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Álex de la Iglesia
José Antonio Álvarez
Julián Torralba is a former movie stuntman in Almeria, Spain. He and several of his colleagues, who once made a living in American Westerns shot in Spain, now are reduced to doing stunt shows for minuscule audiences on the decaying set built for those old Westerns. Julián wrestles with dark memories of the death of his son, also a stuntman, and with estrangement from his daughter-in-law Laura and her son Carlos. Carlos, a young boy, becomes intrigued with his late father's life and runs away to join Julián and his band of has-beens. There Carlos is initiated into the rambunctious life of these hard-drinking faux cowboys. But when Laura, a powerful executive looking for a new site for a tourist resort, learns that Carlos has joined the hated Julián, she moves to destroy even this remnant of Julián's once-proud career. Julián and the cowboys decide to fight back the only way they know how. Written by
Jim Beaver <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Director Álex de la Iglesia wanted Clint Eastwood to play himself in the film. He even offered to move to Los Angeles to shoot Eastwood's part. Eastwood, who was then working on the production of Mystic River (2003), was forced to turn down the offer. See more »
The man who takes the officers gun continues to shoot even when the gun is clearly out of ammunition. See more »
I rented this one on a hunch, not having watched any of director De La Iglesia's work, even if I had heard of him - if not the film in question.
I thought this was going to be an out-and-out Spaghetti Western update, and it looks like it at first, but the way it developed makes it original and even more interesting than I had imagined! It's frequently uproarious and displays a refreshing irreverence, especially in its use of foul language (which I found even funnier because it's so similar to our own); astoundingly, there are also sex scenes witnessed by, and almost involving, a minor! Deliberately paced and overlong, it ultimately emerges as an endearing, even infectious, spoof of Spaghetti Western film-making and the world of stunt-men (which to me, having been in Hollywood a little while back, has a special relevance). Recurring jokes like forgetting the hanged man once the shooting's over, a stuntman dedicated to making his fall from a roof-top as realistic as possible, and the front of a poor woman's house being demolished by a runaway van are very funny, and there's a hilarious funeral finale with a surprising appearance by "Clint Eastwood" (who, as everyone knows, became a household word in Italian Westerns filmed in Spain)!
The cast is largely made up of unknowns (except for Carmen Maura) but they enter enthusiastically into the tongue-in-cheek spirit of things, with Sancho Gracia's characterization being especially vivid (at times, even a moving one). Indeed, among the various in-jokes which crop up throughout the film is the mention of the Raquel Welch/Burt Reynolds Western 100 RIFLES (1969), a film in which Gracia really appeared!
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
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