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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Back to the Future Part III (1990)


100 Year Ago?!  That’s THIS Year!!

I’m so depressed now.  I have finished watching my favorite trilogy and there are no more to watch.  The reviews for the finale have gone up a little bit from the 64% that Rotten Tomatoes gave Part 2 into 71% for Part 3.  But that’s not what I say because Rotten Tomatoes just doesn’t take me seriously for some reason, so fuck those guys.  You guys came to hear what I think about this movie.  Let’s find out now in my review of Back to the Future Part 3, again written by Bob Gale, again directed by Robert Zemeckis, and again starring Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Thomas F. Wilson, Mary Steenburgen, Lea Thompson, Elisabeth Shue, Matt Clark, Pat Buttram, Harry Carey Jr., Dub Taylor, Richard Dysart, James Tolkan, Donovan Scott, Burton Gilliam, Bill McKinney, Flea, Jeffrey Weissman, Marc McClure, Wendie Jo Sperber, and ZZ Top.

At the end of the last movie, Doctor Emmett Brown (Christopher Lloyd) disappeared, having been inside the time-travelling DeLorean while it was struck by lightning, leaving nothing but a flaming 99 in the sky and a stunned Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) watching from the street.  But his spirits are lifted when a mailman (Joe Flaherty) shows up to give him a letter from September 5th, 1885.  In the letter, Doc explains that the time circuits sent him back to the old west, but he doesn’t want Marty to come save him.  Marty returns to the Doc Brown of 1955 and enlists him to help get the DeLorean (which was left in a cemetery-adjacent cave) and repair it so he can return to 1985.  But, as they load up the DeLorean, Doc’s dog finds a grave with Doc’s name on it, saying he was shot in the back over a matter of 80 dollars by Buford “Mad Dog” Tannen (Thomas F. Wilson) and left his beloved Clara.  Marty determines that he must go back to 1885 to save the Doc from his fate.  Upon returning, the DeLorean’s fuel line is struck by an arrow and Marty is chased out of a cave by a bear, falling down a hill and knocking himself unconscious on a wooden fence.  He wakes up in the house of his ancestor, Seamus (Michael J. Fox again) and Maggie McFly (Lea Thompson).  Marty goes into Hill Valley and runs afoul of Tannen, but is rescued by the Doc.  They resolve to return to 1985, but without gasoline, they must find another way to get the DeLorean up to 88mph.

It’s probably going to shock you all to hear that I loved this movie as well.  The story did not falter all the way through, the movie is supported by the same quality of music, it’s still fun, has lots of comedy, lots of action, they bring back the romantic angle, and there’s some minor darkness to the movie, though not as much as Part 2.  Plus, they made it mostly a western, so I’m totally on board.  Perhaps the darkness of Part 2 drove people away because they just wanted these movies to be fun, but who knows?  The only negative I had was that the ending was slightly disappointing, but we’ll get to that a little later.  I thought for this movie that it would have been a bit annoying to see these movies in theaters as there’s a big cliffhanger at the end of Part 1 and 2 and then having to wait 4 years after the first and one year after the second to get satisfaction would be difficult.  I never had to deal with that though, as I started watching them when my mother already owned all three on VHS.  They do the history repeating itself thing again in this movie, which they would kind of have to as it was in all of them.  Thomas F. Wilson’s character again walks into a bar/diner type of place and harasses Michael J. Fox, having to quickly cover the DeLorean because the love interest in the movie is about to walk in, the Doc apologizing because the diorama he made is not to scale, the Doc has made another Rube Goldberg machine in the old west that makes his breakfast, and Wilson’s character again falls into manure.  Marty even makes reference to it when he says “Why do we always have to cut these things so close?”  Also, Marty’s “Hey, look!  A distraction!” thing continues to get him out of sticky situations.  The “Eastwood Ravine” thing was also very similar to the Twin/Lone Pine(s) Mall thing.  They bring the romance back into the movie that was kind of missing in Part 2.  Part 1 had Lorraine and George, Part 2 kind of has a vague romance to Jennifer and Marty, but not a strong one, and Part 3 brings in Clara Clayton for the Doc to fall in love with.  I liked her character and I liked that the Doc would get some.  It seemed a bit out of character for him to fall so deeply in love so quickly, but that’s how love do sometimes.  I also liked that he saved her from death, and the whole discussion about the name of the ravine.  It makes sense because taking Clara out of 1885 would not change history because she was supposed to have died, so she wouldn’t be missed.  The whole “chicken” thing for Marty that started in Part 2 got tied up in this movie, leaving us with a nice message about not letting people’s opinions of you do something stupid.  They also kind of set up this entire movie (and at least one big pay off) from when Biff was watching A Fistful of Dollars in Part 2.  The climactic scene at the end on the train was also pretty spectacular.  The ending of the movie itself disappointed me a little bit.  ::SPOILER ALERT::  I feel like it kind of strains credulity that the Doc could invent another time machine using a train from 1885, one that could not only travel through time, but also could fly (which either meant he was able to do it 130 years earlier than the rest of humanity, or he was able to travel to 2015 before visiting Marty in 1985).  But, honestly, this isn’t what disappointed me.  I would’ve been bummed if the Doc was stuck back in 1885, even if he did have Clara.  I liked that he was able to continue time traveling, plus had his wife and 2 kids.  What really disappointed me was that there was only three of these movies.  I want more, damnit!  ::END SPOILER::

