Wednesday, February 07, 2018

More "Hostiles" Hatred

February 7, 2018
   I have asked all my friends to weigh in on "Hostiles," for a round table discussion of the film to be published in the next issue of True West. If you read Paul Hutton's recent take on the new Western you perhaps thought we might finally have a Western worth leaving the house to see. 

The artist Thom Ross

   Well, Thom Ross, who lives in an Alamo-styled house outside the backwater town of Lamy, New Mexico, finally got to town to see the film and he just filed this report (Warning: rough language and plenty of spoilers ahead):

"The last two movies I've gone to see in a theater have been 'The Fuckin' Revenant' and 'Fuckin' Hostiles'.........I don't think I'll ever pay another nickel to see another western as long as I live.

"'Hostiles' was so bad I was afraid that the music was by Carter Burwell, it was so friggin' lugubrious.  And I have driven from New Mexico to Montana.....just did it last September.  What one realizes is that between New Mexico and Montana there are a lot of really BIG mountains and the best way to avoid them is to go around them.  This can easily be done by traveling along the eastern edge of these aforementioned mountains.

"Indeed, the main freeway between these two states is east of the Rocky Mountains.  Santa Fe - Trinidad - Denver - Cheyenne - Casper - Montana.

"So our intrepid soldier-boy (played by the frozen face of Christian Bale) takes HIS group of rag-tag, ne're-do-wells OVER the mountains.  I was afraid that they'd never make it to Montana within the time constraints of a movie.  But somehow they did, but not before that incompetent soldier-boy got almost every member of his band killed.

"I especially liked the bad soldier tied to the tree and the nicer soldier decides to let him loose!  WOW......I started to laugh when the prisoner, once the shackles were off, KILL that stupid trooper who was so full of good intentions.  How many times have I seen that?)

"And every scene was shot as if the backdrop were paintings from the Old Masters..........indeed, the scenery was much more interesting than the stupid film.  

"And at the end when the mean ol' white racist rancher rides up with his three bearded, brainless sons.......the old man has been smart enough to LIVE to BE old and his three murderous sons (Ike, Phin, and Billy????) were well on into their late 20's or 30's..........yet they make a child's error of confronting soldiers (who are usually armed) and wind up getting all four of themselves killed.

"Thank god the white guy and the white BLONDE woman survived....along with the little Indian boy with the perfectly braided hair who probably wound up being a crack-head on the Crow rez.

"I also liked the fur hunters who grabbed the women and took them to their camp to rape them and tie them up....and they were like 200 yards from where they had stolen the women in the first place.  

"At least the pretentious music keep reminding me that this movie was "heavy" otherwise I would have thought it was a Monty Python skit.

"I think I'll go watch John Wayne's 'The Alamo' where they have the more historically accurate birthday party for the little girl during the middle of a siege in which they are ALL gonna be fuckin' KILLED! At least THAT was more believeable.

"I guess my final complaint is that not EVERY SINGLE PERSON IN THE MOVIE GOT KILLED.  At least at the end the train the three survivors got on was heading EAST, and not West.  ADIOS!"
—Thom Ross

Thom Ross with his plywood cutout of Charlie Russell

   The irony here is that both Thom Ross and Paul Hutton are great friends and agree more than they disagree on all things Western.

Last meeting of the Hat Nazi Club, December 19, 2016
L to R: Rusty York, Thom Ross and Paul Hutton

"Hostiles is, like all great westerns, a quest story--but this time the journey is both physical and spiritual. The film is action packed, but the greatest impact is emotional. Beautifully filmed, brilliantly acted by all involved, and insightfully written, Scott Cooper's film is the best western of the last twenty years. That is was not nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award is a shame."
—Paul Andrew Hutton


  1. Well shit ! What's a gal to do. Most likely I'll wait until it comes out on Netflix or Amazon Prime so if it's really that crappy I can say it out loud in my own living room "That sucked" or "What a great movie". Cause either way, no one really cares what I think.

    1. I actually think Thom is over-reacting here. The film has many merits and is worth seeing on the big screen. Just my two cents.

  2. It was okay, although I agreed with his points. We spent the ride home discussing all those ideas. My romantic heart was glad bale boarded the train at the end.

  3. Saw it today on a very cold Minnesota afternoon. The transformation of the character played by Christian Bale was worth the 2hrs 15mns of the film. He pulled that off superbly. Beautifully shot and for the most part, well written dialogue but Bale gets the best lines. I was very impressed with the role of Master Sgt Metz played by Rory Cochrane. Such a damaged soul. Overall, a good flick.

    1. See! I'm glad you didn't listen to Thom and went and saw it.

    2. Well I really wasn't going to but this damn Minnesota winter is making me stir crazy and I had to get outta the house. Though I don't agree with Thom's rant, I did find it quite entertaining. He's a real pistol.

  4. I was afraid I would not get to see the movie in a theater. It finally came to Rapid City right during a busy period for me doing stagehand work. I went to see the last show tonight and came out of the movie very conflicted. It looked like an old fashioned classic western with a great cast and nice scenery. The story was kind of like the method actor westerns you might see from the mid 60'd through the 70' was like "Soldier Blue" mixed with "Heaven's Gate". My biggest complaint is WHY WHY WHY set it in 1892? If it was 1872 I could have bought it....(in 1892 they could have put the Cheyenne's on a train and rode them into the Crow reservation where out the east window of the train you could see "Last Stand Hill".) Get off at Fort Custer and you are a 30 mile horseback ride to the Northern Cheyenne Rez) Even though they were Dog Soldiers...which were Southern Cheyenne's. I am still trying to process all of this. Some of the Military mistakes were maddening. Every soldier seems to buck the regulation of keeping your top button buttoned...and a member of the 9th or 10th cavalry would not be joining up with a detachment of the 2nd Cavalry without a really good reason. And the first sergeant of a Company (Don't get me started on that Master Sgt rank in the credits) would not go unless the entire company went. His job is to look after a Company. A prisoner convicted of murder would not be allowed to wear Sgt chevrons, and would most likely have gone to the pokey with a Federal Marshall. I laughed out loud twice...when the column was shown riding the ridge at sunset with the 2 lone pack mules that magically held enough BIG tents & equipment for a clown car. But I liked the action.... something most westerns today water down, I just wish the writer/director had read some history books. OK...I'll stop now.

  5. I will see it on vidio

  6. Anonymous10:59 PM

    Well it’s been 3 yrs since this thread so this will likely never be seen; nevertheless, I need to vent after seeing the film on stream service.
    Thom may have overreacted a bit in his review but still has valid points but what really ruined my 2 hour investment was Capt. Blocker MURDERING the last surviving rancher after the gun battle. Let’s not forget that those ranchers had the SAME outlook that the captain had prior to this journey.


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