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Unforgiven

Unforgiven  

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  1. 1. Does "Unforgiven" deserve its spot on the AFI List?

    • Yes.
      9
    • Deserve's got nothin' to do with it.
      6

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  • Poll closed on 01/18/19 at 08:00 AM

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Amy & Paul saddle up for Clint Eastwood's revisionist 1992 Western Unforgiven! They ask if Gene Hackman is truly the villain of the piece, put the film in the context of Eastwood's career, and praise the script's comic touches. Plus: Screenwriter David Webb Peoples discusses Unforgiven's origins, and Saul Rubinek (W.W. Beauchamp) tells stories from the set that shed light on Eastwood's directing style.

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Edited by DanEngler

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Unforgiven, Taken, and John Wick all play into the fantasy that many men have( which I have sometimes myself) that they live in society by society’s rules by choice. That if someone breaks the rules of society, they can operate outside those rules and even better at it than whomever has wronged them. Will Munny has chosen to be in society. When he is finally driven by Gene Hackman to abandon his civilized ways, he has the power destroy everyone and take over the town. It’s a fantasy like inn taken that older men really find comforting. “If I was pushed, i could do anything”. 

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gonna try to remember to post these here for archival purposes if I see them

here's this week's poster from twitter

DwkLAtXUwAAXMBq.jpg

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No Simpsons references to this specific movie, but some great Eastwood parodies:

 

"It means he gets results, you STUPID CHIEF!!"

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To Amy's quibble that Munny shot terribly with his pistol initially, but was perfect in the final shootout, I think that tied into what Little Bill was saying to Beauchamp.  Little Bill was saying that it didn't matter how quick someone was on the draw or how well they could shoot with nothing on the line, it mattered whether they were able to keep their cool and make the shot they needed to make with their life in the balance.  The conversation was directly about that poor schmuck English Bob killed who shot himself in the foot trying to draw and still almost outdueled the drunk Bob.  The implication during that conversation is that English Bob was the kind of sharpshooter who was worthless with his life on the line, as we saw when he didn't trust himself to outshoot Little Bill in the jail but had no problem picking off birds from the train.  Little Bill sees himself as the perfect gunfighter (a Tim Duncan, if you will), whose ability to stay calm and focused and execute the fundamentals have served him to that point.  But Munny transcends this, being better than usual under pressure (like Michael Jordan, perhaps).  The threat and thrill of violence and the danger of being killed is something that fueled him for so much of his life, so after fighting against it so long, he not only succumbs to it, but embraces it, if only for the moment.

At any rate, I like this film quite a bit, and was much more in agreement with Paul in this episode.  Unforgiven will almost definitely be higher on my personal rankings of these films, and probably in the top 40.  (I've got it slotted in at #11 so far.)

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This and “Duck Soup” were my “Pennies from Heaven”-- films I have been looking forward to most in regards to this podcast, yet also dreading for fear of how newer viewers might react to them. 

Here are a few afterthoughts:

1.     The final fight: I don’t think Munny turned into a super-cowboy at the end of the film.  It was not a smooth display of skill as you might have seen from “the man with no name” in the Leone westerns, but an instance of dumb luck (“deserve’s got nothing to do with it”) and a callback to what Bill had said earlier and what "bleary" mentioned above: “… being a good shot, being quick with a pistol, that don't do no harm, but it don't mean much next to being cool-headed…It ain't so easy to shoot a man anyhow, especially if the son-of-a-bitch is shootin' back at you”.

And this isn’t a triumphal, John Wick-style act of revenge.  This was a ruthless killer who had been fighting tooth and nail through the whole film to be the reformed man he claimed that he was, finally embracing the killer he had always been.  There’s no triumph in his turn, as you would find in Eastwood’s older films.  There is only mud, liquor and brutality.  He is a “killer of women and children” and he says as much as he un-heroically rides off into the darkness. 

2.     Sex and Munny (pun intended): I’m not one to easily defend Eastwood when it comes to sexual politics- stories of his past relationships have tended to taint my view of his body of work.  But I’ve never read anything negative or clichéd or “boys will be boys” in his approach to sexuality in regards to William Munny.  This is a movie full of detail, and I think the age of his wife was meant to reflect the 1880s.  This was a script that barely changed from director to director (if at all), and I imagine that David Webb Peoples already had this in the script as a period-accurate detail.  And as for his dialogue with Delilah, I’m not sure it’s 100% necessary for the story, but I don’t think it hurts it either.  I think it’s just another bitter vignette about the frailty and sadness of this time and place, where this little bit of conversational misunderstanding leaves poor Delilah a little sadder.  And in the end, the misunderstanding never resolves.

