Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Lonesome Dove



I found the above photo of Woodrow Call & Capt. Gus McCrae tin soldiers at the following website: The Toy Soldier and Old Tin Soldier Shop. They're $795, in case you want to buy them.

Anyhow, Lonesome Dove is a fine television melodrama. I found myself wiping tears from my eyes for about 4 of the 6 hours. Is it a great movie? No. A great mini-series? Maybe. Dickensian in its plotting, it relies heavily on dramatic irony, coincidence and charm. It has the latter in spades. A fine script is handled well by able actors. Robert Duval is in top form. My main gripe is that while you can't really blame a Western for being about something other than what it seems, this one struck me as very much of its time (the 1980's). Most of the men on the drive are sensitive, confused, and psychologically uncertain, just like most of the men who grew up in the 80's. Duval plays a million high school guidance counselors rolled into one witty cowboy, who stands at their side helping them purge their demons as they struggle their way out of an adolescence that seems to last forever. While they make for entertaining and at times affecting viewing, none of the characters seem terribly of the western era.

Except for Tommy Lee Jones. Strong, silent, proud, humorless, his Woodrow Call strikes me as very much of his time. While Robert Duval is off making everyone feel good about themselves, Tommy Lee Jones is acting like a man of his era likely would, which is to say he is very stubborn. His unwillingness (or, if you prefer, inability) to admit his paternity to his son struck me as both the most affecting and also the most authentic moment in the whole movie.

The rest, well, that's entertainment.

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