Monday, January 31, 2011

Ecstasy of Gold

After watching The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, I've decided that A. Westerns are officially awesome, an opinion that has been coming on strong for several months now, and B. that it is one incredible movie. The scenery, the camera shots, the craft, everything was top notch. But here's the thing--it had the potential to be just an average movie. I mean, it would still be interesting, but there are two reasons and two reasons alone that The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly has risen to the status of iconic film: Clint Eastwood and Ennio Morricone.

As the Man With No Name, Clint Eastwood becomes the stuff of legend. Also WOW. Excuse me while I exhibit that I am, indeed, a girl, and say check him out.

He's perfection. Tall, lanky, with a dreamy squint in his eye, a scruffy face that's tested by time, and an oh-so-mysterious demeanor? Yes please. But on a more serious note, Clint completely embodies the Man With No Name. He plays pitch perfect, allowing expression and silence to create a character more compelling than any monologue-spouting Shakespearean. And know I say that as a card carrying Shakespeare lover. That's how serious I am about him. Without Clint's strong presence and mellowly golden voice (I just had to add that), this movie would be far less compelling. But once again, that's just my opinion.

What can't be disputed is Ennio Morricone's brilliant, and it's so true I'll state it again, brilliant score. Fun fact: the first ten minutes of the movie contain absolutely no dialogue. Also, no Clint Eastwood. It relies solely on Morricone's music to create an atmosphere, and create one it does. From the classic hyena mimicking theme to the rush of the finale, every song contributes to a desolate landscape, a world filled with morally gray characters we can't help but identify with and love. Morricone makes this more than a movie. He makes it an epic.

You know, I think that Clint describes it best. When describing why the Western genre is appealing, he states: "Westerns. A period gone by, the pioneer, the loner operating by himself, without benefit of society. It usually has something to do with some sort of vengeance; he takes care of the vengeance himself, doesn't call the police. Like Robin Hood. It's the last masculine frontier. Romantic myth. I guess, though it's hard to think about anything romantic today. In a Western you can think, Jesus, there was a time when man was alone, on horseback, out there where man hasn't spoiled the land yet."

So watch Westerns. Remember when life was technically simpler, but more full of potential. Identify with pure humanity, as you watch a race of creatures that struggled, that worked, and that succeeded. Try to find those values worth fighting for in your own life.

Or, if not that, at least enjoy some great scenery and crazy cool shoot-outs. Mexican stand-offs, here I come.


David's Holla Atchya! Blog said...

It really is refreshing to see pictures (flicks) with real principles (companionship, hard work) as opposed to senseless sex and irreverent humour. I bet you love Westerners so much because you ARE a Westerner!

Jason said...

I love Westerns and frankly it's much more simple than Eastwood states.

Westerns = badassness/ romanticism

Clint has and always will be my favorite cowboy (blasphemy to speak bad against the Duke but oh well. Another great movie where he is a no-namer and completly awesome is "High Plain Drifter." Not nearly as good as G,B,&U but still worth a few watches.

cinemafreak said...

I don't remember if it's in G, B, & U or one of the other two (I need to watch this trilogy) but the cutting in that final stand off is so amazing. Tension builds and builds and builds until JUST SOMEONE SHOOT FIRST.

Who's standing at the end? Clint. Of course.

Westerns are great for their simplified morality and gorgeous, primal settings. Good post, Cat.