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26 minutes ago, bleary said:

To Amy's quibble that Munny shot terribly with his pistol initially, but was perfect in the final shootout, I think that tied into what Little Bill was saying to Beauchamp.  Little Bill was saying that it didn't matter how quick someone was on the draw or how well they could shoot with nothing on the line, it mattered whether they were able to keep their cool and make the shot they needed to make with their life in the balance.  The conversation was directly about that poor schmuck English Bob killed who shot himself in the foot trying to draw and still almost outdueled the drunk Bob.  The implication during that conversation is that English Bob was the kind of sharpshooter who was worthless with his life on the line, as we saw when he didn't trust himself to outshoot Little Bill in the jail but had no problem picking off birds from the train.  Little Bill sees himself as the perfect gunfighter (a Tim Duncan, if you will), whose ability to stay calm and focused and execute the fundamentals have served him to that point.  But Munny transcends this, being better than usual under pressure (like Michael Jordan, perhaps).  The threat and thrill of violence and the danger of being killed is something that fueled him for so much of his life, so after fighting against it so long, he not only succumbs to it, but embraces it, if only for the moment.

At any rate, I like this film quite a bit, and was much more in agreement with Paul in this episode.  Unforgiven will almost definitely be higher on my personal rankings of these films, and probably in the top 40.  (I've got it slotted in at #11 so far.)

I very much disagree with Amy's take that the movie is aggrandizing Will as a character. To me the tone of the scenes she referenced (the conversation with the prostitute and the final shootout) is far darker than that.

It seems to me that the whole arc of his character is that he was never really devoted to being a non-violent family man. That's why he can't properly ride a horse or handle a gun when he's playing that role. He can't enjoy sex, so he refuses the offer (meanwhile his buddy Ned has no problem enjoying himself). It's only when Will fully commits to being the killer that he's able to take down Little Bill's whole posse (and it's no coincidence that this only happens after Ned has been killed). To me that's not aggrandizement, that's an examination of the dark heart of the classic Western. The camera putting you in Will's POV in that final scene is a challenge, not a ploy for sympathy.

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4 minutes ago, sycasey 2.0 said:

I very much disagree with Amy's take that the movie is aggrandizing Will as a character. To me the tone of the scenes she referenced (the conversation with the prostitute and the final shootout) is far darker than that.

It seems to me that the whole arc of his character is that he was never really devoted to being a non-violent family man. That's why he can't properly ride a horse or handle a gun when he's playing that role. He can't enjoy sex, so he refuses the offer (meanwhile his buddy Ned has no problem enjoying himself). It's only when Will fully commits to being the killer that he's able to take down Little Bill's whole posse (and it's no coincidence that this only happens after Ned has been killed). To me that's not aggrandizement, that's an examination of the dark heart of the classic Western. The camera putting you in Will's POV in that final scene is a challenge, not a ploy for sympathy.

And in fact, the film comments on the aggrandizement of Will (and Little Bill and English Bob) through Beauchamp, who is perfectly willing to hero-worship and mythologize any gunslinger up until the moment when he's bested by another gunslinger.  I love the satirical way the film uses Beauchamp to criticize the very notion of aggrandizement of Western violence.

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4 minutes ago, bleary said:

And in fact, the film comments on the aggrandizement of Will (and Little Bill and English Bob) through Beauchamp, who is perfectly willing to hero-worship and mythologize any gunslinger up until the moment when he's bested by another gunslinger.  I love the satirical way the film uses Beauchamp to criticize the very notion of aggrandizement of Western violence.

Yup, and the fact of the Schofield Kid desperately wanting to be such a gunslinger while also being literally myopic.

