Jeff & I are back. This is going to be shorter week in review than usual because I’m still exhausted. Peace be with you and have a great week.
Films I Watched:
- A Fall From Grace (2020)
- Goldfinger (1964)
- Lost in Translation (2003)
- Love Story (1970)
- Sand Sharks (2011)
- Spenser Confidential (2020)
- The Spring Break Murders (2011)
- Super Shark (2011)
- What Did Jack Do? (2020)
- What Richard Did (2012)
- Wonder Woman (2017)
Television Shows I Watched:
- 24 Hours in A&E
- 60 Days In
- The Bachelor
- Better Call Saul
- The Crystal Maze
- Doctor Who
- Downton Abbey
- Mock the Week
- Money For Nothing
- Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares USA
- Ready Steady
- Survivor 40
- The Trouble with Maggie Cole
- The Windsors
Books I Read:
- Errol Flynn: The Untold Story (1980) by Charles Higham
- Power Play (1979) by Kenneth M. Cameron
Music To Which I Listened:
- Above & Beyond
- Blake Lewis
- Blanck Mass
- The Chemical Brothers
- Icona Pop
- Junkie XL
- Skylar Grey
News From Last Week:
- SXSW has been cancelled due to Coronavirus fears.
Links From Last Week:
- Happy International Women’s Day
Links From The Site:
- Erin shared the Covers of Private Detective Stories and Texas Flag, The Shame of Mary Quinn, The Near Nudes, My Brother’s Wife, Lust For Love, The Gathering Darkness, and Turn Your Clock Forward!
- Jeff paid tribute to Hal Needham and Robert Clouse! He reviewed Journey to the Far Side of the Sun, The Cop in Blue Jeans, Not Another Mistake, A Real American Hero, The Hit List, Double Jeopardy, and The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid. He shared music videos from The Rolling Stones, the Beastie Boys, and Public Image Ltd.
- Ryan reviewed Goblin Girl and J&K and he shared his weekly reading round-up!
- I shared music videos from Shakira, Blake Lewis, Hal Ketchum, and Johnny Lee & Lane Brody! I paid tribute to the one and only Jean Harlow! I reviewed The Ghost In The Invisible Bikini, The Sand, Super Shark, Long Weekend, The Spring Break Murders, Sand Sharks, and Spenser Confidential!
More From Us:
- Ryan has a patreon. You should consider subscribing!
- At Pop Politics, Jeff shared Checking In, Part Deux!
- For the Reality TV Chat Blog, Erin reviewed the latest episode of Survivor!
- At her photography site Erin shared The Sky Today, Purple, Yellow, Soon To Be Blown Away, Green, Tree and Sun, and Ladder!
- On my music site, I shared songs from Bing Crosby, The Chemical Brothers, Blanck Mass, Blake Lewis, Little Texas, and Skylar Grey, and Chromatics.
Want to see what I did last week? Click here!
Despite having received pardons from the Missouri legislature in recognition of their military service to the Confederacy, Jesse James (Robert Duvall) and Cole Younger (Cliff Robertson) simply cannot stop robbing banks. The James-Younger Gang has set their sights on the bank in Northfield, Minnesota, which is said to be the biggest bank west of the Mississippi. Cole arrives in Northfield before the rest of the gang and scouts the location. What he discovers is that most of the town’s citizens aren’t putting their money in the bank because they all assume that it will eventually be robbed. With Jesse determined to pull off the crime of the century, Cole and Jesse have to figure out not only how to escape after the robbery but also how to get the people to deposit their money in the bank’s vault in the first place.
Philip Kaufman is a director who made a career out of reinterpreting history (his best known film is The Right Stuff) and, when it was first released in 1972, The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid was a revisionist western that mixed moments of comedy with moments of brutal violence. Today, of course, presenting Jesse James and Cole Younger as being ruthless outlaws is no longer that daring of a narrative choice. In The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid, Robert Duvall plays Jesse as being the western equivalent of a corrupt businessman, sending others to do his dirty work and not accepting any of the consequences for his own bad decisions. Robertson plays Cole as being more a free spirit, an outlaw who is determined to enjoy himself. Both of them give interesting performances but they also seem to be too contemporary for the characters that they’re playing.
Like most revisionist westerns of the early 70s, the film is full of hints that the old west and the time of the outlaws is coming to an end. There’s a steam engine sitting outside of the bank and Kaufman spends almost as much time focusing on people reacting to that as he does on the planning and execution of the robbery. When the robbery does finally occur, it’s not an easy robbery like you might find a 1940s western. Instead, it’s a violent comedy of errors that leaves much of the film’s characters dead or wounded in the streets of Northfield. The contrast between the quirky comedy of the first part of the film and the violence of the robbery is occasionally interesting but it often feels forced. Sometimes, Kaufman seems like he’s trying too hard to be Sam Peckinpah. In the end, Kaufman often doesn’t seem to be sure what he’s trying to say with this film. He seems to be suggesting that Jesse and Cole are soon to be relics of a bygone era but why then cast Duvall and Robertson in the roles and have them play the roles like two mid-level hoodlums in 20th Century New York?
It’s an interesting but muddled film that never quite works. For the definitive film about the James/Younger Gang, check out Walter Hill’s The Long Riders.