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PCR #445 (Vol. 9, No. 40) This edition is for the week of September 29--October 5, 2008.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"Appaloosa"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

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MOVIE REVIEW
"Appaloosa"  by Mike Smith
RETRORAMA
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SPORTS TALK
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Justice 13 Years Late .... Aaargh - Part 4 .... Well Duh! .... Greed: Good, Stupidity: Bad .... .... .... .... .... And The Oscar For 1997 Should Have Gone To...  by Mike Smith
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Warner Brothers     
Starring: Ed Harris, Viggo Mortensen, Jeremy Irons and Renee’ Zellweger
Directed by: Ed Harris
Rated: R
Running Time: 1 hour 54 mins


The western. A genre that has had long periods of popularity. It’s also had its hard times. In the late 1950s almost every popular television show had something to do with cowboys and their guns. Thanks to John Wayne, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry and Clint Eastwood, the western was a staple of Hollywood. And thanks to Ed Harris and company, it still is.

Marshall Jack Bell (Bobby Jauregui) and two deputies arrive at the ranch of Randall Bragg (Irons) intending to arrest two of Bragg’s employees on rape and murder charges. Rather then turn them over Bragg kills all three lawmen and disposes of their bodies. Back in town, Virgil Cole (Harris) and his long time associate, Emit Hitch. They have been riding together for many years, kind of a two man “clean up squad.” You see, when bad people come to your good town, these two can be hired to make everything right again. After all, says Hitch, “It’s what we do.” Together Cole and Hitch begin to “take out the trash.” Joining them in town is the recently widowed Mrs. French (Zellweger), prim, proper and one heck of a piano player. She and Virgil begin to develop a friendship just as Virgil decides to bring Bragg in for the murder of the former Marshall. But when Virgil must choose between the law and love, things finally come to a head.

In 2000, Harris directed himself and Marcia Gay Harden to Oscar nominations in “Pollock.” In fact, Harden won the big prize that year. As good a film as “Pollock” was, it has taken almost a decade before Harris went back behind the camera again. And his sophomore achievement is something to be proud of.

Harris himself heads a fine cast of talented actors, all of who do outstanding work. Even smaller roles are handled by great supporting actors like Lance Henriksen, James Gammon and Timothy Spall. Visually the film is stunning, with the American southwest jumping out on screen. And attention has been paid to even the smallest detail. Where many a western will feature the full, leathery-tanned faces of its cast, here the toughest man, and those around him, remove their hats to reveal a white band across their forehead, proof that the sun isn’t EVERYWHERE in the desert, it just seems like it. And that sun sheds light on one heck of a western, one that will join the ranks of “Unforgiven” and “3:10 to Yuma” as modern classics.

On a scale of zero to four stars I give “Appaloosa”
 


This week's movie review of "Appaloosa" is ©2008 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2008, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2008 by Nolan B. Canova.