Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Somebody Needs to Put Jesse James on the 3:10 to Yuma

Do you remember that Brady Bunch episode where Bobby becomes obsessed with Jesse James, and then his parents yell at him for idolizing a criminal, and then Bobby has this crazy nightmare where the entire Brady family gets murdered by Jesse on a train? First off, that episode haunts me to this day. Secondly, they just don't make kids' shows like they used to.

Anyway, that Brady Bunch episode was all I could think about as I started watching The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford this past weekend. I realized that pretty much all I knew about Jesse James came from that cheesy TV show. TAOJJBTCRF is a true story, so at least I learned something--but good God, was it a painful process...a two hour and forty minute-long painful process! Unless a movie is called Gone with the Wind or is one of the Lord of the Rings films, it has no business being that long. There were some scenes (a lot of them, now that I think about it) that were absolutely pointless. I kept thinking that perhaps these seemingly meaningless scenes would come back into play later in the story... but no, they didn't. The saddest thing is that the tale of Jesse's life and death is actually extremely interesting, so this could've and should've been an awesome movie. But it needed to be about one hour and thirty minutes instead. And it wasn't. Plus, it had this narrator whose voice didn't fit with the movie, and who seemed unnecessary in the whole scheme of things.

The cast, however, was great... Brad Pitt made a surprisingly good outlaw, Casey Affleck was mega-creepy, etc., etc. But they couldn't save the movie from being a snoozer. A commenter on summed up my feelings best: "This was the most boring movie ever." Save yourself three hours and read the gist of the story here instead. If I still haven't convinced you not to ever see this movie, here is its 2.5 minute trailer... the pacing of the actual film is about 200 times slower than this preview:

Perhaps I was especially disappointed by TAOJJBTCRF because I had recently enjoyed another Western, 3:10 to Yuma (which is a remake of a 1957 film of the same name). I've never been a fan of any TV show or movie having to do with cowboys, outlaws, the Wild West, gunslinging, robberies, or that period in our nation's history. So I went into 3:10 to Yuma with very low expectations. But I must say, it held my interest and I thought it was really good--mostly because Christian Bale and Russell Crowe rocked. Russell Crowe played a Jesse James-like character, Ben Wade, who was supposed to be put on the 3:10 train to Yuma (to get him to prison). Christian Bale, Peter Fonda and some other peeps were supposed to get him to the train. The Australian One did an excellent job of making you want to root for the bad guy. Even though the climactic ending of the film was fairly ridiculous (though some people loved it), I would still recommend the movie overall. There was a lot of violence in the sense that there was a lot of shooting, but they didn't show much blood or gore, which was a relief. While I think TAOJJBTCRF trailer makes that movie look better than it actually is, I don't think the 3:10 trailer below does its film justice. AND it's 40 minutes shorter!

I'm all Westerned out now for a while.

- e


Anonymous said...

Oh, e.....we sure see this movie differently. All of us in Dix watched the movie this past weekend and all enjoyed it. MY take is "this is NOT about the life and death if JJ.....but rather a sad commentary on a young man of such low self-esteem with big dreams of recognition and purpose." All assassins in recent history seem to have the same mental problems Bob Ford had a century ago.

However, the acting was great...I especially liked that democratic political powerbroker James Carvill's performance as the Governor of Missouri...and after his new Coca-Cola ad on the SuperBowl...looks like he has another career !

Casey Affleck's eyes are all consuming but he has to quit biting his fingernails.

As for the length of the movie...not once did G or I have to take a potty break as it moved along so fast !

So, e.....that's my story and I'm sticking to it ! Auntie MA

Scott said...

e, I feel like I have gotten to know you through your LOST blog. Anyway, I decided I would crossover today and I couldn't agree more the ending of 3:10 to Yuma. It held my interest the entire time and Russell Crowe and Christian Bale were great together. Then...we get to the ending...what was that? I won't spoil it for those reading who may have not seen it yet, but it just didn't go with the movie. It turned what would have been a really awesome movie into just a good movie. (I would still recommend it.)

Anonymous said...

per your recommendation, we watched "3:10 to Yuma" on Friday night. Totally agree - this was a great movie! The biggest testament to this is that I actually stayed awake through the whole thing. Usually if we start a movie at home past 8:00 I'm out in about 15 minutes. Anyway, I liked the ending, though J agrees w/ you that it was ridiculous.