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I have to agree with Amy about the fact that the only westerns that seem to appear on the AFI list (as well as those typically considered on THE CANON) are revisionist westerns. I think it's somewhat debatable as to which category THE SEARCHERS falls into. Even as a fan of that film, I could be fine with it being left off the list, or at least moved far away from the Top 20. I too was pretty shocked that STAGECOACH had been removed. For someone with such a varied body of films, I wish there were more than 2 John Ford titles on the list period. Something like STAGECOACH, LIBERTY VALANCE, HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY, or MY DARLING CLEMENTINE. I've always been a big UNFORGIVEN fan as well, but again, it seems to be a western that is very much in response to the films from the genre's past. I was actually quite surprised that David Webb didn't seem to count THE SEARCHERS as one of his influences, as I always thought Will Munny had a little of Ethan sprinkled in him. But also, there's plenty of Blondie from The Man With No Name films, which I suppose aren't eligible for the list because they're Italian productions. I feel as if UNFORGIVEN would have a welcome place on the list if there weren't so many other westerns that are a little more representative of what the genre used to be, with maybe an OX-BOW INCIDENT or RED RIVER. I don't think UNFORGIVEN is ever considered without the Best Picture win and it being Clint's most famous American made western. 

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10 hours ago, pomattovich said:

I don't think UNFORGIVEN is ever considered without the Best Picture win and it being Clint's most famous American made western. 

Oscar wins do seem to give films a leg up in making it onto the list. The AFI's guidelines even specifically mention that awards recognition should be a major criterion for voters, so I suspect that's a big part of it.

So Unforgiven probably makes it because it's a way to get Clint Eastwood on there and it's his most-awarded work.

Also, welcome back to the forums, Pomatto!

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While I'm not overly familiar with westerns, my takeaway from Unforgiven was that it wasn't really all that revisionist.  Paul and Amy brought up some angles that I hadn't noticed so I guess it is more than I thought at first, but still overall, it feels to me to be basically built on the usual Western characters and telling a fairly typical story (an old vet pulled back into his old life; a 'search' for a bad guy). This isn't particularly a knock on the film though, I think it is told very well and gets a lot of strength from using those types of characters. It does infuse all of them with more moral depth which often makes them more interesting than, say, John Wayne in The Searchers, but still I'm not so sure.  Perhaps I need to watch more classic ones than I have, though, granted.

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3 hours ago, AlmostAGhost said:

While I'm not overly familiar with westerns, my takeaway from Unforgiven was that it wasn't really all that revisionist. 

Even though the stuff I'll be talking about is mostly the stuff I'm coming down hard on the movie, but I still think the overall premise/sketch of the plot is still solid to me. So, I guess I have to ask, who do you think was the good guy in this movie? Not the protagonist, but the good guy? Was there one? In most westerns, is there usually a good guy? If so, who would it be in this movie?

And I think I felt it was trying to be more "subvert the genre" than be entirely revisionist (though you have to be revisionist in some of the basic tropes in order to do that).

 

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6 hours ago, AlmostAGhost said:

While I'm not overly familiar with westerns, my takeaway from Unforgiven was that it wasn't really all that revisionist.  Paul and Amy brought up some angles that I hadn't noticed so I guess it is more than I thought at first, but still overall, it feels to me to be basically built on the usual Western characters and telling a fairly typical story (an old vet pulled back into his old life; a 'search' for a bad guy). This isn't particularly a knock on the film though, I think it is told very well and gets a lot of strength from using those types of characters. It does infuse all of them with more moral depth which often makes them more interesting than, say, John Wayne in The Searchers, but still I'm not so sure.  Perhaps I need to watch more classic ones than I have, though, granted.

I agree to an extent that it isn't super revisionist but I'm also not an expert on westerns.

I think one thing that is revisionist is making the characters a bit more grey morally. Most classic westerns are very good guys versus very bad guys. Characters are either white hat or black hat. Even the shady characters are definitely one or the other.

But here, everyone is somewhere in the middle. Clint is our hero (I guess?) but he's an assassin who really can't do anything else since he's failing at raising his family. The sheriff is normally a flawless, perfect character but here he's unmarried with no potential suitor, bad at carpentry, and brutality beats English Bob. Normally, if a character puts up a bounty, they have the money instead lying about it to get someone killed. And so on with every character.

But further, death is a real problem. In most westerns, there's no real after effects. The sheriff may not want to kill but he's justified because he only kills bad guys. But here death has consequences beyond stopping evil. Schofield kid is transformed by killing. That kid who gets gut shot has a long, drawn out death and he is not a main character. Clint is going to hell (metaphorically but he acknowledges it) for what he's done.

I don't know that these are huge changes to westerns but filling in the gaps is unusual. But I also think there are westerns that kind of addressed this stuff (The Good The Bad and The Ugly doesn't have any true heroes, High Plains Drifter has a...not great protagonist, for example, and Blazing Saddles is of course a commentary on westerns but in a different way). But it's a lot of little things like a conversation that absolutely wouldn't happen in a normal western. Unforgiven isn't to westerns what Scream is to slashers (which is also a slasher despite subverting slashers)but there's some subversion going on.

