Tag Archives: Sergio Leone

Best of the Genre: Biggest Badasses – Westerns (Part 2)

On Monday we counted down numbers 10-6, and now we’re rounding out the final five. Now we’re getting into some more familiar faces, but a few may surprise you.

#5.) The Stranger (High Plains Drifter)

WesternsOnly Clint Eastwood could make getting bathed by a midget look totally badass.

Clint has played a lot of men with no names, but two in particular really stand out (The other one we’ll get to later). The Stranger is the quintessential *mysterious* man with no name, because he literally appears out of nowhere from the heat wave off in the distance. Sure, it could just be an optical illusion, but he does look mighty familiar. The people in the town of Lago can’t seem to put their finger on why he’s so recognizable, but deep down, they know exactly why… The plot of the movie aside, lets talk badassery. One of the first things dude does is walk into town, get a shave and a bath, and avoids getting shot at point-blank, by simply sinking into his bath water. His presence is seemingly supernaturally shielded from the gunfire by being obscured alone.  Once the local folks find out some bandits with a vendetta against the town are coming, they ask him to help them. So what does the Stranger do? Well first, he fires the Sheriff, and makes the town midget Sheriff in his place. If you ask me, anybody who gives midgets free license to be lawmaker of a town, is sure as hell a badass guy. Because as we all know, midgets are awesome, as well as hilarious! So he and the midget Sheriff team up, drink lots of booze and hallucinate about being whipped to death in front of the entire town. Well, something like that anyway. Don’t wanna spoil it for you too much. Stranger starts requesting weirder and weirder things, eventually asking the townspeople to acquire 200 gallons of red paint. He then paints the entire town red, (literally), and renames the town “Hell”. When the bandits arrive, he attacks them with help from the towns people, and the fallout from the whole thing begins to spell things out about who this mysterious stranger is. Throughout the whole movie, you’re wondering what his motive exactly is, and after he’s played the entire town against each other, burned it to the ground, gotten laid a few times and whipped a few dudes to death, he disappears back into the heat wave, same way as he came. Bad. Ass.

Continue reading Best of the Genre: Biggest Badasses – Westerns (Part 2)

Best of the Genre: Biggest Badasses – Westerns (Part 1)

I love westerns. Love them. But unfortunately, I honestly don’t see any new westerns coming out that’ll totally upend and reinvent the genre, thus establishing a new character that could trump any of the following ten. That’s not to say that the western genre is stagnant, or recycling material, but it’s a genre that has clearly peaked, and is in its twilight years, where most modern movies are looking back at its respective genre, rather than looking forward. New great westerns are still being made, they’re just not nearly as popular as they once were, and as such, innovation is mostly being left by the wayside. I suppose you could count Django Unchained as innovation, but I’m still very skeptical on my opinion of that film, a skepticism I’m sure isn’t shared by my colleagues here at Grizzly Bomb.

Continue reading Best of the Genre: Biggest Badasses – Westerns (Part 1)

‘Django Unchained’ Update: New Pictures…

Quentin Tarantino is back again with yet another scrappy yet captivating ode to genre cinema of years past, this time with his love letter to westerns, Django Unchained. After previously tackling the “Macaroni Combat” genre of WW2 films with Inglorious Basterds, he’s gone to the opposite end of old italian cinema and is diving headfirst into bringing his own personal spaghetti western for all of us. The plot is fairly simple and by the numbers: Slave gets freed by bounty hunter, bounty hunter teaches a slave to bounty hunt, slave vows to find his wife who is being held at a sadistic slave ranch, BUT slave ranch holds slave battles ran Thunderdome style by cruel slave owner! Will he get her back? You know, the usual sort of stuff you see in every western.

Great, but how do I get this shot of the gun to be an ‘homage”?

If it wasn’t apparent, the cast is typical Quentin Tarantino “Weird-at-first-but-actually-works.” style casting, with Jamie Foxx as the titular Django, Christoph Waltz as the bounty hunter, and Leonardo DiCaprio as the slave ranch owner, who is named, no kidding, Calvin Candy. That slave ranch? Candyland.

No wives until you escape the chocolate swamp!

Overall I’m excited for the movie, because westerns are great, and spaghetti westerns are always something special. It stands to reason that QT seems intent on trying really really hard to emulate Sergio Leone with his last few movies, and whether or not he’ll be successful is really up to how the whole thing comes together. I’mma homage you so hard… I’mma homage you so hard… Inglorious Basterds, while entertaining, was a movie that was definitely less than the sum of its parts, but its opening scene was classic Leone emulation, right down to the fitting Morricone soundtrack. Granted it’s easy to make anything seem epic and grandiose with that man’s score, but it was one solid, perfect nugget of gold in that movie that absolutely worked perfectly. If Django Unchained can be a whole movie like that scene, it’ll become one of the very best modern westerns of all time, if not though… well we’ll see. Who am I kidding, I know come December 25, I’ll be heading to see it with Christmas cash in tow.
I’mma homage you so hard…