We walked into Blockbuster and browsed the new release shelves but didn't see anything that looked good. So we checked out the old movies. As I walked by the horror section I remembered a trailer I'd just seen to the new Dawn of the Dead remake. The George Romero original had been recommended to me so I thought I might as well get it. They did have it, unfortunately on VHS but that's good enough. I then go the idea we should stay up all night watching movies all zombie flicks. That changed into movies from different genres. Classics from each genre.
Horror - Dawn of the Dead
Western - The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
SciFi - Blade Runner
All classics but for some odd reason I'd never gotten around to watching any of them. So we rented them. Got home and decided to start with the western.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
This was not what I expected from a western. Sure it had the shot of an empty street with a skinny dog walking across but it was much more artistic than the stereotype. It reminded me a lot of the 'art' films I've been watching lately.
The camera work was excellent. Big, wide, lingering panoramic views of the desert made me think of Lawrence of Arabia. I liked the way the director would have extreme close-ups of characters and he would switch back and forth over and over to add tension to the scene. One scene I liked a lot was when Tuco was running in the graveyard. The camera followed him as he went from grave to grave, getting closer until the background was blurry and the music got faster and faster, it was so cool. In no way did it fit my pre-conceived image of a western.
The graphics during the opening credits were also out of place. They reminded me of Tarantino for some reason. I'm sure he was influenced by Leone.
The music throughout the film definitely set the mood. I was really moved by the scene where the confederate soldiers play while Tuco gets beat down. The music coupled with the crying fiddle player was very touching.
I really liked the acting in the film, particularly Eli Wallach as Tuco. Tuco had the most depth in the movie. The scene with his brother, where they talk about the death of his parents, shows you a different side of Tuco. He is usually loud, obnoxious, he's a liar, a thief, and greedy but during that scene he shows a sadness, guilt, something not seen before. He quickly covers it up, but it was there, and it makes Tuco more human. He's the Ugly from the title, but he's not ugly all the way down.
Eastwood is classic in this movie. A cigar always in his mouth, and damn that cigar is useful, a Mexican poncho, and that squint of his. I wish you got deeper into his character, all you know is that he's not as bad as the others, but he's no 'good' guy.
This was a great movie, and I recommend it to all.
We never did get to the other movies that night. We will though, in the nights to come.