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7 hours ago, AlmostAGhost said:

While I'm not overly familiar with westerns, my takeaway from Unforgiven was that it wasn't really all that revisionist.  Paul and Amy brought up some angles that I hadn't noticed so I guess it is more than I thought at first, but still overall, it feels to me to be basically built on the usual Western characters and telling a fairly typical story (an old vet pulled back into his old life; a 'search' for a bad guy). This isn't particularly a knock on the film though, I think it is told very well and gets a lot of strength from using those types of characters. It does infuse all of them with more moral depth which often makes them more interesting than, say, John Wayne in The Searchers, but still I'm not so sure.  Perhaps I need to watch more classic ones than I have, though, granted.

Adding to what grudlian said, I also think there's a fair amount of subjectivity in the distinction between classical Western and revisionist Western.  Eastwood might not consider Unforgiven revisionist because he saw his character as the good guy and he saw Little Bill as the bad guy.  I am more inclined to agree with Amy, that Little Bill is a mostly good guy who made a poor judgment decision in pursuit of his goal to minimize violence in his town.

I think the same could also be said for The Searchers, since many audiences of the time likely saw Ethan as a traditional hero, while others consider him as an antihero because of his bigotry and brutality.

Amy made the point that it seems like there aren't any truly traditional Westerns on the AFI list, but I wonder where they'll come down on Shane.  I certainly see it as traditional, since there are clear black hats and white hats, but there is also some added emphasis on the brutality of gun violence, so I can see how some people would see that as revisionist as well. 

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9 hours ago, ol' eddy wrecks said:

who do you think was the good guy in this movie? Not the protagonist, but the good guy?

It's not Clint?  Aren't we rooting for him the whole film?

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4 hours ago, AlmostAGhost said:

It's not Clint?  Aren't we rooting for him the whole film?

But is he good guy?

He's well known as a cold blooded murderer of women and children. His story is he's going to assassinate a man. He brings his friend out of assassin retirement who otherwise would not have known about the mission. He kills six people in the bar when he probably could have just rode away from town. By his own admission, he killed people who didn't deserve it and is going to hell.

We sympathize with him because he needs money for his kids and he lets a guy he shot get some water and he won't sleep with a prostitute because he loves his deceased wife. But he's not a good guy.

The closest thing we have to a good person is maybe Delilah or one of the nameless posse that notifies Gene Hackman whenever a bad guy shows up in town.

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2 hours ago, grudlian. said:

But is he good guy?

He's well known as a cold blooded murderer of women and children. His story is he's going to assassinate a man. He brings his friend out of assassin retirement who otherwise would not have known about the mission. He kills six people in the bar when he probably could have just rode away from town. By his own admission, he killed people who didn't deserve it and is going to hell.

We sympathize with him because he needs money for his kids and he lets a guy he shot get some water and he won't sleep with a prostitute because he loves his deceased wife. But he's not a good guy.

The closest thing we have to a good person is maybe Delilah or one of the nameless posse that notifies Gene Hackman whenever a bad guy shows up in town.

Oh yea I guess I was thinking 'hero' in answering that, but I guess that wasn't the question.

I guess that is a modern thing -- basically nobody is good in this movie.

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I haven’t voted yet, because...I really don’t know. I mean, I really enjoyed watching this movie - possibly more than other movies that I feel should definitely be on the list. I guess my problem is, there are a lot of “good” movies that I don’t necessarily think deserves to be considered “the best.” I really like Cast Away and Good Will Hunting, too, but I don’t necessarily think they’re the “best” movies either. 

I would call it “recency bias,” but there are movies that came later that I absolutely feel are deserving without reservation. I’m not sure what my issue is exactly, but like Ned, I’m having difficulty pulling the trigger.

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I loved Blazing Saddles back in the day. But tried to watch it again recently.  Even if they were mocking racism, it's really hard to watch from today's POV.

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Listening to the podcast and reading the forums here, I really expected to hear some mention of the (I thought) undeniable parallels this film shares with The Iliad of Homer (the story of Helen of Troy). While I suppose it's possible the similarities are just a coincidence (especially given that the screenwriter himself didn't mention it), I still find it hard to believe that Homer's epic was not the inspiration for the main structure of the story. After seeing Unforgiven years ago, I wrote an essay on this topic for my university Greek Literature class. Googling it today, I see that many others have drawn the same parallels. I'll briefly describe the similarities below, but if you want a more eloquent summing up of things, search for it yourself. Specifically, check out "Western Values, or the People's Homer: Unforgiven as a Reading of the Iliad."

