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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Movies: Braveheart and Outlaw King

I should really cover more history here.  The history of the Scots-English border region is the history of hillbillies.

Netflix’s recently released Outlaw/King starring Chris Pine spurred me to finally pick up my old review copy of Michael Penman’s Robert the Bruce: King of the Scots.  I haven’t gotten very far, but Penman’s book is focused on the Bruce’s reign after Bannockburn, so William Wallace appears relatively early.  And I can’t read about William Wallace without pulling out Braveheart.  I took advantage of needing to grade a giant stack of essays to watch Outlaw/King and rewatch Braveheart.

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Movies: Rush (1991)

I love 70s movies.  This is a topic I will return to.  The most relevant reason for my love of 70s cinema is that it was the last time Hollywood dealt regularly and evenly with the rural working class.  My original choice for this week was the Burt Reynolds vehicle Gator (available to stream for free with Amazon Prime), but I wound up rewatching Rush with my wife’s family, so Rush it is.  Rush was made in 1991, but it is a 70s movie in more than setting.  And it is a period piece that doesn’t commit the usual sin of getting cutesy and clever about it.

Rush takes place in 1975. Rush is based on a largely autobiographical novel inspired by Kim Wozencraft’s stint as a narc in Tyler, Texas, but the movie is set in an undisclosed location that is probably somewhere on the Gulf coast between Houston and Corpus.

Kristen Cates, played by Jennifer Jason Leigh, is a rookie narcotics officer is paired up with veteran officer Jim Raynor, played by Jason Patric.  Jim isn’t old, but after going for early-career Jim Morrison in The Lost Boys, Jason Patric goes for late-career Jim Morrison here, and like late-career Jim Morrison, Jim Raynor wears his years pretty damn heavy.

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