Something Big had its moments. I did get quite a few laughs throughout the first half at least. I also remember The Undefeated being a decent film with a good story but I’ll have to check it out again. I really like John Wayne, so it’s weird to be accused of being a hater but I can’t deny that he made some phony western movies. I think it’s a pity since Chisum could have been so good. The problem with it is that the music doesn’t fit. You see a gunfight and get comedy music and everything feels too light-hearted. Imagine if they actually made a darker film with Wayne! If you remove the music from some of the scenes at the beginning, you get a completely different feeling. I turned The Train Robbers off half way through. I’ll try and watch it again. McLintock? I’ve always avoided because I don’t like O’Hara and seeing her over John Wayne’s lap is enough to put me off.
I don’t think I made it all the way through this. I like every other Stewart western I’ve seen though.
Add ‘Big Jake’ (1971) to the list of Wayne turkeys … it seems to follow that too familiar pattern of Big John surrounding himself with friends, family and to a certain extent, lackeys … who stand around smiling in awe at the big man. Ok, so they’re having fun hanging out with the legend … but the cinema audience aren’t.
That reminds me of when Burt Reynolds started doing a series of Cannonball Run-type movies. He’d cast his friends, have all the outtakes at the end…they were having more fun than the audience. I got that feeling in Ocean’s Twelve as well.
Big Jake is a good one, not great, but quite watchable. And way better than every Andrew V. McLalala western. Which are all more or less forgettable. Just like The Train Robbers and the uninspired True Grit sequel Rooster Cogburn.
Wayne made some bad decisions when choosing his directors after True Grit. Some of the films had potential, but that was wasted.
Actually even his most interesting films of the 70s The Cowboys and The Shootist could have been better. And The Shootist is a pretty good film.
Watchable yes … but far from being good - especially when Wayne’s characters name ‘McCandles’ is continuously mispronounced by everyone in the film … it’s should be pronounced, Mack Can Less … not sounding like Candle with a Mac and a ‘S’ … do your fucking research film makers!
Every watchable film is a good film for me. Big Jake is 6/10, and climbed on my entertainometer from an initial 4/10 rating.
Chisum is about 2/10, maybe less. The Train Robbers earn 3/10 … well, on a good day …
That’s ok, we all have our own rating system - I watch plenty of films which are definitely not good, but obviously they have to be enjoyable on some level.
Regarding these later period John Wayne movies, I don’t get upset over them if they’re not so hot … everyone has an off day. For me they are too much John Wayne and his buddies going through the motions but not really delivering anything satisfying, which is in stark contrast to a film like ‘The Cowboys’, which was thoughtful, entertaining and original … and not directed by McLaglen ! … but to be fair Andrew V. McLaglen did make ‘Cahill: US Marshall’ which I enjoyed very much.
I remember really enjoying Big Jake, so that reminds me to give it a rewatch. The Cowboys is a great one and Cahill is pretty underrated, I like that one.
I agree. I don’t need to review Something Big because you said it better than I could.
The Burt Bacharach soundtrack was mind-bogglingly unnecessary. Nothing about it worked.
And the gatling-gun was rather pointless, to a robbery where they could’ve just as easily used their rifles. I was expecting some massive army. 3-out-of-10.
I just watched Blueberry AKA Renegade and it was terrible.
Top Gun, 1955… adequate entertainment, starring Sterling Hayden as a reformed outlaw, returning to his hometown to warn about his former gang’s plans to loot it. The usual overwrought motivations and misunderstandings, made ‘adequate’ by Rod Taylor as a loudmouthed, trigger-happy punk. 5-out-of-10.
An opinion wholeheartedly shared by Philippe Charlier, son of writer Jean-Michel Charlier, who co-created the comic book series upon which the film is based. After Jean-Michel’s untimely death in 1989, Charlier Junior inherited the rights to all his father’s series (mostly featuring pilots, pirates and cowboys), among them Buck Danny (a pilot), Tanguy et Laverdure (two pilots), Barbe-Rouge (a pirate), and Les Gringos (a pilot and a cowboy). Since Blueberry’s other creator, artist Jean Giraud (alias Mœbius), had greenlighted Jan Kounen’s film adaptation, Philippe couldn’t scupper the project, only traduce it and deny permission to credit his father in the movie. Giraud, on the other hand, liked and supported Kounen’s peculiar approach to the source material and was happy to make a cameo appearance at the film’s beginning.
Mœbius in Blueberry, first from left, under the Bonelli marquee. “I went to Spain for the last day of filming. There was an amazing atmosphere! Jan was filming Blueberry’s arrival as a young man in the town of Palomito. In this scene you briefly see a guy dressed in black from head to foot, quite a mysterious character. This character is me!” (Female First)
It could have been so much better but it ended up a poor man’s Dead Man and even that’s being too kind.
It really has almost nothing to do with the comic books, the whole film is more about Kounen’s own trippy shamanic experiences. If I think it that way and not as a Blueberry film I kinda like it.
I watched a bunch of Sam Elliott westerns recently, including Conagher, The Quick and the Dead, Desperate Trail and The Shadow Riders. I have to say that I really like Elliott as an actor and he’s perfect in westerns. It’s a shame he has been confined to TV movies for the most part. Conagher is probably the best of the Elliott westerns I have seen and had a sort of Lonesome Dove feel to it throughout. The Quick and the Dead (not to be confused with the Gene Hackman film) was also pretty good. The Desperate Trail isn’t the sort of western I normally like since it felt very modern but I was surprised how much I enjoyed it even though it was almost ruined by a repetitive soundtrack. The Shadow Riders was definitely the worst of the bunch and it’s such a shame since it started off so well and then just dragged until the end.
1948, Blood On The Moon, with Robert Mitchum. Starts-out with authentic atmospherics and wide-open locations, then ends with a tiny shootout on a claustrophobic-looking studio-set. I don’t get it. Plus the plot just isn’t the kind of plan a cattle-rustler would think-up…roundups and stampeding back and forth. They’d be too skinny to fetch a good price. 4-out-of-10.
Too bad, for me this is a pretty strong western with interesting characters and a more complex story than usual. Violent and dirty too. And Mitchum is fantastic.
It needed another 30-minutes running-time to smooth everything out.
bel Geddes’ father rounding-up his herd, hiding the cattle on an Indian Reservation, then sneaking them off the Reservation before a corrupt Agent could somehow ‘speed-up’ a US Cavalry quarantine-order, with rustlers stampeding the cattle back onto the reservation… and that was just the first-half of the plan.
It’s a good Barbara bel Geddes vehicle. And Mitchum captured the reality of his character quite well.
Gun Duel In Durango, 1957… wasn’t necessarily a duel, but has a well-filmed payroll-office robbery as a centerpiece. One of Steve Brodie’s best roles, as a killer-outlaw. The script doesn’t explain character-motivations, like a little kid digging a 6-foot grave, but it moves along satisfactorily. 4-out-of-10.