The most instantly recognizable similarity is that it is a woman (specifically a woman's face) that is the impetus for the plot of the entire film. In the Iliad, the Trojan war begins when the legendary beauty, Helen, is abducted by Paris and taken to Troy, where she is then pursued by the Greek king, Menelaus, to whom she was meant to be married. Of course, in Unforgiven, it is assassins who descend on the town with the aim of avenging violence done to Deliliah's beauty.

The other most compelling similarity is the resemblance William Munny's story has to that of Achilles. Both are legendary men of violence who have turned away from their past for whatever reason. In the Iliad, Achilles refuses to take part in the battle because he has been slighted by the king. He only returns to the fight after his friend/lover Patroclus is killed in battle by Hector while impersonating Achilles (wearing his armor). In Unforgiven, it is the murder of Ned (Who used William's rifle in the assassination attempt) by Little Bill that finally turns William back to his old, vicious ways. Then, he kills Little Bill to avenge Ned's death, just as Achilles kills Hector.

I also think Saul Rubinek's Beauchamp is meant to stand in for Homer himself.

Clearly the movie isn't a note-for-note retelling of the Iliad, but what do you guys think? Am I insane? Is it just a coincidence?

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I think The Iliad works here for sure.  I couldn't say though if it was intentional, or basically such a standard classic that it is everywhere, but I like your connections.

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Just getting this in now since it doesn't require any thought (only thoughts are, "eh, none of the comparative rankings seem surprising to me").

AFI (2007) - 68
AFI (1997) - 98
BFI, Critics (2012) - 588th | 228.144* (2 votes)
BFI, Director (2012) - 322nd | 135.24** (2 votes)
IMDB - 120th place (IMDB rating of 8.2)
Metascore - 85
They Shoot Films - 233 | 111
Oscar, Best Picture (year) - nominated. winner.
beat out: The Crying Game, A Few Good Men, Howards End, Scent of a Woman

*: Extrapolated from 97 out of 250 US films in the top 250
**: extrapolated from 42 out of 100 US films in the top 100

Links
AFI (2007) - https://www.afi.com/100years/movies10.aspx
AFI (1997) - https://www.afi.com/100Years/movies.aspx
IMDB - https://www.imdb.com/chart/top
TSFDT - http://www.theyshootpictures.com/gf1000_all1000films_table.php
http://www.theyshootpictures.com/gf1000_films1001-2000.htm
Oscar, BP winners: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academy_Award_for_Best_Picture

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I've only read (listened to audio book) of The Odyssey.  My knowledge of The Iliad is more "vague idea, well more, I just know it's about the Trojan War."  So I can't weigh in on the accuracy of the reading.  My best follow up question though is, so, how would the relation of the two inform what you take away from the latter (Unforgiven)?

 

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14 hours ago, AlmostAGhost said:

Oh yea I guess I was thinking 'hero' in answering that, but I guess that wasn't the question.

I guess that is a modern thing -- basically nobody is good in this movie.

Well, by modern, if we mean, "in the US, starting in the late 60s, and and 70s," from when this script was written.  Then, maybe.  But then again, it's not like the protagonist of Double Indemnity was the good guy either (or John Wayne in The Searchers).  I'm sure Shakespeare had a few plays where the protagonist.  e.g. There was an adaptation of Richard III in 1955.

But I asked the question because I took the movie trying (and trying very hard) to do subversion through mimicry.  Basically, play out like a genre entry that you're familiar with, but drop in details (large ones in this case), that make you reinterpret how you perceive the white hat, to realize they're actually the black hat, which then acts as historical revisionism to remind you a lot of the heroes in the movies you love, in reality, were probably black hats.

Some of those details, Little Bill literally calling them "the villains", calling them "assassins" (not inaccurate), and making the point, very, very hard, for whatever guilt the holder had in being complicit (though seems to be brush over, being actively complicit) in a horrible crime, he felt really, really sorry.  I'm being a bit facetious there, since the film tried to drive in the point so hard of what a nice guy he was when he was bringing in the horses*.  While I felt that scene was a bit much, it was to drive home the point that while he deserved more punishment than what he received, he didn't deserve to be killed, let alone through means outside of the law.