What a surprise!  The cast didn’t really change and they all still rule.  Michael J. Fox displayed more range in Part 2, but was still fantastic in this movie.  I liked him as a old west gunfighter too.  But why the hell would he give up that sweet pistol?  I understand he had no use for it, but it was an awesome gun.  Fox also got to be Seamus McFly, and I loved the accent that he put on for it.  Christopher Lloyd gets to display more range in this movie, mostly being the wacky Doc that we love, but once he’s around Clara, he’s all gushy-eyed and in love.  After they have a fight, he pulls off super depressed about it very well.  I also found it really amusing when Marty says “Great Scott” and Doc says “I know, it’s heavy.”  The best thing Doc ever did in the series was in this movie, when he tripped one of Buford’s gang members as they ran away.  Get ‘im, Doc!  I liked Mary Steenburgen as an addition to the cast.  She seems exactly like the kind of person that Doc would fall for.  She’s a teacher, she’s smart, strong, a little bit clumsy and goofy, pretty, and she digs on Jules Verne.  Thomas F. Wilson played the same kind of character, but he really worked as an old west bad guy.  That guy could play a bad guy in any era.  I actually got really angry at him when he was getting all frisky on Mary Steenburgen.  That’s Doc’s girl!  Lea Thompson isn’t in the movie as much, but I also liked the accent she puts on as Maggie McFly.  That may have been where my crush on her was cemented.  It was her regular hotness, but with an adorable accent.  Another great part about this movie is that it got to bring back many forgotten old west character actors such as Pat Buttram, Harry Carey Jr., Dub Taylor, and (my personal favorite) Burton Gilliam from Blazing Saddles!

I doubt these reviews were very surprising to you, and for that I … well I really don’t feel anything about it.  These aren’t supposed to be surprising, they’re supposed to be entertaining, just like the Back to the Future series.  …Yeah, good segway, Robert!  I love this movie because it takes everything we loved about both of the previous movies, added a western, and lost nothing in the process.  This is a great movie.  I would have to say that I kind of agree with Rotten Tomatoes in my ratings of the series, but not to the degree they go to.  I would say that the first movie is the best, Part 3 is the second best, and Part 2 is the third best.  I would say my reviews of them would be closer to Part 1 = 100%, Part 2 = 95%, and Part 3 = 98%.  I love these movies, what can I say?  As with both other movies, every person in the world should see these movies.  Even if you didn’t like one of them that much, you have to enjoy all three back to back.  Some of my favorite movies ever, and quite possibly my favorite trilogy ever (because Star Wars and Lord of the Rings aren’t really trilogies anymore, are they?).  Back to the Future Part 3 gets “See you in the future” out of “Your future is whatever you make it.  So make it a good one.”

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