***On my way over to G2's yesterday I picked up my mail, knowing that there would be three Netflix movies waiting for me. We had our choice: Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Unzipped (Documentary about the fashion industry), or Appaloosa (a Western with Viggo Mortenson and Ed Harris).
Based mostly on the fact that we would love to gaze upon Viggo's chin for any length of time, we chose to watch Appaloosa (also, we like horses). I'm not too proud to admit to the Viggo thing, besides, Viggo and Ed are great, great actors. It's about the acting, really.***
As the movie begins, Jeremy Irons (Bragg), with his band of motley gunslingers (euphemistically known as 'hands') are facing down the current sheriff and his two deputies. A couple of the gunslingers have done what gunslingers do, and the sheriff is attempting to arrest them. Tiring of this silliness, cause everyone knows that Bragg does what Bragg wants, Bragg picks up his rifle and shoots the three lawmen. One, two, three. Apparently they are never found, but townspeople are powerful worried.
We were worried, too. Only five minutes into the film and the cliche filled lines are multiplying like prairie dogs in spring. Luckily the powers that be in town have decided that the only thing to be done is hire two itinerant lawmen who conveniently ride into town later that day. They commence to lean their chairs back, prop feet on the ole hitching post, and chat together in laconic drawls.
This is when we notice it, and it is a serious issue. Viggo aka Everett Hitch, has grown a beard and mustache. His magnificent chin is completely obscured. This is wrong, I tell you! When Renee Zellweger arrives in town, something is wrong there, too. Her forehead is unnaturally immobile. No matter what expression her facial muscles attempt, it is hampered by her complete inability to move her eyebrows and forehead. G2 and I could not stop ourselves from looking at the strangeness of this forehead.
I've suddenly grown tired: To be continued. G2, jump right in and continue, since I'll be taking Ramona in for surgery in the wee hours tomorrow.
S2 really doesn't care for Zellweger, but we both admitted that this was the perfect role for her. What she failed to mention was that the only two things on her entire face that moved, OK three, were her blinking eyes and her mouth. It was as if her face had been soaked in botox. It became one of the stand out parts of the movie. Since we couldn't see Viggo's chin we focused in on Zellwegger's face. I have honestly never seen an actor deliver lines with a completely immobile face. If it wasn't botox or facial prosthetics, the woman really deserved an Oscar.
So anyway, she comes to town as the poor widow and jumps into the sack with Virgil Cole (Ed Harris). They are immediately "engaged," and buying the house down the street that is yet to be finished. At about this point even Mrs. French's immobile face couldn't keep our attention. She of course made a pass at Hitch, which made me pretty sure she was brought in by the "bad guys." Yada, yada, yada.
Biggest bad guy (Bragg) gets caught and sentenced to hang for the murders of the former law dudes. S2 comments: But you have to admit having Bragg caught with his pants down as it were, was one of the high points of the movie...hint, there is an outhouse involved.
Young man who testifies is told to grab his horse and get out of town by the judge, and we never see him again. S2: This is one of my biggest irritants with this film, the editing! The story lines begun, dropped and never heard from again.
Bragg is taken somewhere by train: long ride to the tree, I guess. Or perhaps they had paid for the cougar that does a cameo, so had to put him in somewhere; why not a cliff overlooking the train? S2: that cougar was just so random! It's a good thing we weren't watching in a movie theater, because both of us were hysterical.
Of course bad guys nab Mrs. French and hold rifle to her head and demand Cole turn over Bragg; all while the train has stopped for water/fuel. sigh. S2: Poor Renee, she had to try to look terrified with only her mouth, nothing else on her face could move.
Poor Hitch sees his bestest friend in the whole world, turn over the bad guy for release of the bad gal. Of course they don't release her. They ride off with both. Our marshall and his deputy go home (on foot) and grab three horses and quickly catch up to the bad guys; which led me to wonder why those bad guys couldn't get the kid...and where was he going anyway?? The stone faced seductress is spotted nekkid in the swimming hole with one of the bad guys. OK, it goes on and on.
Bottom line, what was Ed Harris thinking? I must admit that if this film was based on a book I am a bit curious to read the book. This was one lame film. (And I know lame!!) S2: I know! After Ed Harris previous work (Pollock), I was expecting so much more.
In the end, the town is again returned to Bragg, the top bad guy. Mrs. French and Cole (who has now been demoted to just plain citizen) move into the "cute lil' house" down the block. Hitch heads into the sunset without his lessor half. S2: He didn't head into the sunset before he resigned as a deputy, challenged Bragg to a duel, then shot him daid, daid, daid. Oh, yea; I forgot about that; well, actually I missed it.
The cougar and the kid are never seen again. Oh and the Indians...can't remember any thing about them except that they put a spear through the widow's corset; who never did so much as twitch her eyebrows through the entire film.
Hey, wait a second S2, I thought we were going to watch "Unzipped."
Ah yes, the Indians, I thought that bit with the corset was pretty funny, actually. They were a strange addition (and unneeded) addition to the story. Just another bizarre incident in a story full of bizarre incidents. No story arcs that made any sense, no Indians previously in the movie, they just suddenly ride through the story drop off the corset, and disappear, never to be heard from again. The same with the cougar, suddenly, there it was, and then it was gone, never to be referred to again.
Maybe we just don't like westerns, but I think it was more than that... I suppose, but sometimes I like them, and I ALWAYS enjoy Viggo. (Heart be still) Oh, we forgot about the "Hop-Sing" guy that worked in the kitchen. That was pretty weird.
It might be fun to just watch it for all the stereotyping. (Could that be what he was getting at?)