Desolation Canyon (2006, directed by David Cass)


After robbing a bank in a small western town, an outlaw stops by the home of his estranged wife and takes his own son hostage.  The town’s aging sheriff (Patrick Duffy) teams with the boy’s grandfather (Stacy Keach) to take the outlaw down and save the child’s life.  Accompanying them is the bank president, Edwin Bornstein (David Rees Snell).  Edwin may be a city boy who talks about how much he’s always wanted to say “I reckon,” but it turns out that there’s more to him than meets the eye.  He’s also good with a gun.

I probably should have given up on Desolation Canyon as soon as I saw that it was a “Hallmark Presents” film but I like westerns and Stacy Keach has always done well whenever he’s been cast as a gunslinger so I decided to give it a try.  Starting with a bank robbery and endings with a duel, Desolation Canyon is about as old-fashioned as an old-fashioned western can be.  Because it was made by Hallmark, there’s nothing dangerous or edgy about the film.  A few people do get shot but there’s no blood.  The shoot outs in Red Dead Redemption are more violent and suspenseful than anything to be found in this film.  (Of course, that’s because most of the shootouts in Red Dead Redemption occur because the play pushed the wrong button while trying to greet someone.  I still feel bad for accidentally shooting the kindly old homesteader who just wanted someone to help him collect some flowers for his wife.)  This is the type of western that you can safely watch with your grandparents, since that’s who the film was made for.  That’s not bad because grandparents need movies to but if you’re looking for a complex or an unpredictable western in the style of a Larry McMurtry novel or a later Eastwood film, I reckon this ain’t it.

Giving some credit where credit is due, Stacy Keach, David Rees Snell, and even Patrick Duffy are credible in their roles.  Stacy Keach is especially convincing a former gunfighter who can still outdraw anyone.  Stacy Keach is 81 years old and still working.  Someone needs to write a great Stacy Keach role and they need to do it now.

Music Video of the Day: Atomic by Blondie (1999, dir by ????)


Through the Shattered Lens has already shared the original video for Blondie’s Atomic, the one that was released in the late 70s and which featured the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat in a small role.  This second music video is for the live version of the song.  It was filmed in 1999, while the band was performing at New York’s Town Hall.  The entire show was filmed by VH-1.

What can I say?  I just like this song.  It’s a song that makes me want to dance.  It’s also a song that makes me appreciate my hair.  “Your hair is beautiful” is a simple lyric but it’s also one that perfectly captures a very certain feeling, that feeling that this night is going to be greatest night of all.  Of course, the song itself is often interpreted as being about the end of the world.  If the world was ending, wouldn’t you want your hair to be beautiful?

(For the record, Debbie Harry says that “Atomic” was simply a way of describing something as being powerful, that the lyrics were just some words that sounded good to her, and that there really isn’t any sort of deep meaning to the majority of the song.  I would argue that the fact that Atomic is about nothing makes it about everything.  I would also argue that it’s occasionally fun to make pseudo-profound pronouncements and see if anyone takes them seriously.)

Enjoy!

Uh huh make me tonight
Tonight make it right
Uh huh make me tonight
Tonight
Tonight
Oh uh huh make it magnificent
Tonight
Right
Oh your hair is beautiful
Oh tonight
Atomic
Tonight make it magnificent
Tonight
Make me tonight
Your hair is beautiful
Oh tonight
Atomic
Atomic
Oh