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The Walking Dead (2010)
My new favorite show!
The Walking Dead quickly has become my favorite TV ever. I have always liked zombies, especially when presented in their classic setting, and with plenty of social commentary. This show is perfect for that. It spends plenty of time developing the human characters and showing how civilization would react to such an apocalypse. The acting is great, the plot is slow some may say, but I say it is deliberately paced and methodical. This is how a small group of survivors would live in a world such as this. And the zombies (walkers) are slow, the way they should be. This show deserves even more credit that it is getting for being a masterful drama. 10/10 A+
Broken Trail (2006)
Broken Trail is a Broken movie
Although there are a few nice things to say about Broken Trail, unfortunately the film is kind of a muddled mess. The cinematography is definitely nice, although after 4 hours it gets a bit redundant. How many times can you watch horses running through fields and mountains in slow motion without getting a little bored? The worst part of the film is, frankly, the script. While the story in general could have been fine: "a group of characters facing adventures while driving animals (horses) across the wilderness" can make for a wonderful setting. (It worked for Lonesome Dove with cattle.) But the script of Broken Arrow seems rather unfocused, and sadly, under-developed.
Characters and relationships are not developed very effectively, at least not in the way they should have been after a 4 hour running time. Dialog often seems misplaced or hurried. Scenes seem to get cut off prematurely just when a conversation is getting interesting.
There are far too many horse drive montages with nothing but fading shots in and out. Sometimes dialog awkwardly overlays these scenes, with little real point to it. It feels like "filler." In a nutshell, it seems the whole film was edited together in a desperate attempt to make a real story from slim pickings of material.
Most disappointing to me was Duvall. I truly feel he is our greatest actor, period. His performance in Lonesome Dove is my favorite of all time. But in Broken Trail, he seems kind of unfocused. Notice how he tends to mumble through his lines, and how he is constantly saying "yeeeehhhh" after his readings. It seems sloppy. Pure speculation on my part, but it's almost like a strange combination of him trying to recall his Lonesome Dove character, while at the same time trying to differentiate from it. Maybe he is just losing some of his spark with age.
Having said all of that, Broken Arrow is still a fair piece of entertainment, perfectly respectable at least when compared to so much of the crap out there these days. I'll take even a sloppy Duvall performance any day and he still has some very nice moments in Broken Trail, particularly with the Chinese girls who get adopted by the the horse drivers. (His relationship with the love interest is sorely underdeveloped by comparison - he accomplished so much more in less screen time with Angelica Huston in Lonesome Dove.)
I guess thats the point... it's simply that when compared to Lonesome Dove or some other great Duvall films, Broken Arrow comes up pretty short.
Lonesome Dove (1989)
The all time greatest western, and the greatest miniseries!
Ironicially, as a rule I do not enjoy Westerns, but I considered Lonesome Dove to be the best and most powerful TV miniseries of all time. And the "best Western ever" goes without saying.
Why? Unlike almost every other Western, this may be the only one to paint a true picture of life in the Old West. Superb writing, acting, and story-telling in general, much of it based on real stories from that era.
This is one of those epic movies you get so drawn into, and for so long, that it has the ability to touch your emotions more deeply than your average movie. I actually felt kind of sad when it was over, so involved had I become with the characters. I thought about it for days. And have watched it over and over again in pieces ever since.
Don't be frightened by the length! Watch it in 3 or 4 segments if you have to, but JUST WATCH IT!
An all-time classic.
As much as Jaws is recognized as a "classic," I still believe it is somewhat under-appreciated. It is so much more than simply an action movie or a horror movie. Jaws is an outstanding drama with powerfully written characters and superb dialog, largely delivered via one of the all time best trio of performances ever together on film. Richard Dreyfuss and Roy Schieder gave us such comical, interesting, yet realistically human characters, and Robert Shaw should have been nominated for an Oscar for his work. This is not a movie about a shark attacking people. It is a movie about three diverse personalities dealing with the shark.
Sling Blade (1996)
The Best of the Decade
It's the Great American Movie. Outstanding. This movie has everything. Strong writing, characters, acting and plot. The story addresses family values, friendship, tolerance, alcoholism, domestic violence, and every important social issue you can imagine. Billy Bob Thornton and Dwight Youkam each turn in the performances of a lifetime. This is the best movie of the 90's and one of the greatest films of all time. Period.