April 10, 2004
Allen Barra has an excellent piece on David Crockett and Wild Bill Hickok on Salon.com this weekend. Check it out. It is a subscription site, but you can click on a day pass, and they let you read the article. He is quite positive about The Alamo movie and the HBO series Deadwood. I wish more people were warming up to this movie (And so does Disney. A report I read says that their last three movies, Hidalgo, Ladykillers and Home On The Range have been “disappointing” and they are desperately banking on the success of The Alamo.). But the reviews I’ve seen so far are not good. I’m going to see it today (and I’m doing a radio show about it on KTAR afterwards, live from Rawhide).
USA Today’s headline yesterday was “Alamo: too true to be good.” They end the piece with this line: “It’s a tough call, but sometimes, there’s something to be said for myth.” This speaks directly to the refrain that most of my friends and I subscribe to, and that is: “Why doesn’t Hollywood just tell it like it really was?” And usually, we add the kicker, “It would be so much more interesting.” Well, if The Alamo tanks I’m afraid we are dead wrong. Consider this: Disney hired some of the best Alamo historians that money can buy and had two of them on the set virtually all the time. They painstakingly researched each character down to their marriages, drinking preferences and diseases. Not to mention the multi-million dollar set done to the exact specs of the original, although they did move the chapel forward for camera angle purposes, but still. And, if the movie doesn’t do well, what does that say? I’m afraid it says most people would rather see John Wayne or Fess Parker, or someone bigger than life that they can root for. The biggest complaint is that there’s nobody to root for. They are too true to the history. Gulp! I hope I’m wrong. We’ll soon see.
Working hard on the Custer artwork this weekend. Meghan, RG and Gus have been working very hard to help me get the copy and maps in and we finally got almost everything shoe-horned in late yesterday. I came home at six and rewatched the Michael Donahue Custer ride video, on the actual battlefield. They video-taped two riders going from Sharpshooter Ridge all the way down to Ford D. It was helpful to see the landmarks like Medicine Tail Coulee, Calhoun Ridge, Keogh Horseholder Draw, Weir Point, etc. Really rough land, harsh and spread out with that big, Montana sky. Inspiring though and I really want to go there and see it in person.
“Coaches have to watch for what they don't want to see and listen to what they don't want to hear.”
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