Movie of the Day: Silverado
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What Is It?
Four cowboys (Kevin Kline, Scott Glenn, Kevin Costner, and Danny Glover) with different backgrounds and motivations must team up to face a corrupt, tyrannical sheriff (Brian Dennehy) in this adventurous western from writer/director Lawrence Kasdan.
What’s Cool About It?
If the name Lawrence Kasdan rings a bell, you’ve probably seen a Star Wars or Indiana Jones movie at some point in your life – he played a creative role in writing many of the entries in these beloved franchises. When he wasn’t writing for George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, Kasdan had a pretty successful side career making his own movies in the 1980’s and 90’s. His love for classic Hollywood westerns definitely comes through in his more famous screenwriting credits, but Silverado is his purest attempt to update the genre after the revisionist takes from directors like Sergio Leone and Sam Peckinpah. Instead of the darker visions of those films, Kasdan opted for a more comedic tone, casting actors like John Cleese and Jeff Goldblum in supporting roles. While it’s certainly not a revolutionary manifesto, the film also attempts to address issues of race and political corruption in the American West, recasting the villains as bigots and abusers of power (thankfully, times have changed… oh wait).
I Don’t Like Westerns. Should I Watch This?
Westerns have become more or less novelty pieces since the turn of the century, either weird B-movies or the playthings of auteurs like Quentin Tarantino and the Coen brothers. 2018 has seen a mini-revival in the genre thanks to films like Jacques Audiard’s The Sisters Brothers and the Netflix distributed The Ballad of Buster Scruggs from the Coen brothers, as well as a massively popular video game release. These films have earned praise for deconstructing standard tropes to present a more complex view of the American West with offbeat humor. In a way, Silverado serves as a good forerunner for these films, so if you enjoyed them this year, it’s worth a shot. However, if you think the genre is beyond salvation and is a product of imperialism and toxic masculinity run wild, this probably isn’t for you.
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