Saturday, December 19, 2009

“Appaloosa” – I’d leave town, too.

I usually like to let movie reviews rattle around in my brain for a couple of days after watching a movie. I’ll get some initial ideas on how I want to approach the review, scrap most of them, simmer for a bit, then bring my brain to a boil with a couple of ideas that I can run with. With most movies, it takes a little while for me to recognize the right idea; something that we’ll both enjoy reading. But, every once in a while, the right idea smacks me in the face before I can even get up to eject the disk from the player. And that’s never a good sign for a movie with me.

My initial thoughts going in were that this would be a decent film. The story seemed simple enough and of the main actors – Ed Harris, Viggo Mortensen, Jeremy Irons, and Renee Zellweger – Zellweger is the only one I don’t care for. The story is about two gunmen who are hired by a town to deal with a gang of outlaws who have killed the local sheriff and his deputies and are terrorizing the town. Does that sound familiar to you? That’s because it’s been done before and they called it “Tombstone.” Do you see where I’m going with this? Yeah, I’m angry too.

Basically, Harris is zombie-Wyatt Earp, Mortensen is zombie-Doc Holliday, Irons is zombie-Johnny Ringo, and Zellweger is a slut (seriously, she’s getting with – or trying – every guy in town).

Note: I’ve decided to go with zombie for no real reason, so just go with it.

There’s a saying that goes “Imitation is the sincerest form a flattery,” but is it really flattery when the imitation is the equivalent of a monkey flinging poop at the zoo? The least they could have done was not copy so much of “Tombstone.” Zombie-Earp’s first act of law is to get rid of a couple bad guys in a bar, zombie-Doc totes around a shotgun and is nailing a whore, zombie-Earp outlaws guns in town, zombie-Earp catches the bad guy and puts him on trial only to have him released on a technicality, two sketchy friends of zombie-Earp show up to help him, all of the zombies have a shoot-out, and finally, zombie-Doc kills zombie-Ringo in a duel. All I can say is that’s a lot of zombie poop.

If the story rip-off wasn’t bad enough, on top of it Harris piled bad dialogue, poor editing, and unrelatable characters. Usually, we’re supposed to relate to the heroes so that we can root for them to succeed. The problem here is that we get no real depth or understanding of them to begin that process. Zombie-Earp is supposed to be this grizzled gunman who intimidates his foes, yet he giggles like a twelve-year old when he first meets the whore, becomes exasperated when she wants him to pick out curtains for their new home, and catches the bad guy by sneaking up him while he’s taking a dump. After all of that, he is constantly asking zombie-Doc to tell him what word he is trying to say. Really, this guy’s our hero?

Maybe we’re supposed to root for zombie-Doc. After all, the movie begins with him narrating, so maybe he’s really the hero. Except, he’s the sidekick to zombie-Earp, doing whatever he’s told, he’s shacking up with an ugly whore with bad teeth, and he spends most of the film polishing his rifle. My only real concern for him is that he’s not paying the whore too much because she’s obviously not earning it.

Considering zombie-Ringo is a weasel of a bad guy (what a waste of Irons) and the slut is mostly just annoying, the only thing left to hope for is a lot of gun fighting. At first, we’re not disappointed, with six men killed in the first fifteen minutes of the movie. Unfortunately, there’s very little shooting after that, which also explains zombie-Doc’s polishing fetish.

The only satisfaction we get is when zombie-Doc finally realizes that he needs to leave the town. It’s not satisfying because he shoots zombie-Ringo, as that may have been the worst duel in the history of westerns, but rather that he leaves his pussy-whipped, semi-retarded buddy in a town featuring three women, none of whom would even be worthy of brown-bagging.

I blame Harris because he deserves it as the director/producer/writer of this mess. The saddest part is that the story came from a book (a best-seller, though I don’t believe it). So, either he butchered the book or it was just that bad to begin with. Either way, I think the word he was looking for the whole time was “Appaloosa,” which loosely translates to “flying poop.”

Rating: You deserve all of your money back. Any possible value went out the window when you were forced to see a pasty-white, naked, Zellweger’s ass (literally) frolicking in a river.

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