I love Westerns, movies that is. They are by far my favorite "genre" because usually they are a "morality play", the setting is beautiful and who can resist a man on a horse!
So, this weekend-needing to be on the "Front Range"- i.e. Denver- for business and near a mega-plex movie theater- I took the opportunity to go see the new movie "3:10 to Yuma" with Christian Bale and Russell Crowe.
The movie is based on a short story by Elmore Leonard and the new film is a remake of a Classic Western with the same title, starring Glenn Ford in the role of the outlaw.
Okay- "get real!!" I watched this movie somewhat dumbfounded. Yes the movie was pleasing to the eye,the setting beautiful in Southern Arizona, Bale and Crowe are good at their parts- BUT!! Where do I start!
-Cowboys don't cuss in front on a women- yes they cussed up a "blue streak" otherwise but it was words like "dam" not "f**** and sh** and if the fourteen year old son of a farmer did it in front of his mother- his father (i.e. Bale) would make sure he did not sit down for a week.
-okay- when you lose your entire foot in the Civil War like the farmer(Bale) did- you will have a noticeable limp! And will probably not be able to run as fast as the outlaw(Crowe) through the streets of Yuma as bullets fly.
-If you were shot in the stomach- in the West- you were facing a slow and enviable death- Doctors did not have the knowledge to take care of a "gut shot"- you did not lay on a doctors table and hold still for him to pull out the bullet with a long tweezers and then hop on your horse to ride off and catch the bad guys!
-When someone starts shooting at you at night- you should extinguish all light sources- i.e. kick dirt over the campfire, like John Wayne would- and go out and sneak around in the dark yourself- Not huddle in the light of the fire, looking around!!
-Noise travels very far in the desert- and Cowboys listen- and Indians listen- and usually know when they are being tailed- not in this movie!
-Bullets travel really really far and there is no reason to be two inches away from the bad guy to draw your gun on him- even if it makes a cool "shot" as in movie shot-because he can knock the gun out of your hand-
- the West was and still is a dangerous place where life and death was established by two things- water and transportation- there are "lagistics" like losing your horse- that seemed to have no consequences in this movie- just keeping walking and you will find one around the next bend in the road- and the dangers of the Apaches that have been building in the script will turn into China men blasting tunnels for the railroad and your horses will be waiting for you! Oh and you can get electrocuted with little or no effect too!
It just seems like the "laws of physics and life" are getting more and more suspended- granted they always have been to a large degree- the roadrunner/coyote syndrome- fall off a thousand foot cliff and get up- but if Consequences are not part of the Western- we are losing a large parts of what makes the "genre" so special-
Because reality is the West is unforgiving- it still is- your "gut shot" you die- not ride a horse the next day- someone would and could by law hurt you bad for cussing in front of a woman- and when you have dodged bullets through the streets of Yuma and finally are successful in getting the Outlaw in the prison car- you don't expect the bad guys to give up and stop shooting- and turn your back to them- unless you are at 120 pages in your script and have run out of money!