I've been on a bit of a western kick lately, and I have to really applaud Simon Wincer's epic mini-series Lonesome Dove. I remember watching this as a twelve-year-old back in Colorado. My family and I gathered every night around the ol' electronic hearth to watch the story of Gus McCrae and Woodrow Call and their journey to Big Sky country in Montana.
The casting is excellent and Duvall gives one of his best turns as McCrae. Jones is good but he's hard pressed to match the presence and charisma that Duval brings to each of his scenes. The steady Chris Cooper shows up here and Robert Urich and Danny Glover hold up their ends of the bargain. We also get Anjelica Huston and Diane Lane in this fine story that rarely registers in the discussion of the best westerns of the last half-century.
Is it because it first aired on broadcast television? Maybe it's the size of the thing?
Hard to say, but I can't imagine the story working on any smaller a canvas. Wincer does an excellent job of creating pathos by showing mundane life in pastoral Texas. I think the slow build-up gives us clear insight into the grudging affection Call and McCrae share for each other.
There are some tremendous individual scenes in this film. I love the horse rustling clip and the image of that water moccasin attached to the young irishman's cheek has been burned into my brain all of these nineteen years since I first saw it.
3:10 to Yuma.
There. I put it where it belongs in terms of great westerns over the last couple of decades.
This weekend we get Vantage Point. It looks like a neat little thriller. Usually I go all in for stuff like this. I enjoy the whodunit aspect and I like films that play with technology and surveillance. That said, I don't know what it is but I just am not a fan of Sigourney Weaver. Can't say why, but she bugs me a little. Her and Annette Benning.
Her presence wouldn't preclude me from taking a look, but I doubt I'll see this one in the theaters anyway.