I continue to study the Western genre. I have now launched a podcast about the making of Western films. Listen here
This film is mostly forgotten for good reasons. I wondered when it popped up on HBO Max why I’d never heard mention of it, especially since some scenes were filmed in Arizona. The script was co-written by John Carpenter and apparently he was going to make it in the early 80s and chickened out (or maybe he knew he had a stinker on his hands?). Regardless, it is very difficult to imagine Carpenter working with this material but perhaps his treatment would have been vastly different.
I wrote recently that Destry Rides Again should be the template for most Western comedies and this film could have learned from its predecessor. But instead, the creators aim for farce and fall flat on their faces. I don’t think there’s a single funny moment involving Anthony Edwards. I like the actor in supporting roles but I’ve yet to see him carry a picture and here his one-not performance gets tired too quickly. Louis Gossett Jr. is a fine choice but he’s on auto pilot here. The rest of the cast is a waste of good character actors, including Joe Pantoliano doing a pointless accent. The bad guys are boring too, an unforgivable sin in this genre.
It’s a painful, cringe-worthy experience that I would not recommend to anyone. Disappointing because this could have been the Western version of Jake Speed but it’s have the wit or the grit.
Watched on HBO Max