Ride Lonesome (1959, directed by Budd Boetticher)

In the western Ride Lonesome, Randolph Scott plays Ben Brigade. Brigade is a bounty hunter. The only thing that really differentiates him from the outlaws that he captures is that he gets paid for what he does. When Brigade arrests a young outlaw named Billy John (James Best), he gives Billy just enough time to send word to his older brother, Frank (Lee Van Cleef). And when Brigade starts to lead Billy John back to the town of Santa Cruz, he takes his time and fails to cover his tracks, almost as if he is intentionally making time for Frank to eventually catch up to him. Along the way, Brigade meets up with three others, a woman named Carrie (Karen Steele) and two outlaws named Boone (Pernell Roberts) and Whit (James Coburn). Carrie is searching for her husband while Boone and Whit want to arrest Billy John themselves so that they can turn him in and get a pardon for their own crimes.

Ride Lonesome is one of the best of the many films that Randolph Scott made with director Budd Boetticher.  Boetticher specialized in making fast-paced westerns that had deceptively simple plots.  Nobody in a Boetticher western was totally good or totally bad and that’s certainly the case with Ride Lonesome, which may seem like a typical western but which is actually a character study of 6 very different people.  Brigade is often only the hero by default and his actions are often as ruthless as those of the men who are tracking him.  It’s only after he meets and gets to know Carrie that he starts to seriously consider that his plans could lead to innocent people getting hurt. Billy John may be a wanted killer but, underneath his bravado, he’s just someone trying to live up to his brother’s example.  Meanwhile, Boone and Whit may be outlaws but they turn out to be the most morally upright characters in the film.  Ride Lonesome takes a serious look at frontier justice and suggests that maybe black-and-white morality isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

Needless to say, the cast is great.  Randolph Scott was one of the great western heroes and Karen Steele, Pernell Roberts, Lee Van Cleef, and James Best all turn in memorable performances.  Best of all is James Coburn, making his film debut and showing that, even at the start of his career, he was already the epitome of cool.  Ride Lonesome is one of the best of of the Boetticher/Scott westerns and a true classic of the genre.


8 Things That I Am Looking Forward To In February

Ah, February!

February is usually one of my favorite months of the year.  Not only do we usually have a lot of Oscar scenarios to which to look forward but it’s also the month of Valentine’s Day!  This is the month of love, people!  Admittedly, pre-COVID, this was also the month when I would usually take my vacation and get out of town for a while.  My vacation’s going to be a little bit later this year, though.

What am I looking forward to this month?  Well, there’s always a chance of snow!  Of course, last year, it snowed in February and we ended up going without power for a week.  That was a difficult time for a lot of people down here in Texas.  It really wasn’t that difficult for me, though.  I kind of enjoyed the snow.  Even without the lights, I could still read a book late at night because of the light reflecting off of all the snow.  That was kind of fun.  But I should probably be careful about admitting that too loudly.

Anyway, here are eight things to which I am looking forward in February!  What are you looking forward to?  Let me know in the comments and maybe I’ll send some snow your way.  (And by snow, you mean cocaine, right?  No, I mean metaphorical snow.  Wait a minute, who am I talking to?)

  1. The Oscar Nominations

The Oscar nominations will finally be announced on February 8th!  With any luck, I will be posting my personal nominations on the 7th.  I have a lot of movies left to watch and I know I’m probably going to miss out on a few because there’s only so many hours during the day.  That sucks but I’m going to do my best, I promise.

2. The Winter Olympics

Am I looking forward to the Olympics?  On the one hand, I am because I’m love ice skating and curling and all of that good stuff.  On the other hand, I’m like, “This is the most problematic Olympics of my lifetime.”  I know that some people believe that we should have totally boycotted the Olympics this year.  I don’t agree with that because that wouldn’t accomplish much beyond punishing our athletes.  Instead, as a proud Irish-Italian-Spanish-American, I will be cheering on all of our athletes, even the really obnoxious ones and I will also be hoping that the coverage of the games will be honest when discussing why they are so controversial this year.

3. Death on the Nile

Speaking of controversy ….. Death on the Nile is finally getting released!  First, it was delayed by COVID.  Then it was delayed by Armie Hammer.  I’m just curious to see how it does at the box office.  Personally, I like the idea of Kenneth Branagh playing Poirot and solving murders.  To me, it’s interesting that he directed this film before Belfast but it’ll be opening at a time when it’s success or failure could effect Belfast’s Oscar campaign.

4. Cyrano

Cyrano is apparently going to finally get a wide release on February 25th.  I guess the hope is that it’ll pick up some Oscar nominations and, when it opens, everyone will be like, “Finally!  We can see what the Academy is so excited about!”  I hate platform releases but I’m still looking forward to finally seeing Cyrano.

5. Marry Me

This looks like the best romantic comedy of 2004!  Seriously, sometimes you see a trailer for a movie that is so destined to be bad that you just have to watch it.

6. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

My Marry Me comments apply here as well, except for the romantic comedy part.  Don’t worry. If this latest reboot/sequel doesn’t work, they’ll just try again in 2024.  Many years ago, someone got mad at me because I pointed out that no one would care about a Vermont Chainsaw Massacre.  I stand by that opinion.

7. Super Bowl Sunday

Yes, I watched a bit of football in January.  It was an experiment to see if I could get into the sport.  It turns out that I can’t.  But I’m still looking forward to the Super Bowl commercials and the trailers and the tweets!  Always, the tweets….

8. Valentine’s Day

I love Valentine’s Day and I never quite get the bitterness that it seems to inspire in some people.  Of course, I don’t think I’ve ever been single on Valentine’s Day, either.

As for what I’m not looking forward to in February …. the return of Celebrity Big Brother.  Ugh.  I’ll watch it but that doesn’t mean I’m looking forward to it.

Music Video of the Day: The Dark Side by Muse (2018, dir by Lance Drake)

I’m dedicating this music video to a friend of mine.  Things may seem dark right now but it’s also going to get better.  I promise.  The director of this video, Lance Drake, was interviewed about it and he said that theme was “Keep on driving!”  No matter how rough the road may get or how the scenery may change, keep on driving forward.  That’s advice that I hope will be heard by anyone who needs to hear it.