First, is that not just the most perfect quote for a western, like, ever?
Said quote is from Silverado, Mek’s first western of the year. Silverado‘s a 25 year old movie about a band of four men who come together to rid a small town of injustice, take down an evil sheriff, and otherwise deal with their respective homicidal ghosts of Christmas past. It’s kind of a popcorn western—I’ve read that it was sorta groundbreaking in the 1980’s, although, honestly, that’s not so evident in 2011—but I liked it nonetheless. It was enjoyable, relatively light-hearted fare, and anyway, dudes in big hats shooting each other? Who doesn’t like that?
1.) Just a fun fact—Silverado came out in the best year ever, 1985. Besides being the year that yours truly was born, some of these other awesome movies came to a theater near you: The Goonies, The Breakfast Club, Clue, Ladyhawke, The Legend of Billie Jean, Reanimator, The Color Purple, The Purple Rose of Cairo, and Return to Oz. (That’s right, bitches. I listed both a Helen Slater movie and that sequel to The Wizard of Oz where the wicked witch randomly swaps out her head for different ones. We’re talking classics here.)
2.) Now, when you talk Silverado, you really have to talk cast because . . . dude, cast. TONS of people are in this movie. We’ll start with our quasi-lead, Emmett, played by Scott Glenn.
Emmett’s supposed to be the terse, cool and collected badass of the bunch. He’s supposed to be the guy that you pray like hell you don’t have to go up against in a fight. In essence, Emmett is supposed to be Clint Eastwood . . . which, well, Glenn is not. This isn’t to say he’s bad. Scott Glenn’s got a voice that’s just made for a western, and I like how he delivers most of he lines. It’s just that when Paden (Kevin Kline) implies that Emmett is the biggest, badass this side of the Atlantic, there’s really no evidence for it in the film. Emmett’s cool enough . . . but he isn’t, like, mythic.
2.) Now, to the person who I think really makes this whole movie: Kevin Kline as Paden, a man who Emmett finds in the middle of the desert. Kline . . . Kline just rocks. I don’t know; he just steals every single scene that he’s in. He was easily my favorite character; he seems to carry the emotional meat of the film, and his friendship with Stella (Linda Hunt) is really interesting to watch. The two actors have great chemistry together, and I loved all of their scenes.
3.) Now, Kevin Costner . . .
. . . is not one of my favorite actors, and I was not terribly excited to see that he was in this film. I very much expected his character to be grim and flat and boring as hell . . . basically, I was expecting Wyatt Earp 2 from him. So, let me be the first to say that Kevin Costner totally blew my mind by playing someone utterly silly and enjoyable and not really all that bright, and I actually wanted to see more of him in the film.
I know. It’s a little like discovering that Pluto isn’t really a planet anymore. My whole worldview’s just screwed.
4.) Danny Glover is the last of the main four, and Danny Glover is . . . perfectly adequate. I don’t know if the role is much of a stretch for him, acting-wise, but I do feel sorry for his character, Mal. Mal has a pretty shitty life. I wanted to pat Mal on the head for most of the movie.
5.) Actually, before we continue with casting, let me mention something: Mal doesn’t have a lot of family, and one of the only people he does have is his bitchy, prostitute sister, Rae. Now, Mal’s dad made it perfectly clear that neither Mal nor Rae had any interest in the family farm and both pretty much abandoned it (and the family) to pursue their own interests. However, when Mal comes back, Rae starts acting like she was the loyal daughter and that only Mal deserted them and where was he when they needed him and blah blah blah. Admittedly, Rae does have a pretty awesome redemptive moment later on in the film, but . . . really? Rae, I kind of want to slap you.
6.) Jeff Fahey’s in this movie! Fahey!!! Jesus, he looks young.
7.) Also, Jeff Goldblum? You cannot rock a fur coat. Sorry, buddy.
Goldblum’s got one awesome line in this film, but otherwise he’s underused. Kind of felt the same way about John Cleese, who’s just a total trip to watch in this. His casting just seems so random.
I actually really loved John Cleese’s small part, enough to wish that he was the real Big Bad of the movie instead of, say, Brian Dennehy. Don’t get me wrong: clearly, Dennehy knows how to play an evil sheriff, but in a way he doesn’t have much to do here other than smile maliciously at Kevin Kline. He was a much more powerful antagonist in First Blood, and I would rather have seen a villain who got to do something other than smirk and shoot people.
Not that smirking and shooting people is a bad way to start, mind you. Just . . . add a little more on, people.
8.) Now, away from casting (oh, wait, Rosanna Arquette . . . uh, she was there. Seriously, her role was pretty much insignificant) let’s talk about that Oscar nominated score . . . and how much it sucks. Seriously, Oscars, you got it wrong. That score is so in your face it’s practically up your fucking nostrils, particularly in the scene which I will dub “Emmett gets his groove back.” Sweet Jesus. The music’s so freaking triumphant, you’ll want to shoot yourself in the face. You know, triumphantly.
9.) This movie’s over two hours, and it’s a credit to the filmmaking that it doesn’t really feel that long at all. It’s kind of a silly thrill ride of a western, but it’s certainly easy enough to watch.
10.) Here’s a tip: don’t steal anything off of Paden. Seriously. He may look like a fuzzy teddy bear in funny long johns, but he really doesn’t take kindly to people snatching his stuff. I could practically hear the murderdeathkill, orange filter music of Kill Bill every time he found someone who had robbed him. Actually, Mek and I both started to wonder if some of these people hadn’t stolen anything from him, and he was just going to do this the whole movie. “You! Old woman coming out of the church! That’s my bonnet that you’re wearing . . . I’d like it back. Now. This doesn’t have to be difficult.”
11.) Also, it’s okay if you shoot innocent people. It’s okay if you burned down this house or possibly even murdered this dude’s brother. But . . . kidnap a kid?
DEATH is coming for you, my friend. Triumphant death. Be ready.
12.) Finally, a few good quotes:
“The world is what you make of it, friend. If it doesn’t fit, you make alterations.”
“How do I know this is your horse?”
“Can’t you see this horse loves me?”
“I had a gal do that to me. It didn’t make her my wife.”
“Excuse me, Sheriff. I’m a gambler who’d like to run an honest game in your town. To whom do I speak about that?” (Notices the dead guy in the dirt at his feet.) “I hope it’s not this gentleman.”
“I don’t want you to get hurt.”
“He can’t hurt me . . . if he’s dead.”
“Today, my jurisdiction ends here.”
Overall, Silverado was an enjoyable film. Some fun action sequences, some Kevin Kline awesomeness, and some immensely unexpected work from Kevin Costner. I’m not going to buy it anytime soon, but I’d watch it again, sure.
Tentative Grade: B
Moral: Family is not to be fucked with. Also, innocent dogs. You just don’t go around killing innocent dogs. Cause that kind of just makes you an asshole.