Greta and Jim’s Western Movie fest

While Nora and I were hiking in the Pasayten, Greta and Jim were back in North Carolina completing their own epic journey: They were systematically watching some of the best Westerns in cinematic history.

Neither of them has a personal blog, so I agreed to host their report here.

Greta and Jim’s Western Movie fest

It shouldn’t take long to figure out which comments are Greta’s and which are Jim’s. It’s a neat report!

Since Nora and I returned from our trip prematurely, Greta and Jim weren’t quite finished by the time we got back. That means I got to watch the last two movies together with them. Here are my comments.

Pale Rider
I’d never seen this movie before — I remember it getting quite a bit of critical acclaim when it came out, but it now seems amazingly dated. Am I really that old? As Jim and Greta point out, it’s an obvious remake of Shane, but the “farmers versus ranchers” battle doesn’t play out as well in this mining-rights tale. I’m not buying the whole “miners as environmentalists” schtick, though apparently the movie’s highlighting of “hydraulic mining” reflects a genuine historical controversy.

Unforgiven
Though obviously this movie isn’t as old, I think it’s going to hold up better than Pale Rider, even several decades from now. It is a powerful story, and I don’t think that’s going to change in the foreseeable future. There are some heart-wrenching scenes in this one, and if you haven’t seen it yet, you should definitely add it to your Neflix queue. It’s even available for “instant viewing,” though the quality suffers in Eastwood’s dramatic cinematography.

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