July 27, 2011Thanks to our Westerns Editor Henry Beck—Carole Glenn, Ken Amorosano and I got to see a sneak of Cowboys & Aliens last night at one of the Tempe Marketplace Harkins' Theatres. Place was packed. It was supposed to be a media sneak peek, but the place seemed to be salted with quite a few civilians (possibly radio show winners, etc).
The good news: it's good. In hindsight, I think it's safe to say you really couldn't have Steven Spielberg, Brian Grazer and Ron Howard producing and have it be a stinker. It may have been flawed (The Missing) but even when these very smart boys miss (Hook) you can still sense the intelligence and craft.
Unfortunately, for me, at around the age of 60, everything has started to remind me of something else. From American Idol (Ted Mack's Amateur Hour) to Lady Ga Ga (Madonna) to The Beatles (The Crickets) I just have a very jaded perspective on all things "new" and "different". In the opening of C&A our Man-With-No-Name, Daniel Craig (Steve McQueen), is accosted by dry gulchers (The Shootist) and from there he goes into a dusty saloon where he gets into a fight (entire Encore Westerns catalogue).
We have a peyote scene (Young Guns), we have a character who cheats death (entire Netflix catalogue) and we have whore humor (Cheyenne Social Club) and we have an ending where the protagonist is framed in a doorway and walks away (The Searchers). There are fifty other examples, but you get my drift (Louis CK).
Cowboys & Aliens is going to open big and now the question is, how big and how long will it run? I kind of doubt it will hit the crazy stratosphere of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, which pulled in $600 million worldwide before it opened in the U.S. and has since racked up $1.2 billion in box office. Yes, with a b, and that number is a week old!
Carole Glenn gave it a seven (out of ten) and told me she really enjoyed the humor. Sam Rockwell totally played against type, in fact I didn't recognize him at all. Walter Coggins (Strother Martin) is wonderful and Harrison Ford (Richard Boone) plays mean and crusty quite well. Ken Amorosano "loved it" and our Westerns editor pronounced it:
"A good Western, good sci-fi, but not a great movie."