Tombstone (1993)


You Tell ‘Em I’m Comin … And Hell’s Comin With Me!

It’s come time for me to say what my favorite movie of all time is.  This has always been a difficult question for me to answer as I usually just have a sliding scale of “Like” or “Dislike” for movies, but don’t usually make the claim of having an actual favorite.  What I determined to do was to just pick a movie that I really like and just say it’s my favorite.  I used to say it was The Crow, but eventually decided that there was at least one movie that I find completely awesome every time I watch it.  It’s never aged for me, it’s in one of my favorite genres, and it has the hands down best performance by more than a few people in the cast.  This movie would become the movie I would say is my favorite ever.  Whether or not it truly is my favorite is debatable, but we’ll see if its awesomeness is when I review Tombstone, written by Kevin Jarre, directed by George P. Cosmatos, and starring Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, Sam Elliott, Bill Paxton, Powers Boothe, Michael Biehn, Stephen Lang, Thomas Haden Church, Tomas Arana, Dana Delany, Michael Rooker, Buck Taylor, Peter Sherayko, Terry O’Quinn, Jon Tenney, Billy Zane, Dana Wheeler-Nicholson, Joanna Pacula, Paula Malcomson, Lisa Collins, Harry Carey Jr., and Billy Bob Thornton.

Wyatt Earp (Kurt Russell) and his brothers Virgil (Sam Elliott) and Morgan (Bill Paxton) go to Tombstone, Arizona with the hope of finding their fortunes.  Doc Holliday (Val Kilmer) is already doing alright for himself with gambling and shooting, but he goes to Tombstone as well to hang out with his buddy Wyatt.  Even though he’s married to Mattie Blaylock (Dana Wheeler-Nicholson), Wyatt starts developing feelings for a travelling actress named Josephine Marcus (Dana Delany).  Wyatt takes a job as a dealer at a saloon and gets some friction from a band of outlaws called the Cowboys, and more specifically their leader “Curly Bill” Brocious (Powers Boothe), Johnny Ringo (Michael Biehn), Ike Clanton (Stephen Lang), and Billy Clanton (Thomas Haden Church), but the Cowboys are somewhat comforted by the fact that Wyatt is retired as a peace officer and has no interest in taking the law into his own hands.  That being the case, when Curly Bill kills Marshal Fred White (Harry Carey Jr.) while high on opium, Wyatt pistol whips him and takes him into custody.  Ike and Billy try to get Wyatt to release Curly Bill, but find themselves out-awesomed and leave.  Tensions continue to mount and, if you’ve read your awesome history of the West, you know some shit’s about to go down at the O.K. Corral.

I am still perfectly comfortable saying this movie is my favorite movie of all time.  There are definite contenders for the title, but this movie is definitely up there.  You probably can’t give a whole lot of credit to the story as it seems to mostly stick to what actually happened, or at least what is said happened around then.  Watching this movie always makes me start looking up information about what happened in Tombstone and it’s apparently hard to find solid information about it because most people in the town were biased either towards the Cowboys or the Earps.  This movie obviously takes the side of the Earps, and I’m okay with that.  It turns out very awesome, so I wouldn’t dare complain.  I’m sure it’s not 100% historically accurate, but I don’t watch this movie for a history lesson.  As it pertains to the movie, they show what they need to when they need to, and I like that.  They even do something to show the character’s personality right in their introduction to save time.  Wyatt Earp starts off by hitting a guy for whipping his horse, showing that he’s hardcore and big into justice.  Doc Holliday starts off coughing and being hilarious and awesome at a poker table.  Johnny Ringo shoots a priest in the head soon after we meet him.  Now we know who we’re dealing with.  The story is pretty damned solid too.  It starts off with just the tension building between the Earps and the Cowboys, and the Earps’ sense of justice leading them to feel they should get involved.  And the first good portion of the movie – assuming you know about Wyatt Earp and the others – is just building up for the most famous gunfight in American history: the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.  And it does not disappoint.  From what I’ve read, it’s around 90% accurate to what actually happened, which adds weight to the scene.  It’s not only awesome because it’s awesome; it’s also awesome because it feels like we’re time-travelling to watch it.  And the last big chunk of the movie is watching Earp’s Vendetta Ride, which is also very awesome.  All of the action in the movie was great.  They only went for the classic tension building before a quick draw contest twice and the rest of the action was regular shootouts and fist fights, but they were all awesome.  The Vendetta Ride was mostly just a series of montages, displaying any random images of people looking awesome while shooting guns, but it was great and time-saving.  Some of the “action” in the movie was even hilarious, and I’m mainly referring to the part where Johnny Ringo is showing off by twirling his gun around and Doc Holliday responds by doing the same with his cup.  I would say that the dialogue in the movie was great, but I think I mainly mean that Doc Holliday’s dialogue was great.  Everyone else only got to occasionally say something awesome, but almost everything Doc said was fantastic.  I think one of my favorite lines in cinema history is Doc Holliday saying, “I’ve got two guns, one for each of ya.”

I also loved every performance in this movie.  Almost every male character in the movie was a stone cold badass.  But let’s face facts: Val Kilmer steals this movie.  Val Kilmer looks like the Devil in the greater majority of this movie.  Pale skin, red around the eyes, often bleeding from the mouth, and even has that goatee goin’ on.  He was fucking awesome in this movie.  He’s hilarious and badass in equal measure.  Kurt Russell is also a bona fide badass in this movie.  He took care of the majority of his problems in this movie with sheer intimidation, not even requiring that he use a gun.  He made a little bitch out of Billy Bob Thornton and Stephen Lang on more than one occasion.  Michael Biehn was also epically badass.  The way he talked always made me think there was something supernatural about him as most people talked as if he sold his soul to the devil for his killing prowess.  I believed it.  Sam Elliott is also entirely enjoyable, and that’s not something that surprised me.  Not only is he usually great, but he seems to be made for westerns.  I think I would’ve found more conflict if Wyatt’s wife, Dana Wheeler-Nicholson, was ever a likeable character.  I didn’t really care that she got left behind.  She was a drug addict and a bit of a bitch, whereas Dana Delany was fun-loving and free-spirited.  Seems like an easy decision to me.

