April 9, 2004
New York Times reporter Allen Barra called me Wednesday morning. He had seen the sneak of The Alamo the night before and he loved it. He kept trying to tell me scenes and I kept trying to shut him up because I want to see it first (I’m going tomorrow).
The film opens today and the newspaper reviews are pouring in and they’re not good. The Arizona Republic mauled it this morning, calling The Alamo ”uninspiring,” and “stiff.” They gave it two-and-a-half stars. The headline “Forget The Alamo,” seems to be catching on, as I heard Jerry J. say that the LA Times is running the same head for their review.
Perhaps it’s too historically accurate. I’m hearing and reading the same complaints that shadowed the film when it was tested last Christmas: “if you show all the faults of the Alamo defenders, who are you going to root for?” Bart Bull’s quote nails it, “Too bad accuracy isn’t art.” Amen.
More fallout on Deadwood’s raunchy lingo. I got this from a good friend of mine who is a huge Western fan and clothing expert (she specializes in making authentic women’s wardrobe):
“I subscribed the other day to HBO so I could watch Deadwood. Well I watched it for the first time yesterday evening. I was so appalled by the foul language that was being used that I couldn't watch it. After 15 minutes I turned the channel. I called HBO this morning and canceled my subscription. I told them in my opinion, the show was beyond [expletive] trash.”
And here’s more feedback from friends and family:
“I want to like Deadwood, after all it is a Western, and it has a pretty good look, but I too am appalled by the language. The producers say they researched and found that folks talked that way back then. Well, who did this research. I bet it wasn't any of the known scholars we are familiar with...probably a studio research assistant. Regardless of what words were used in 1876--even by the rough-hewn crowd, I can't believe anyone taked that way in Victorian times. I have been in the army, I've been around some pretty rough crowds, and I never heard that much swearing (almost every three words is a profanity), but the Hollywood crowd knows so much more don't they?”
—A certain gun expert who shall remain nameless. He has a column in True West
“I tried to get into the Deadwood series, but have given up after two tries. I have no idea how accurate it is to history, but it is just too dark and violent for me. I know the old West was a tough place, but this is just too much for me.”
The only person I know, besides Carole Glenn, who is totally taken with the dark and dirty series is my wife Kathy. She tells me she loves the “damaged” characters and potty-mouth talkers. At first this seemed rather odd, but then I remembered who she married.
“We have the power to do any damn fool thing we want to do, and we seem to do it about every ten minutes.”
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