Sunday, June 21, 2015

never killed anyone in his life

(There should have been at least one sentence at the end of the blog entry for yesterday. I think that when I switched from tablet to phone to post what I had written, it didn't load the final version of the file in Pages. There was something--after the line about Crabb's various occupations--about him being an everyman, except that the only occupation of his that seems to have any success is not an occupation at all, but rather his role within the native tribe. I said it very briefly, but not particularly cleverly, and I am glad it was lost. It was a very long day, traveling through New Mexico. (Today was long, as well, so I don't imagine too many words today, either. And certainly nothing clever.)

So, as for Crabb's... Little Big Man's success, it would fit well with the anti-establishment, satire side of things. The white man, even if he is an everyman, cannot rightly exist--or at least, live successfully--in a world where "human beings" exist.

On the travel note, a lot of what we did today will come up with tomorrow's movie--Pat Garrett and Billy the Kidd, so let us just get on with today's--McCabe & Mrs. Miller.)

McCabe & Mrs. Miller almost immediately feels like something far from a Western. There are hats and horses and a dark saloon and a ride through the forest. But, it just doesnt' feel like a Western. Maybe it's this: the Western is not really a genre. Like the musical or the animated film, the Western involves certain methods and styles, and some definite settings, but it could, in theory, be taken in many different directions--comedy, drama, action, adventure, epic or intimate. But, maybe the setting isn't too important, either. It's more of a feeling. The action films I watched back in January (Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, Rambo, Commando, even Top Gun), for example--structurally are a lot like the Western but they are all set in the present. Modern Superhero films, also, are a lot like Westerns. So, I've got to wonder, what makes a Western a Western?

The link to US history seems important but then I've got wonder about a film like Quigley Down Under; is the main character's American-ness enough to make it a Western even though it is set in Australia?

What about All the Pretty Horses? It's got the hats and the horses but is not set in the past.

One of the last Westerns I've got planned this month--Rango--is not really set in the Old West but is definitely a Western.

Is the Western just a setting? Is it a feeling?

... I think I may have mentioned before in this blog my comparative religions class, which began with an unusual definition of what a religion is. There was a list of 13 criteria and the more of them were present or true, the more we would consider a particular belief system to be a religion. More criteria or fewer didn't necessarily mean one religion was not a religion, and different items on the list didn't have more value than others... and the system worked. Perhaps we need a list like that for the Western.

But not tonight. I am tired and there is more driving to do in the morning.

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