|Back in black?|
Hello friends, welcome back to Tagline: Guest Suggestion Edition! On Tuesday we all had the great pleasure of experiencing Hackers, a movie that had about as much in common with real hackers as I have in common with a Tyrannosaurus. Today we're going in the total opposite direction, back to the old west with Tombstone, a movie about Wyatt Earp (Played by Kurt Russell, maybe the only man to live who looks MORE ridiculous with that mustache than the ACTUAL Wyatt Earp) that has as much historical truth to it as more or less any other Wyatt Earp movie or story I suppose, which is to say not very much. This particular film focuses on specifically Earp's time in the eponymous boomtown of Tombstone, where people mostly seem to busy themselves by getting drunk and then shooting each other, which doesn't seem like a sustainable enterprise. Meanwhile, leaving behind life as an officer of the peace in Dodge City, Wyatt and his brothers Virgil and Morgan are trying to go into business for themselves. They decide to do this in the most obvious way they can think of, by becoming promoters at a saloon, and (presumably) this includes things like running the in-house gambling and also being pimps. Sounds like good old-fashioned American heroes to me! Along with the Earps Doc Holliday (Portrayed here in an awesome performance by Val Kilmer) rolls into town as well, to be sickly and look like he's about to die from Tuberculosis, but still scare the ever-loving crap out of everyone because he's so great at shooting people (Historically he mostly seemed to have a record of challenging African-Americans to gunfights with little to no provocation so try not to think about that I guess)
|Michael Biehn as Kyle Reese...I mean Johnny Ringo.|
This movie centers around the events leading up the famous shootout at the O.K. Corral, and later Wyatt Earp's bloody trail of revenge killings after the maiming of his brother Virgil and SPOILERS the murder of his brother Morgan. This happens primarily at the hands of a group of outlaws who call themselves "Cowboys" when more correctly they might have been referred to as "soon to be fucking dead guys". I guess that doesn't really have the same ring to it though? Of course what self-respecting western about Wyatt Earp would be complete without a love story. No not about him and his opium-addict wife who we see just being AWFUL but about Wyatt and some actress lady (his later common-law wife Sadie). Make sure to portray his wife Mattie in as unflattering a light as you can, to try and justify Wyatt's adultery! (as if we needed to RIGHT?!) Anyway all that nonsense is just a backdrop for the many many drunken arguments, drunken gunfights, and drunken whatever the hell elses that are going on in Tombstone.
|He is not bluffing.|
It's fun to note all the nitpicky anachronisms present in the movie (as well as a variety of issues with the timeline as compared to real history) but this movie is also a prime and gruesome example of Hollywood Bullets. What do I mean? Well despite the fact that virtually everyone in this movie is either using a break action double-barreled shotgun or a revolver, no one's gun ever seems to need reloading (unless it's convenient for the scene a few times). In a notable instance, "Curly" Bill Brocius gets drunk and starts shooting randomly into the night, and with his two "six" shooters fires something like 20 times without ever reloading. That's good stuff man. Of course as much as this movie gets wrong, the one thing it is not making up is that people were just constantly shooting each other all the time for next to nothing. Hell sometimes they were just shooting themselves (fun story, outlaw Johnny Ringo's father blew his own head off with a shotgun he was holding while exiting a stagecoach). While doing some light background reading on the era and the principal characters involved in the O.K. Corral shootout and its aftermath, I ran across plentiful evidence that people couldn't walk to the bathroom without needing to drink some whiskey and then shoot someone. In fact Johnny Ringo is most notorious for shooting a man for saying he wanted a bear instead of whiskey Ringo features prominently in Tombstone as the Cowboys' second-in-command and the opposite of Doc Holliday on the "bad guys" side, when in actuality he was kind of a nobody and most likely killed himself (in the movie Holliday kills him in a gunfight).
|You tell 'em Kurt.|
What I learned from re-watching this movie, aside from the fact that the old west was really shitty, is that I still prefer Kevin Costner as Wyatt Earp over Kurt Russell. There's just something about him that... well his mustache looks too big for his head? I don't know man. I still enjoy a movie filled with senseless cowboy murder as much as the next guy, but I found that this movie had lost a lot of its charm when you realize that its just a bunch of real historical pricks killing each other for no goddamned reason, other than that they're all belligerent assholes. I guess you can't expect better than that from this kind of movie most of the time, but you sort of hope that someone will display a redeeming quality. We're supposed to sympathize with the Earps, and they're certainly better than the Cowboys, but they're still pretty far into the darker shades of gray. Also for those wondering, everyone in this movie was historically way less attractive. Like wow way less.
That's it for today cowboys and cowgirls! Join me again next week, when I acquiesce to another set of probably poor suggestions, that nonetheless can't be dumber than Hackers.