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Old February 22 2013, 05:58 PM   #1
jefferiestubes8
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Western genre feature film resurgence 2010-2015

It looks like the Western genre as feature film are about to have a small resurgence in the next year or two that should wrap up a 5 year resurgence.
Recently we had
the $38 million budget 10-time Academy Award winner True Grit (2010)
Jonah Hex (2010)
Meek's Cutoff (2011) with Paul Dano & Bruce Greenwood
the sci-fi western Cowboys & Aliens [2011]
the CGI action comedy western cartoon Rango [2011]
Dawn Rider (2012) with Christian Slater, Donald Sutherland [direct to video]
modern day "contemporary Western" El Gringo (2012)with Scott Adkins, Christian Slater
the big budget $100 million Spaghetti-style Western Django Unchained (2012) nominated for Academy Awards.
next month's Wyatt Earp's Revenge (with Val Kilmer [direct to video]
this year's Gold (german language shot in British Columbia, Canada with a strong female protagonist. [2013 film festival in Germany but probable video release]
this Summer's big budget $250 million action/adventure The Lone Ranger
this Autumn's fantasy Western Dead in Tombstone with Mickey Rourke, Danny Trejo [direct to video]
all of the above westerns without budget listed are for under $7 million budget. Westerns are a real risk and that is why so many are low budget.

With AMC's Hell on Wheels, FX's "Justified" (modern day Western), and A&E's Longmire (modern day Western)

along with spaghetti western genre Django Unchained being nominated for 3 Academy Awards the overall Western genre and the various spinoffs are sure to see an extended resurgence. In current deals and pre-production are comedy Westerns:
Ridiculous 6, the Western-themed laffer that Happy Madison [Adam Sandler] had moved from Sony to Paramount last year. That film will be moved back until next year at least. It averts a race of comic Westerns, as MRC has a pretty firm spring start date on the Seth MacFarlane comic Western, A Million Ways To Die In The West, Amanda Seyfried and Charlize Theron also starring, with Universal the favorite to acquire the project.
It is cyclical. 10 years ago we had a small August release of the Kevin Costner, Robert Duvall film Open Range the $26 million budget feature that made $60 million in the USA. and again in 2007 with 3 notable major budget films
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)
There Will Be Blood (2007)
and the modern day western No Country for Old Men (2007) which after winning awards I think set up the modern day western genre for resurgence on TV.
and the next year another traditional western Appaloosa (2008) with Jeremy Irons, Ed Harris, Viggo Mortensen

I am waiting until Longmire shows up next month on Netflix to try it out. I wasn't wild about Hell on Wheels and honestly haven't seen the recent films except the poorly written Cowboys & Aliens and all 3 2007 films.

related:
the other thread for TV Westerns:
a new Western as a TV episodic series? discuss

Last edited by jefferiestubes8; February 22 2013 at 09:01 PM.
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Old February 23 2013, 11:05 AM   #2
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Re: Western genre feature film resurgence 2010-2015

I have been very disappointed in Hell on wheels.
For a show about the "manifest destiny" of the railroad expansion into the west,the show seems IMO so claustrophobic.Not productionwise,the on location shoot complete with trains,a town and scores of extras looks amazing.But the concentration on so few characters(so many of who are unsympathetic)makes the show seem(at least to me)small.
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Old February 23 2013, 01:33 PM   #3
stj
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Re: Western genre feature film resurgence 2010-2015

Justified is set in eastern Kentucky. The Hatfields and McCoys miniseries, set a short distance further north, was also called a Western by some people. Django Unchained obviously references a famous Western series in its title, but it too is set in the South, not the West. In what sense are any of these a Western?
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Old February 24 2013, 01:17 AM   #4
BruntFCA
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Re: Western genre feature film resurgence 2010-2015

stj wrote: View Post
Justified is set in eastern Kentucky. The Hatfields and McCoys miniseries, set a short distance further north, was also called a Western by some people. Django Unchained obviously references a famous Western series in its title, but it too is set in the South, not the West. In what sense are any of these a Western?
It depends on how you look at it. For me a "Western" is about style not location, for example I would call 2005s "The Proposition" a Western despite being set in Australia.
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Old February 24 2013, 05:13 AM   #5
sojourner
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Re: Western genre feature film resurgence 2010-2015

I think many people throw in any movie where people ride horses, wear six-shooters and cowboy hats.
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Old February 24 2013, 07:29 PM   #6
the G-man
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Re: Western genre feature film resurgence 2010-2015

The bulk of the movies/TV shows in the OP weren't hits. The ones that were are only loosely Westerns. I'm not sure how that qualifies as a "resurgence."
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Old February 24 2013, 08:47 PM   #7
flandry84
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Re: Western genre feature film resurgence 2010-2015

The "western"is perhaps the singlemost flexible genre in movie terms.

