Thursday, July 04, 2024

Hubris and Homage Saddles Costner's Epic Horizon

 July 4, 2024

   Feel the moment, go with it, embrace it, let it flow. . . at least that's what I told myself as Kathy and I went into the Desert Ridge AMC Theater (#16) that holds 38 people. We had a reservation ($21, includes one popcorn for $9), and "Horizon" allegedly started at 11 a.m. but there must have been at least ten minutes of insufferable local ads before the start of a three-hour-movie? Oh, and before the movie started we had twenty minutes of trailers and there is Wolverine vs some Spiderman type character and Hugh Jackman says, "F#*k you!" maybe three times in the trailer? Really? In the flippin' trailer? Is that word now that acceptable in mainstream America

The Story of A Nation Unsettled, Indeed!

Apparently at Marvel the answer to that question is "F#*kin' A!" So, that certainly put me in a good mood.

   Like I said, the theater holds 38 people and I counted seven of us as the movie started. It was basically three sets of guys and their wives (and maybe a sister?) and the guys were all my age (leading Boomers). Another bad sign for Kevin.

   Meanwhile, the feature started at about the 11:23 mark and I have to say, I was looking at the time quite a bit. Not a good sign.

   I wish I could say the overall story arc made up for the convoluted and semi-decent storytelling but it did not. Then with all of the homages to John Ford (Moab standing in for the San Pedro Valley, the cavalry look, etc) got in the way of everything for me. In the end, I thought it was a deadly combination of hubris and homage. A reported 171 speaking parts. This is one ambitious puppy. Here's two nitpicks:

   I'm sorry, but to use the modern term "indigenous" not once, but twice—in dialogue!—is just beyond the pale for an authentic western. Okay, this just in: James B. Mills just sent me three newspapers from the 1870s and 80s all of them using the term "indigenous" so I stand corrected. And perhaps the term "hubris" applies to me as well? Ha.
   The post commander gives this speech about our futile efforts to accomplish anything in the Wild West and the words were good, but the delivery was so flat and beyond wooden. It wanted to be Ward Bond, full of gusto and bombast, but No!

    However, the biggest surprise to me was when we got out of the theater, I asked Kathy how much she hated it and she said, "I loved it. It was very much a novel on screen and I would give it an eight." Wow. I was stunned to say the least and I fully expected her to dislike it because it was I who drug her to see it. So, that says, to me, I need to give it another chance and rewatch it—on streaming, thank you very much—and we need to argue about it because we love what Kevin was TRYING to do! Plus, I have friends who totally loved it and that includes Stuart Rosebrook and Rob Mathiash, who both thought it epic and fun. We are considering a six page feature on the arguments about it, so that will be fun as well.

   And, there's more, but Happy Fourth to you and yours and we'll catch up on the other side.

"Westerns are not in fashion, and there hasn't been a successful theatrical western series in the last 50 years."
—David A. Gross, a film consultant who publishes a newsletter on box office numbers explaining the slow box office for Horizon. And, by the way, what was a "theatrical western series" from 50 years ago? Perhaps Young Guns I and II?


  1. Anonymous5:10 PM

    I really liked it (saw it Saturday in Little Rock, Ark and the theatre was almost full) but I shudder to think what Thom Ross, and probably Johnny Boggs, thought of it. They are 2 tough critics.

  2. Anonymous6:27 PM

    Was so looking forward to this movie but have heard some of the same comments. Think I would’ve walked out after the trailers…too bad. Lotta interest in America regarding the West and the way you present it really is appealing. Thank you!

  3. Guess I was a day late and a dollar short again when I sent that Gross comment to you early THIS morning. :(

    We saw Grant and Kelly in "It Takes A Thief" at the local bijou. Great as ever. ;)

    Hitchcock's cameo still makes me chuckle.

  4. Anonymous10:38 AM

    Speaking of Young Guns, I just watched it again a couple of weeks ago. I'll bet it had been 30 years since I last saw it. It held up much better than I expected, apart from the goofy soundtrack. And...what fun to see you in the documentary "extra" accompanying the digital copy of the film!


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