TTYA – The Wild Bunch (1969)

What a wild bunch a fellas these boys are! Yee haw, I’m a cowboy! This is not at all an accurate representation of the tone of this film, boy howdy!

Spoilers

Any movie that is supposed to be a goodbye to westerns is one I am open to watching. If it has the sense to say “You guys fucking suck now, please leave,” then that’s even better. Unfortunately, I have yet to find a film that actually has that attitude. The three films that I think most closely come to that are Once Upon a Time In the West, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and this. Those are all listed in terms of descending quality, which is to say, this is the worst. My problem Butch and Bunch is that they both have this sort of loving attitude towards the genre, they both seem like they don’t want the genre to die. Well, I can’t relate to that, because I wish westerns had died a fiery, painful death right after Stagecoach came out, because nothing anyone ever did would not feel like a retread of that, at least not until Leone came along. And I know that I don’t actually mean that, because the absence of westerns’ popularity would lead to the lack of films inspired by the genre, especially from directors like Kurosawa, yadda yadda yadda, I still fucking hate the genre. My point is, I wish these movies had treated their goodbyes more as kiss-offs.

The worst part of The Wild Bunch isn’t even that it doesn’t properly dismiss the genre. It’s that it is an incredibly boring film. Sam Peckinpah tries to frame this film as a film halfway between a traditional and spaghetti western. The problem is that he has none of the style that Leone has, and none of the ridiculous, stupid shit that comes with, say, a Howard Hawks film. After they get to that Mexican village, I tune out almost entirely.

I think it’s a shame that William Holden took this project, because I really like him. He’s a man who has a fairly respectable filmography, didn’t do too many Westerns, mostly things like Sunset Blvd. or Network. But, a good watch that is susceptible to the pressures of its agent is wrong at least once in a blue moon. Ernest Borgnine is also a disappointing member of the cast, though not an altogether surprising one.

The Wild Bunch might be special if you like this shit, but to me, it just feels like someone trying to squeeze the last bit of toothpaste out, before being forced to switch brands, because the old one went out of business.

3/10

Thank you, and remember kids, you wanna play “hide the salami” with his old lady?

 

Also, check out the latest episode of my podcast.

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