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Thursday, October 04, 2007


BLOGGER'S NOTE: You are again warned that spoily spoilers follow.

I had the same problem with "3:10 to Yuma" that I had with "The Brave One" -- I was asked to swallow implausibilities dry, only to become alienated by a head-scratching "twist" ending.

But I liked the Russell Crowe/Christian Bale Western much more than the Jodie Foster revenge drama. (Neither film suffers from a deficiency of gunfire.)

I've been in a Western phase. I'll watch anything from low-budget '30s "oaters" to '40s singing-cowboy flicks with Roy Rogers and Gene Autry to sweeping John Ford classics to weird spaghetti westerns. A little more than two years ago, I inexplicably fell in love with the genre. (I remember I was forcing Kathy to watch John Wayne oaters; she would laugh at them.)

But I didn't feel compelled to see "3:10 to Yuma" -- that is, until I spotted a still with Peter Fonda. That's all I needed to buy me a ticket.

Fonda was glorious. He looked like hell -- in a good way. I was liking this movie. But then came those pesky implausibilities.

Early in the film, Fonda gets gut-shot. It looks like he's gonna die. A veterinarian yanks out the bullet. The next thing you know, Fonda is right as rain, and riding with the posse. Wha?

And why was Russell Crowe allowed a fork to eat dinner with? Given his character's reputation, they should have Hannibal Lecter-ized this dude!

Still, I was down with this movie.

Then came the near-climactic scene in which Crowe has his hands around Bale's throat, strangling him. Bale croaks out a little biographical anecdote, and Crowe turns sympathetic, suddenly deciding that he and Bale should run a gauntlet of bullets, Newman-and-Redford style. Crowe then whips out his gun and wipes out his own gang -- the one that spent the entire movie trying to liberate him.

I think I'll watch go home and watch "Jessse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter" (1966) to erase the bad taste of that ending.


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