favorite film in the genre. And indeed, there are times here when what you’re watching is no less the establishment of genre archetypes -- low angles picking out the Earp brothers from far away through the deserted town, or the utterly iconic shot of Wyatt (Henry Fonda) alone and fearlessly centered mid-frame as he walks deliberately to the showdown. Taking immense liberties with the real story, Ford’s version still somehow feels definitive and the almost-a-buddy-movie arc of the central characters Earp and Doc Holliday (Victor Mature) has never felt fresher. ”Tombstone” it ain't. [A-]

"The Ballad of Cable Hogue" (1970)
Consider us a little more than shocked when it was discovered that Sam Peckinpah's personal favorite was not the unbelievably well-edited "The Wild Bunch" or the tense thriller "Straw Dogs," but the bouncy comedic tale of an abandoned middle-aged man who exploits his discovery of water in the desert. It makes sense considering its successful experimentation, including abrupt tone changes and an abandonment of traditional narrative. There's not much in terms of action, instead are plenty of amusing vignettes and fan-service courtesy of a perverted reverend, but not all of it works. It’s also his most romantic film and the titular character is played by the excellent Jason Robards, ever so lovable and able to ground things when the comedy gets a bit too silly. [B]

"Django" (1966)
Even though things are a bit dull until about halfway through (save for the always-amusing ear dismemberment and the subsequent ear snack), once "Django" hits its stride, it never lets up. Frank Nero (in a Man-With-No-Name attitude) saves a prostitute from being killed by not one gang of corrupt men, but two, and rides her into the adjoining ghost town where only a bar/brothel survives. It's soon discovered that he wasn't just out getting Vitamin D: the man who is responsible for the death of his wife, Major Jackson, operates in the area. Even though he walks a mysterious coffin like a pet dog, interest in the secret wears thin and the reveal, while totally badass, only leads to a disappointing 30-second action scene. Nero doesn't have the power or immediacy to carry the feature through its many extraneous expository dialogue scenes, but once the director throws him into large action set-pieces, such as the raid on a Mexican army fort, energy is high and Nero holds his own. Chances are you've seen the similar and superior "A Fistful of Dollars," but those who stick it out will eventually be pleased despite its inconsistency. Special recognition goes to the final scene, which is both excruciatingly tense and rewarding in its pay-off. [B-]

This article is related to: Films, Feature, True Grit


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates