Sunday, September 09, 2007

Westerns...Fred Blosser

Three serious flaws in the last few new Westerns -- 1) Too much recycling of plots and themes from the classics (can't these guys think of anything new?), 2) too much windy dialogue to reveal character motivation (Wayne and Coop didn't need to endlessly explain why they did the things they did -- one of the beauties of the classic western was revelation of character through action and setting), and 3) it seems the "damaged family" syndrome has crept into Westerns ("The Missing" and apparently the remake of "3:10 to Yuma"), where Dad and offspring are estranged, and the movie turns on Dad doing something in order to make up or prove himself.
--Fred Blosser


pattinase (abbott) said...

That "damaged family" motiff shows up in every genre now. Clearly, it especially haunts our age. We have to tie classical forms to more modern ones through certain motifs: dysfunction, abuse, sexual peculiarities, etc. Otherwise it feels like nothing more than an homage or a retread, I guess. I could use the classical form now and then.

Anonymous said...

When I first read Ron Hansen's Jesse James novel back in the 80s, I was dazzled by the pyrotechnics. He used words in ways I never imagined possible, making words do triple duty, using puns and startling metaphor, neologisms, etc. It was only when I set the book down that I realized not one character lingered in my mind, and the story had vanished also. In short, the dazzle had hidden serious inadequacies. I've wondered how they would turn this into a film. Puns and word-play don't transfer to film, except perhaps in quaint dialogue. In short, the film cannot be drawn from the book, and will share only the title. I'm eager to see what the filmmakers did with a book full of verbal pirouettes.

Richard Wheeler

I. Michael Koontz said...

The great old westerns used visual metaphors rather than talking: a lone figure set against Monument Valley rock formations to show a single man's insignificance; Heston and Peck duking it out from extreme distance to show the futility of their fight.

Yes, the 'modern' Western is a lot of psychobabble. I'm always a fan of a man seeking redemption or forgiveness, but please don't bore me with the Freudian details--that's my motto.