As much as I loved sitting in front of the TV when I was a youngster - I mean I’d sit and watch the Dinah Shore Show, any game show that came my way and detective shows I really couldn’t understand, as soon as a western show or movie came on, I was out of there. I just found them incredibly dull. Even shoot outs on Main Street or saloon brawls - they were corny and dull. And the color palate was so brown and dusty. No thanks.
Even as an adult, I’d have to force myself to watch the classics: Shane, Stagecoach, The Searchers. Something about the horses, the clothes, the white guys dressed up as Native Americans — a complete turnoff. Then I watched A Fistful of Dollars. Interesting; the actors are dubbed. Things look a bit different. Grabbed my attention. Then I watched Once Upon a Time in the West. Loved it! Okay, I like Spaghetti Westerns. Still didn’t like Hollywood Westerns. Then I watched Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven. Loved it.
Since then, westerns haven’t exactly taken over the theaters or the streaming services, but there are more and more of them being produced. Maybe because it’s all the tax incentives in New Mexico. A lot of stuff is being shot there and, of course, shooting westerns there makes a lot of sense. Godless, Longmire (a modern day western, imho), Hostiles —- on and on.
The Coen Bros.’ The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is the latest, and imho, the greatest. Set in the west - yes. Has all the western trappings - yes. Has a singing cowboy - yes. But it’s a Coen Bros.’ film; so there is so much more going on. If you dislike westerns, please do me a favor and sit through this one. It won’t make you want to go back and watch every Randolph Scott film (although you should check out Sam Peckinpaugh’s Ride the High Country), but you’ll appreciate the genre more than you ever thought you would. Plus, you get to see pretty scenery. Oh, and the horses don’t get hurt, like they used to. Yay for CGI! - Mark