The Kid Brother (1927): Criterion Collection [Blu-Ray]

I confess I’ve never seen much from Harold Lloyd, even though I’d heard a lot about him over the years. Even during my days when I was looking to explore silent film, Lloyd seems to stand in a league of his own. “The Kid Brother” is one of his arguable best, it’s not a raucous comedy, but it manages to be a well paced, and charming underdog tale nevertheless. Lloyd embodies a lot of the underdog hero traits that we like, right down to the humble trademark glasses, something that becomes a unique trait in his quest to fight for the girl of his dreams and his family.

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The Bootleg Files: McLintock!

BOOTLEG FILES 674: “McLintock!” (1963 Western starring John Wayne).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: On both public domain labels and in official commercial release.


CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: There was an official commercial release, but the film is still being bootlegged.

Earlier this week, John Wayne was the subject of news headlines and social media buzz – which is no mean feat, considering that the star passed away 40 years ago. The new focus on Wayne was due to politically incorrect comments on race and sexual orientation that he made in a 1971 interview with Playboy Magazine. Back in the day, nobody thought twice about the interview – contrary to popular insistence, people did not read Playboy for the articles. But today, of course, it seems that the mainstream media has a racism outrage quota to fill. And when the demand for racist behavior to condemn outpaces the supply of current incidents, clickbait scoundrels scour the archives – or, in a certain Chicago case, hire a pair of oversized Nigerian brothers – in order to stir new waves of frenzy.
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Forty Guns (1957): Criterion Collection [Blu-Ray]

Samuel Fuller’s “Forty Guns” is very much a B western but one filled with such eccentricities and ahead of its time role reversals that it’s hard not to be a little charmed by it. The idea of Barbara Stanwyck as a villain in the old west is appealing enough, but “Forty Guns” packs such a unique and fun premise. Along with it, there are so many weird twists and turns including two musical numbers, a wedding scene, and a premise that feels to have slightly influenced 1993’s “Tombstone” (?).

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The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez (1982): Criterion Collection [Blu-Ray]

I’m very disappointed that it’s taken me so long to watch “The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez,” a Robert M. Young Western drama that has gone shockingly under mentioned for years. A mix of “The Ox-Bow Incident” and “Rashomon,” in many ways it’s a very history accurate and groundbreaking example of the genre. Young’s drama pictures a hideous crime and paints it in the shades of people’s prejudices and how we can perceive certain events when emotions and biases play a big hand.

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Heaven’s Gate: Classic or Clunker?

For many people, Michael Cimino’s 1980 epic “Heaven’s Gate” represents the worst of cinema. For others, however, the film is an original and audacious work that did not deserve the harsh reviews and box office failure in its initial release. On this episode, film critic Jerry Roberts joins Phil Hall to discuss the merits and mishaps of this still-polarizing work.

The episode can be heard here.

“The Online Movie Show” is produced at the Platinum Wolfe Studios.

Young Guns II (1990)

I’m old enough to remember that, despite being a goofy vehicle for the Brat Pack, that “Young Guns” was pretty popular and warranted its own follow up. Now shedding the whole gimmick aside, Geoff Murphy spends his movie following Billy the Kid, as he attempts to hide from the law and make a deal with a new Marshall who swears to release him and let him off without being hanged. Of course he turns his back on the deal, prompting Billy to flee with his gang and his two old friends Chavez and Doc, both of whom are re-introduced as having been caught and imprisoned. “Young Guns II” avoids the goofy opening sequence in favor of a campy shot of a very old Billy the Kid (Emilio Estevez in old man make up) who calls a lawyer to meet him in a neutral zone.

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Young Guns (1988)

This is the story of The Regulators. No wait, this is the story of Billy the Kid. No this is the story of how Billy the Kid met Pat Garrett. Oh hell, it’s all of that and essentially a remake of “The Cowboys.” Rather than a small group of boys who avenge their mentor in a dramatic finale, this group of young men avenges their caretaker in the beginning and we’re stuck with them for the duration. And they do so in a very long and cheesy Western that jumps in and out of so many sub-plots that it becomes exhausting. Christopher Cain’s “Young Guns” is really only a film you’ll likely love if you were between 13 and 19 in 1988. It’s another attempt to tack the brat pack on to a movie genre, and it pretty much fails from the moment we’re introduced to various characters in a goofy opening credits sequence. Every character is essentially some kind of gimmicky contributor to the narrative, only delivering broad Western cliches.

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Wild Wild West (1999)

As we all saw with Tarantino a few years ago, the idea of Will Smith in a Western isn’t a bad one. Smith has a modern look that’s not accessible for every film, but with the right director Smith could shine. It’s just too bad he straddled himself to Barry Sonnenfeld who casts Will in one of the most poorly conceived TV to movie adaptations of all time. “Wild Wild West” is worse than “Beverly Hillbillies” and “Charlie’s Angels” combined. What’s worse is that director Sonnenfeld has absolutely no idea how to utilize Smith in a Western setting. So by the time the movie has started, rather than rely on the pulpy martial arts theme from the original series, the movie just becomes a showcase for Will Smith to be Will Smith. Even in the old West, Smith is the wise cracking, shade wearing, cowboy who is a hit with the ladies.

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