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I guess I just like liking things


An off-the-shoulder poncho is perfect for a night on the town or for killing dudes who want you to lead them to treasure and then not get any yourself.

My 143rd movie of the year was Clint Eastwood’s “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.” I’d seen bits of it before, but never the whole thing. A friend of mine gave me the Blu-Ray because he bought it and then bought the “Man with No Name” trilogy, and he decided I need to have this one because it’s a classic. That was about a year ago. I just now got around to watching it, and it took me three nights.  My wife saw it in the pile and suggested we watch it, but she gave up after the first evening.  At dinner the next day (our prime watch-stuff-together time), she asked, “Do we have to watch the rest of that?”  Well, she didn’t, but I did.

My movie knowledge starts in the 80s, with a little bit of trickle-back into the 70s – there’s Star Wars there, after all – so my relationship with what you might call “old” movies is complicated.  I can watch an old movie and appreciate what it’s doing for its time, but I’m rarely going to choose one for my top ten. I addressed this sort of thing a while back in a Tuesday 10, so clearly there are older movies that I like, I just never think to include them in my “all time” lists.

I’m not a guy who’s going to recognize good vs. bad cinematography, or what sort of film was used, or any of the things that would make me a good director. I am, however, a guy who will think, “I don’t really care for how that looked” or “that sounded weird” or “that blood is way too red, and if you shot a guy like that he wouldn’t do what he did.” I took literature criticism class in college where the teacher told me that “gut reaction” is one form of response (the lowest form, as it happens), but I should try to learn and apply the other ones. While she was my favorite teacher I ever had, that class was one of my least favorites. I just can’t see things through those lenses. So I’m stuck with gut reactions. Which is where this site comes from. You’ll get essays on how long it takes me to play through Angry Birds, but you’ll never get a treatise on how foreshadowing in Blade Runner explains why everyone in that movie is a replicant (and I doubt the movie even has that, but that’s kind of my point).

All that to say I liked The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly overall. I enjoyed the story and enjoyed Clint Eastwood.  Seeing Young Clint Eastwood is not terribly different than seeing Old Clint Eastwood, and I don’t mean that as a bad thing. As a matter of fact, Unforgiven is both my favorite Clint Eastwood movie and my favorite Western.  But you don’t get to Unforgiven without going through The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly and 20 other similar movies. You have to have that groundwork in place, I think, or Unforgiven loses something. I do enjoy watching older movies with that in mind. It’s the same reason Citizen Kane constantly makes #1 on top movie lists – it did a bunch of things movies hadn’t up to that point, and it’s a blueprint for what came after it, in many ways. Enjoying something in the context it was originally released can be difficult, but it’s a good exercise.

I will say that I feel like The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly could have done with some editing, and I say that as the same guy who just said he doesn’t generally see those sorts of things, which should make you understand how noticeable it was to me. The movie was two hours and forty minutes long, which accounts for it being broken up into several nights’ viewing. I couldn’t sit here and tell you exactly what needed to be edited, just that I’m sure there were some things.

As a nice little postscript, when I shelved this Blu-Ray alphabetically, it ended up right next to my Gran Torino Blu-Ray. Play nice, fellas.


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