*: Whether the subsequent flinging of horse dung was the movie repudiating that self-nice guy mentality or if it was playing around with the idea that offenses and their justice or lack-there-of sometimes are taken out of the hands of the victims, without authorial clarification (of which there are two, both the screen writer and the director), might be up more to interpretation.  Just to clarify, there is a shot of Delilah in that horse scene, being touched by the gift of horses, and it was stated earlier she didn't mind anymore for more justice.  The whole act of wanting justice was Alice's.  Whether the exaggeration of the wounds inflicted on Delilah started with Alice or grew along the way is unclear.  Though it also plays into another thing the movie is playing around with, which is the mythologizing of normal-ish events into larger than life stories; making the bad guys worse and more sadistic than they actually were.  However, if the exaggeration started with Alice, then that would be yet another shade of grey being aspersed onto one of the main components and characters in the conflict for justice.

Back to the topic of subversion through mimicry, and some things I started to allude to in The Searchers thread.  I'm still not sure how I feel about the ending.  At least in the execution.  I know it's supposed to want you to question the violence you've enjoyed in past spaghetti westerns, but somehow it plays like it's reveling in it in a way that still glorifies it.  Which leaves me wondering if it's a shortcoming of "the movie thinks it in its head, but doesn't feel it in its heart," type of issue, or if it's a, "We really want to make the audience feel uncomfortable, and we're going to play it like the older movies play it, so the audience is rooting for the protagonist to win.  But he's the villain.  So we're being really subversive by making the audience root for the guy we've explicitly set up as the villain in the movie."  The latter just isn't working for me here.  That type of subversion has worked for me in other movies (e.g. Let the Right One In, Straw Dogs), which has lead me to wonder, if the viewer not really big on the genre before seeing that type of subversion, if it just falls flat for the viewer. 

Also, I think I just don't like Clint Eastwood as an actor.  I've only seen this, and then went back and saw the four classic Sergio Leone westerns  Once Upon a Time in the WestA Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (listed in the order I watched them).  And I'm not saying the reason why I liked the one without Clint Eastwood the most wasn't because he wasn't in there, but not having him in there didn't hurt.

But yeah, my take away the first time watching this movie about 5 years ago was, "hmmm... I see how people like this movie, because there is a great movie somewhere in there, but to me, became only a good movie somewhere in the execution."  This time around, I decided to pay attention to see how much of the problem might be in the script vs acting/directing.  And my main take away is, I don't know.  Some of the lines feel too on the nose, but some of the lines that seemed like real clunkers, I couldn't help but wonder if a better actors could have sold them. e.g. the line Eastwood gives about not wanting to engage in prostitution... oh boy.  That was a clunker.  But maybe if someone who wasn't so wooden could have made the line sound right.  Like, it's not like anything Morgan Freeman said sounded weird or trying too hard.  Gene Hackman, for the most part yes as well, but there were a few lines where I was going, "hmmm..."

I don't know.  I could see myself rewatching this movie again because someone else wants to see it, or maybe it pops up for discussion for something like this podcast, but it's not one I'd be actively seeking out to rewatch on my own.

Though I'm not that big on the stereotypical western genre, though there have been entries in the past couple of decades that have appealed to me (The PropositionDjango Unchained, and Bone Tomahawk).  Though I still prefer the non-stereotypical westerns, such as the western dramas, e.g. McCabe & Mrs. Miller or The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward, Robert Ford, to the weird and comical indies, e.g. Dead Man, El Topo, to all the different things that Buster Scruggs was.

ETA: One point of comparison in terms of subversion of a genre with a genre entry (related to the topic of subversion though mimicry).  I have not seen Black Panther, but a lot of people talked about how amazing and subversive it was to bring in the topics of race into a large blockbuster, super-hero movie.  I have not seen it, but if you drop that part of, "into a large blockbuster, super-hero movie," how subversive was it?  I mean, compared to say, Fruitvale Station, Sorry to Bother You, or BlacKKKlansman. (Like I said, I haven't seen Black Panther, and of the three listed, I've only seen Sorry to Bother You, but I'm going to guess Black Panther isn't substantially more engaged on the topic of race than those, and there's  good chance that it's less)  We could be getting a whole, subversive heightened-response because of the genre (and by genre, I mean stars of John Wayne and Clint Eastwood) of The Searchers and Unforgiven. Which gets back to the similar point of, I wonder how much one cares if they aren't that big on the genre versus someone who is a really big fan of the genre.

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