Tombstone may not be the smartest movie you’ve ever seen, but it will probably be at least a contender for the most awesome.  The story is easy enough because it’s based on historical data, but it’s also based on some of the most awesome historical data in American history.  It’s compelling, it’s exciting, and I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, but it’s pretty awesome as well.  All of the people in this movie perform greatly, but I think we can all agree that Val Kilmer steals the show.  I love this movie, and you should as well.  Tombstone gets “Make no mistake, it’s not revenge he’s after.  It’s a reckoning” out of “In Pace Requiescat.”

Who here’s shocked to hear that Chris won this one again?  Fuck this guy, am I right?

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Puss in Boots (2011)


Is It True That a Cat Always Lands on It’s Feet?

I take no shame in the fact that I have never cared for the Shrek series.  They never worked for me, and I could not be swayed by the accolades showered upon it by the majority of the people I’ve spoken to about the series.  Regardless of my aversion, they still managed to crank out four of the things, all of which dropped in quality exponentially with each release.  The second Shrek movie introduced a new character based on an older fairy tale, and one that gained popularity due to the character’s cuteness.  When they finally felt that they had drained the life out of the Shrek series, Dreamworks found a way to get a few more drops out of the series by taking that character and giving him a spinoff.  Let’s see how that went in my review for Puss in Boots, written by Tom Wheeler, Brian Lynch, and Will Davies, directed by Chris Miller, and starring the voices of Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Zach Galifianakis, Amy Sedaris, Billy Bob Thornton, Constance Marie, and Guillermo del Toro.

Before the time when Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) met Shrek, he had a few adventures of his own.  The most notable is when he teamed up with Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek) and his old friend from their orphan childhood Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis).  Puss and Humpty had a spotty past.  As Puss was becoming the hero of their small town, Humpty was getting into trouble.  It escalated until Humpty tricked Puss into robbing a bank with him, leaving both to lives as outlaws, a title that followed Puss around, even though he left Humpty to his fate with the guards.  Seemingly reformed, Humpty manages to talk Puss into joining him and Kitty in their quest for the magic beans that will lead them to the Golden Goose, with the promise that the goose’s golden eggs will be used to pay back their small town for what they stole so many years ago.  Their first step is to acquire the magic beans from Jack (Billy Bob Thornton) and Jill (Amy Sedaris).

Anything to do with Shrek still fails to hit home with me.  This was a cute movie, and one that kids will probably love, but it doesn’t have very much to offer adults.  The story is fine enough.  There’s a whole story of redemption, adventure, and betrayal, and you probably won’t see parts of it coming.  The problem was that the comedy wasn’t really there, and the action was toned down and spread out.  Most of their comedy was vaguely slapsticky for the kids, but they rarely ventured into something for adults.  One attempt they made was a joke about “golden eggs” in the beginning, and indicating towards someone’s balls for it.  This was okay for adults, and probably over the heads of kids, but it was only vaguely funny.  The most comedy I found in the movie was based around Puss acting like a cat.  When he started chasing a light around, trying to catch it, it was both cute and amusing in the same way as it is when my cats do it.  And by that, I mean that I get bored after 30 seconds and kick them to make them stop acting retarded.  You can’t catch light!  I am so intellectually superior to you!  They had a couple action scenes, but ruined a couple of them with strange choices.  After a rooftop pursuit, Puss finally catches up with the masked cat that ruined his heist and, to settle the score, they start a dance battle.  He’s carrying a sword, y’know?  I won’t spoil it for you by saying who got served in this fight, but someone should’ve gotten skewered instead.  There were a few other hit-and-miss action scenes in the movie, but the good ones were too short and the others were just missed opportunities.  There’s also a lot of set up to a gigantic, scary creature called The Terror that ends up being pretty disappointing.  I understand that their choice to make the creature not as scary as they built it up to was their choice, but it was kind of a buzzkill.

The cast performed well, but were also fairly disappointing.  I don’t really understand the choice to take people like Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek and turn them into cats.  The bulk of the appeal for those two people is their looks, so taking that away makes me lose my interest.  They did a good enough job at it, but I’d rather just go watch Desperado.  That way, I can see Salma’s boobs.  The biggest disappoint for me was Zach Galifianakis.  Zach was one of my favorite comedians long before everyone else jumped on board when he did the Hangover (Hipster statement), but he seemed to not be allowed to be funny in this movie.  Most of his comedy is probably stuff that could not be included in a kid friendly movie, but his character in this movie either attempted comedy with a couple of really bad puns, or occasionally with some physical humor that really had nothing to do with him.  He performed the character well, but I wished they would’ve let the funniest person in this movie be funny a little.  Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sedaris performed their parts well also, but weren’t in it very much.

I can’t say that I really expected that much going into this movie.  I knew it was a kid movie, and I knew that it would have similarities to the Shrek series that never interested me, but I give these things a chance.  The story was fine, but the comedy flopped, and the good performances felt wasted.  Your kids will probably like this – as they’ll probably like anything with moving shapes that fall down occasionally – but you might get bored by the halfway point.  You can skip this movie.  Puss in Boots gets “It ain’t over-easy!” out of “You have made the cat angry.”

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