This is not a drill…on January 13, 2010 at 12:01 am
Actually it’s pretty cruel of me to mention the word “drill” today since the artist wife got two root canals done yesterday. She was feeling incredibly lousy and yet still managed to get this week’s comic finished up for y’all, so worship her. Or at least give her a pat on the back (but gently). It’s also her birthday this weekend, so birthday wishes are happily accepted as well.
Truth is I was having trouble coming up with a title for this week’s blog since I’m still suffering through the haze of some nasty new head cold I got for Christmas. Seriously, it seems like there’s no time for plague like the Holidays. All the relatives and friends gather, someone out of the group happens to be sick, and before you know it everyone’s winging their way back to their own corners of the world and carrying a few extra passengers. Makes you wonder why so many zombie apocalypse stories are set during Halloween, when it’s December that’s the real viral culprit. Or heck, how about New Year’s Eve? Let’s see you run from the horde with twelve Jagermeister shots in your belly, buddy. And no one’s going to notice anything amiss if people are stumbling around and groaning.
So a few weeks back I watched a 1993 flick entitled “Geronimo: An American Legend“. As you might guess, it was based on the real life story of the (in)famous Apache chieftain. Quite a cast list, as well: Wes Studi in the title role, plus Gene Hackman, Matt Damon, Jason Patric, and Robert Duvall. You know, people always talk about the famous squint Clint Eastwood has, but Eastwood has nothing on Duvall. If someone can find documented proof that Robert Duvall can open his eyes wider than a mean half-mast, feel free to send it my way, because until I see it happen I consign it to the same skepticism I reserve for concepts like the Easter Bunny, or RP-PVP.
Anywise, Geronimo: AAL is not a bad movie, but it’s not a great movie either. As Westerns go, I’ll say this much for it: it got me thinking about a film aspect you never experience in any of the classic Westerns I can think of, and that’s voice-over narration. Geronimo: AAL engages liberally in voice-over narration, and for lack of a better term, it was jarring to me. Or at least took me away from the story rather than immersing me in it.
I think my feeling here is that the Western is a very stoic genre, because it deals mostly with stoic characters. There’s not much room for angst on the wild frontier. As far as introspection goes, the best cowboy actors would speak volumes with their silence. We didn’t need to hear an internal monologue from John Wayne or Gary Cooper… we read all we needed to on the chiseled slates of their faces as they leaned on a corral post and watched the herd graze, or eyed the steadily ticking hands of a clock. Didn’t need no damn fool narration telling us what they were thinkin’.
That said, I don’t know if Geronimo: AAL was intending to be a Western, or a just a very heavily dramatized documentary with overtones of finger-wagging at the paleface. Not that the paleface doesn’t deserve some finger-wagging: it’s a documented fact that the US Army had to recruit and use Apache scouts to hunt down Geronimo and his band, then when it was over those scouts were not only kicked out of the army, but arrested and shipped into the same exile as the brothers they helped capture. I can understand a certain amount of political and military expediency, but that was just a dick move. Then again, world history sometimes seems like nothing more than one long string of dick moves. If history is truly written by the victors, well, I suppose the victors just don’t really mind being seen as a-holes, or they’d do a better job of covering their tracks.
That’ll do for this week, I reckon. Time for some more cold medicine. And again, happy birthday to Dawn!