Straight action-adventure,comedy,musical,blaxploitation,allegorica l,horror,crime,historical,
kung-fu and even sci-fi.
And still Hollywood can't get it to work.
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Old February 24 2013, 08:51 PM   #8
Christopher
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Re: Western genre feature film resurgence 2010-2015

^Make a list of films in any genre, and you'll only find a small percentage that work. It's not about any particular genre, it's just Sturgeon's Law.
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Old February 24 2013, 09:50 PM   #9
Harvey
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Re: Western genre feature film resurgence 2010-2015

stj wrote: View Post
Justified is set in eastern Kentucky. The Hatfields and McCoys miniseries, set a short distance further north, was also called a Western by some people. Django Unchained obviously references a famous Western series in its title, but it too is set in the South, not the West. In what sense are any of these a Western?
When surveyed -- I believe in the early 90s -- even Western historians couldn't agree on the boundaries of the region. (Many respondents were not even internally consistent in their definitions.)

Of course, the Western genre, at least in any useful sense, has never been as strongly linked to rigid geographic boundaries as you are suggesting (especially on film).
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Old February 24 2013, 10:32 PM   #10
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Re: Western genre feature film resurgence 2010-2015

/\/\Reading back I realise my post was rather incoherent.
I simply meant that the western has accomodated many different styles.
There have been comedy westerns,kung-fu westerns,blaxploitation westerns etc.etc
The western is a very broad church.


Also rereading the o.p,an Adam Sandler "comedy"western?
Fuck to the no.
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Old February 24 2013, 11:10 PM   #11
stj
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Re: Western genre feature film resurgence 2010-2015

Harvey wrote: View Post
When surveyed -- I believe in the early 90s -- even Western historians couldn't agree on the boundaries of the region. (Many respondents were not even internally consistent in their definitions.)

Of course, the Western genre, at least in any useful sense, has never been as strongly linked to rigid geographic boundaries as you are suggesting (especially on film).
One difficulty the historians would have is that part of the notion of the "West" means the frontier, implicitly opposed to the settled, even urban, East. In the South, with its endemic backwardness, it is indeed hard to find a boundary between the cultured regions and the wild ones. And in all of the country, the frontier moved through time.

As for the Western genre, especially on film, being strongly linked to anything other than the setting, the difficulty is that, unlike the mystery or the romance or generational saga, there is no Western genre: There is no particular kind of story that is a "Western." What are called Westerns are in fact a wide diversity of genre stories and pretty much all that links them is a setting in what the perpetrators choose to call the "West."

As for those works that choose to incorporate motifs or references from previous "Westerns," I suppose you could
choose to dub them Westerns, and quit thinking about them. But this wouldn't really tell us anything about the real nature of the story. It would be like saying that The Jetsons was scifi, while ignoring the fact that it is actually the same genre, same kind of story, as The Honeymooners.

In any event, you aren't really making an argument but a quibble. Unless you have some thoughts on what kind of story a Western is, a sketch of the very basic kind of story structure found in the alleged "Westerm" genre? I personally have my own ideas on what might constitute a kind of core, a kind of hard Western that relates to the rest vaguely like the rest of SF relates to hard SF. But surely you would find yours more interesting. (And you would be surprised at how interested I would be in reading about them too.)

The modern Hollywood usage for "Western" does seem to be code for "hicks flicks." I'm sure you could do better than that.
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Old February 25 2013, 12:33 AM   #12
Harvey
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Re: Western genre feature film resurgence 2010-2015

That survey of historians I mentioned is discussed here: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4519496 (it turns out it also surveyed western fiction writers and magazine editors and publishers). It was conducted in 1992.

In your earlier post you implied that the films and television you named weren't Westerns because of their geographic setting. In other words, they weren't Westerns because they didn't take place in the "West." This assumes that the "West" can be easily and rigidly defined. The '92 study shows that even the experts are unable of consensus on such a definition.

Now you are claiming -- I think -- that genre is entirely linked to story, suggesting that The Jetsons be excluded from science fiction because it is modeled after family sitcoms. That seems to contradict your original point, no?
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Old February 25 2013, 05:30 AM   #13
jefferiestubes8
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Re: Western genre feature film resurgence 2010-2015

See the wiki
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_(genre)

Under themes
And characteristics
to clarify...

I think most people know a western has horses and is set in american west between 1820-1900.

The PBS historical reality show "Texas Ranch House" from 2006 http://www.pbs.org/wnet/ranchhouse/
felt like a western with some of the scenes.
I wouldn't mind seeing another one with a different group of people maybe all adults and no kids. Not on PBS but instead on cable.
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Old February 25 2013, 05:44 AM   #14
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Re: Western genre feature film resurgence 2010-2015

jefferiestubes8 wrote: View Post
I think most people know a western has horses and is set in american west between 1820-1900.
Or is set in a different place and time and emulates the tropes of the Western genre, such as Outland or the cartoon BraveStarr.
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Old February 25 2013, 05:47 AM   #15
Nerys Myk
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Re: Western genre feature film resurgence 2010-2015

Christopher wrote: View Post
jefferiestubes8 wrote: View Post
I think most people know a western has horses and is set in american west between 1820-1900.
Or is set in a different place and time and emulates the tropes of the Western genre, such as Outland or the cartoon BraveStarr.
Or a starship.
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