Western genre feature film resurgence 2010-2015

Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by jefferiestubes8, Feb 22, 2013.

  1. jefferiestubes8

    jefferiestubes8 Commodore Premium Member

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    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:
    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: Feb 22, 2013
  2. flandry84

    flandry84 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    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.
     
  3. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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?
     
  4. BruntFCA

    BruntFCA Commander Red Shirt

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    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.
     
  5. Scroogourner

    Scroogourner Admiral Admiral

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    I think many people throw in any movie where people ride horses, wear six-shooters and cowboy hats.
     
  6. the G-man

    the G-man Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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."
     
  7. flandry84

    flandry84 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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

    Straight action-adventure,comedy,musical,blaxploitation,allegorical,horror,crime,historical,
    kung-fu and even sci-fi.
    And still Hollywood can't get it to work.
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^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.
     
  9. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    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).
     
  10. flandry84

    flandry84 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    /\/\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.:devil:
     
  11. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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.:techman:
     
  12. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    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?
     
  13. jefferiestubes8

    jefferiestubes8 Commodore Premium Member

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    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.
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Or is set in a different place and time and emulates the tropes of the Western genre, such as Outland or the cartoon BraveStarr.
     
  15. Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

    Happy Xmas (War Is Over) Fleet Admiral Premium Member

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    Or a starship. ;):p
     
  16. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Setting 1820-1900 as your limit excludes The Wild Bunch, set in 1913. The "American West," of course, is a vague and contested term. And even if you include the entirety of North America under the umbrella of the "West," you'll exclude plenty of terrific films like The Proposition and Outland.

    (Okay, that last one is more of a guilty pleasure.)
     
  17. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The Turner thesis is wrong, something best exemplified by a comparison of US westward expansion with Russian expansion eastward, I think. The supposed controversy isn't much more serious than the controversy between evolutionism and intelligent design in biology. Worse, in literary and cinematic terms, the equivalent of the Turnerian process discussed in the link is exactly what I was talking about. Namely, what kind of narrative structure underlies the alleged Western genre?

    Turner's narrative thesis for US history boils down to being a man's man on the frontier made the US a nation of men, who were naturally free. (Turnerians would likely wince at such bluntness.) Are you suggesting that this is the basic story structure of the Western?

    Regardless of whether you are able to answer such a simple question, you have misinterpreted a couple of things. First, a fluid definition of the is not the same thing as a completely formless definition. Movies can be in debatable frontier. For instance, The Wild Bunch is set in 1913, not 1915. Would two years make such a difference? Yes, at least for everyone who knew that the US was engaged in WWI. The makers knew that setting was a key, if not the key to defining the Western.

    Citing this one is a little odd, because a movie in some respects about the loss of the Old West had by its nature had to be set sometime when the Old West was gone but close enough that old men could have failed to realize it. And insofar as The Wild Bunch was about the nonexistence of the legend of the West, it had to be set close to another period so that its characters wouldn't appear anachronistic in light of expectations about Westerns.

    Remarks on The Jetsons are similarly inept. Of course The Jetsons is scifi, and I never said otherwise. The subordinate clause may be subordinate but still counts towards the meaning of the sentence. To rephrase, it's not enough to note that The Jetsons uses scifi tropes. That doesn't tell us anything significant about the show. The fact that ii's modeled on The Honeymooners does.

    Lastly, you still haven't made a point, which leads me to suspect that you agree that "Westerns" are hicks flicks, but find that impolitic to admit.

    That link doesn't work for me. As for your definition, of course it needs to be applied with an appropriate fluidity of judgment about geography and chronology. But, yes, that does seem to be the core. There is such a bewildering array of true genres that it is hard to know what else you can point to as an identifier.

    Tropes are very superficial. Outland may have taken a plot from High Noon but its corporate villains were very different thematically. I believe it is obtuse to think otherwise. Insisting on judging everything by its outward appearance only is equivalent to rejuecting the very concept of criticism, I think. That is your privilege, but it doesn't follow that you therefore have anything to contribute to an attempt to analyze the Western.
     
  18. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Heck, I even think of the 2006 NYC-set thriller 16 Blocks as a sort of Western.

    And don't forget Once Upon a Time in Mexico!


    And flandry84, I agree: "Adam Sandler comedy Western" sounds like the pre-conception murder of humor, Terminator 1-style. :scream:
     
  19. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Thanks for that post, stj. It's nice to be reminded that debating you is a senseless and masochistic exercise. You can presume whatever you'd like about me, but I am not going to engage with you any longer.
     
  20. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^^^^You haven't engaged yet, since your inept quibbles don't count. Please do explain what you deem the useful sense of the term Western genre. Your suggestion that it's not strongly linked to geographical suggestion is far, far too meaningless to be useful, after all. I am so interested to know what you could possibly be thinking that I won't even comment, unless positively.