Film: Deadwood: The Movie

Before I get into my review of the Deadwood movie, I have a confession to make: I like how the show ended.  In fact, it is perfect.  Deadwood is a show about carving a society out of the wilderness but at the same time attempting to stave off civilization.  Robert E. Howard was wrong: civilization always wins.  The show ends perfectly because it ends when free Deadwood ends.  Time marches on, but the thing about the town that made it such a fascinating subject for a show no longer exists.

My thoughts are also colored by my view of season 3 more broadly.  Deadwood started with the brilliance and heat of a raging wildfire.  By season 3 it only smoldered.  Elements outwore their welcome for me.  The respective storylines for Calamity Jane, Cy Tolliver, and Steve the Drunk each consisted almost shouting epithets.

So how does the movie measure up?  It does finally give Calamity Jane, criminal underused by the show, something to do.  People die.  A large chunk of the movie is extraordinarily tense storytelling.  Its suffers, though, from the usual problems of reunion shows and it undercuts the show ending, all while providing no real closure.

Pic courtesy of HBO

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Fiction: Rough Animals by Rae DelBianco

“You don’t mess with Box Elder people you dumb fuck.”

23-year-old twins Wyatt and Lucy Smith are just scraping by, alone on their Utah ranch since the death of their father.  A ranch they’re fixing to lose after an ill-fated encounter by Wyatt with a girl half demon on an early morning hunt leaves them short enough cattle to sink the whole venture.  And so Wyatt leaves the ranch on a mad quest to hunt down the girl and get restitution somehow, anyhow.

Things get awful bloody from there as Wyatt encounters bikers, cartels, and drug manufacturers and the girl that may be the most dangerous of all of them with nothing but a rusty shotgun, a glass eye, and indomitable human spirit.  All set against a sere, windblown Utah seemingly empty of anything but coyote, cattle, crank, and cowboys carrying assault rifles.

Rough Animals is Rae DelBianco’s debut.  And what a damn debut it is.

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