Dr. Venkman Reviews: 'Appaloosa'

by Joey Paur

I am a huge fan of the western genre. It seems like these days it is a dying breed of film. I doesn't seem like people are going to see them anymore, and when people stop going to the movies the studios are more reluctant in making them. So I am very happy when I see a western film get made. Appaloosa is only playing in a few theaters right now and I didn't know what to expect when I got to the theater. I have to say there were not many people there and the people that did show up to see the movie were between the ages of 50 and 100 years old. I am not sure how much this movie is going to make, but if it doesn't make money it may be awhile before wee see another western come out in the theaters. It's sad. How can people not like westerns!? These are the stories of manly men! Maybe it's our lack of western films that are causing the males in our generation to be pampered pretty boys. America needs more manly men in it.

Appaloosa was a great little western. Its not one of those westerns that is over the top gun fighting. It has the gun fighting, but there is no unnecessary talking to move the story forward the gun fights get right to the point. The movie isn't about gun fighting. It is a character piece about two traveling friends named Virgil and Everett who are hired by the town of Appaloosa to keep a extremely disliked rancher named Randall under control and to help put him away for the murder of the last Marshall and his deputies. The town is afraid of this guy and they have no idea how to deal with him. This is something that Virgil and Everett are really good at and it seems like they enjoy their work. Things get complicated however when a woman Alli enters the picture. She throws Virgil and Everett off their game, and things don't go as planned.

I enjoyed Appaloosa. It's not the best western film ever made, but it's better than most of the Hollywood drivel that is being thrown at us these days. The story is reliable and grounded. It is not unbelievable and over exaggerated like a lot of westerns. That's not a bad thing either, it was a nice change of pace. I haven't seen a western like this since Unforgiven except is wasn't as good. I truly enjoyed Appaloosa mostly for its characters and clever dialogue. I also liked how the movie didn't insult my intelligence by throwing a dump truck load of cuss words at me. It works fine in moderation. It works in some shows like Deadwood but that show was a beast of its own.

The movie starred Viggo Mortensen as Everett Hitch who carries an eight gauge shotgun throughout the film. Ed Harris as Virgil Cole who liked using big words but couldn't remember them. Jeremy Irons as Randall Bragg who liked to piss people off. Renee Zellweger as Allison French who just had girl issues. The acting in this movie was exceptional by everyone involved. Zellweger fits right in with this movie genre she has the look and everything. She should stick with doing these period films.

Ed Harris also directed this film and did a remarkably great job. It had a very old school western feel to it.

Appaloosa is a first rate western. If you like the genre you will like this movie. If you are not into westerns then you may not like it. If you just enjoy going to movies because that's your thing then I recommend you go see this movie.

The Bottom line: Viggo Mortensen and Ed Harris are splendidly awesome in this movie. If nothing else go see it because they are in it.

Whatever you end up seeing always remember to enjoy your time at the movies.

-Dr. Venkman

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