Contributing writer for The Artifice.
Junior Contributor I
Is the Western coming back?
In the past decade, there have been some quality Westerns released such as No Country for Old Men, There Will Be Blood, and Django Unchained, as well as solid remakes of 3:10 to Yuma and True Grit. There is also the upcoming Bone Tomahawk to look forward to, and obviously the highly anticipated Hateful Eight. Eastwood’s Unforgiven in 1991 was considered by many to the the "eulogy" for the Western genre and a fitting end at that, however it can be said that there has been a resurgence of sorts since then. As one of the most recognizable and classic genres, is the Western is making a legitimate comeback? Or will it die out again by say, 2020?
Ebert was an absolutely pivotal player in the film industry, no doubt. I like that he used 4 stars instead of 5, as it was sort of built-in hedging of expectations. What I mean is this: think about how many low-brow yet still occasionally mildly entertaining popcorn flicks rife with CGI and corny one-liners that have “5 STARS!!!!!!!!!!” emblazoned in bright lights throughout their trailers. Are any of those the next Citizen Cane? No, absolutely not, never. Furthermore, Ebert was not afraid to swim against the current. I recently read his review of Fellini’s 8 1/2, which began with a disclaimer describing how most other critics had pretty much universally panned the film. Yet he drew his own analysis and critiques. There’s a reason why he is the only critic to have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Interesting stuff! I had a hearty chuckle when I saw a still of The Mountain as the picture accompanying this article. This beard revival could be in part a response to the feminization of the modern man in through other mediums (skinny jeans, man-buns, manscaping, and “guyliner” to name a few) and the old black coffee drinking, log-splitting hairy man has been somewhat dormant of late, dare I say hibernating? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against androgyny or similar things by any means. However, there is a connotation for heavily bearded men being one or more of the following: unemployed, recently dumped by a significant other, or just plain dirty. It is good to some semblance of a balance after the somewhat recent 180 with regards to portraying men, which way too gun-ho when it came to reversing the stereotypes of masculinity established so long ago.
Great article! However, it is worth noting that there was in fact a flashback-like device in Jackie Brown. The bag switching scene in the clothing store was shown three different times from the points of view of Jackie herself, followed Louis and Melanie together, and finally Max Cherry. While not a typical flashback in practice or narrative function by any means, the fact remains that the internal time of the story was rewound for the sequence. Anyway, building off of what you said about QT’s contributions to the cinematic world, he is among the most feverish supporters of using good ol’ fashioned film stock as opposed to digital. He’s also vehemently against streaming services such as Netflix.