Tuesday, February 12, 2013

"The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford"

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Or as I call it: "That terrible Western with Brad Pitt." The title itself is the first of many things wrong with this movie; it's too freakin' long. I’m amazed that they were able to cram it all onto the DVD case. It also takes away any real reason to watch the movie by telling you from the start: “Jesse James dies. Robert Ford killed him.” I know that people do know how certain movies like this will end (Titanic and Zero Dark Thirty come to mind), but this story isn't nearly as well-known.

The movie’s running time is about 3 hours. That wouldn’t have been so bad if the director had made any effort to make the movie somewhat entertaining. The characters are forgettable and the story goes in too many different directions.

The movie took itself far too seriously; others have dealt with Wild West-era outlaws in a far better fashion. Young Guns and its sequel Young Guns II are perfect examples. Screenwriter John Fusco did a terrific job of making Billy the Kid and his gang of Regulators into people that we as the audience could root for. It had action and humor, but had its serious moments and was honestly somewhat historically accurate. Judging by the finished product and the DVD commentary, the cast had a lot of fun making the movie. By comparison, every actor in Jesse James looked bored to death the entire time.

The movie’s worst offender as far as wooden performances goes was Brad Pitt. He sucked even more than he did in Interview With the Vampire; at least that time, he had Tom Cruise to back him by sucking even worse. Speaking of Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt, is it somewhere in their contracts that every other movie they star in must have homoerotic overtones? Top Gun and Interview With the Vampire, I’m looking at you.

The homosexual subtext in Jesse James feels terribly awkward and out of place. It is often hard to tell whether Robert Ford is obsessed with Jesse Jame’s legend (much like Tommy O’Folliard and Billy the Kid’s relationship in Young Guns II) or if he’s actually obsessed and in love with Jesse James himself.

There was a particular scene that really bothered me in this regard. Robert was staying with the James clan and wandered into Jesse’s bedroom. In a voiceover, he describes how he admired the suits in Jesse’s closet and drank from the water glass Jesse had left on the vanity. Get ready for this; Robert also “smelled the aroma of talc and lilac on Jesse’s pillowcases.” We’re treated to the visual of Robert rolling on the bed, rubbing his cheek again the bedding.

Casey Affleck plays Robert Ford as a very whiny, annoying, and creepy character. If the real Robert acted that way, he’s extremely lucky that Jesse didn’t put a bullet in his head within a few days of knowing him. According to imdb.com, Casey Affleck’s portrayal of Robert Ford earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Further proof that all Oscar judges care about these days is how artsy and pretentious a film is rather than if the actors actually do a good job in their roles.

I cannot emphasize enough that if you watch this movie, you are merely an observer. Nothing draws you in or makes you care about any of the characters. The movie feels like a dry, heartless documentary produced for PBS. In fact, they should have sent the movie straight to public television rather than ripping off those who went to see in theaters and/or rented the DVD.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Name That Quote #2 Answers

  1. "I think you're so blinded by inconsolable rage that you don't care who you hurt. When you can't tell your friends from your enemies, it's time to go."-Casino Royale
  2. "Oh, this is Hill Valley, although I can't imagine hell being much worse."-Back to the Future: Part II
  3. "As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster."-Goodfellas
  4. "No one will go near it. People think it's 'aunted. And who's to say they're wrong? You see, years ago, somethin 'appened up there. Somefin not very nice."-Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
  5. "I gotta be crazy! I'm on a pilgrimage to see a moose! Praise Marty Moose!"-National Lampoon's Vacation
  6. "I don't bend over. It's too hard to stand straight again."-Mobsters
  7. "Does Aunt Ginny have barn? Maybe we could have the trial there. I can sew the costumes and maybe his Uncle Goober can be the judge."-A Few Good Men
  8. "You could kick the shit outta me in a fair fight; I know that. You're a little faster 'n me, strong enough. But I'm always gonna win. See, you fight schoolyard rules. Every time I lay down, you're done. Me, I fight 'til I'm dead...or the other guy is."-Lone Hero
  9. "What is my goal? To make you a happy, well-adjusted gangster?"-Analyze This
  10. "Me? I'm scared of everything. I'm scared of what I saw, of what I did, of who I am. And most of all, I'm afraid of walking out of this room and never feeling for the rest of my whole life the way I feel when I'm with you."-Dirty Dancing
  11. "Comin' up is Diehard Night. Free admission to anyone who was actually alive the last time the Indians won a pennant."-Major League
  12. "I got a judge just achin' to throw me in jail, slaughtered pigs, giant loud whistles. I ain't slept in 5 days. I got no money, a dress code problem. And a little murder case, which in the balance holds the lives of 2 innocent kids."-My Cousin Vinny
  13. "Are you a Mexi-can or a Mexi-can't?"-Once Upon a Time In Mexico
  14. "Oh, I have my dark days. I suppose that everybody does. The difference is that most people don't kill their husbands with an ax."-Shutter Island
  15. "When I stepped out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house, I had only 2 things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home."-The Outsiders
  16. "There are several sacred things in this world that you don't ever mess with. One of them happens to be another man's fries. You remember that and you'll live a long and healthy life."-Men at Work
  17. "You m-m-m-make me happy."-Tropic Thunder
  18. "I'm not complaining. How am I complaining? When do I ever complain about you practicing the violin at 3 in the morning, or your mess, your general lack of hygiene, or the fact that you steal my clothes?"-Sherlock Holmes
  19. "I'll make you famous!"-Young Guns II
  20. "No, I'm not okay. I've just been violated by a barnyard animal."-Shanghai Noon