Balewatch 12: Durn Gunfure

That’s not a typo. It was a typo, when Sally and I were chatting during the actual Balewatch, but then it just sounded like durn gunfire with an accent. So.

Westerns are not my department. Westerns are my sister’s department. The department has a cactus… anyway, I rely on her to tell me whether a Western is a good western or not. But 3:10 To Yuma is a very good movie, and I am reliably informed it is a good Western too.

[Spoilers, fuckers.]

Russell Crowe is a jerkwad who once threw a phone at someone. This is maybe higher on the scale of object-throwing jerkwaddery than Hugh Grant’s incident with the tub of baked beans, but that was accompanied by the infamous “I hope your children get cancer” remark, and was aimed at paparazzi whereas I think the person in the path of Russell Crowe’s phone if I recall correctly was just a harmless hotel employee. My only point here being that Russell Crowe is kind of well known for being a dick, so when he plays a dick, you think to yourself, “Well, good dickery, sir, but perhaps a little close to type, hmm?” (Maybe Russell Crowe’s really reformed lately and all I’m doing here is spreading old slander, but the evil men do, good is oft interred, etc etc Yorick, and if I go down the internet wormhole that is trying to figure out if Russell Crowe’s done any anger-management work since the phone incident, I will never even make it to the next paragraph.)

His character in 3:10 To Yuma is not a dick. Dangerously unbalanced sociopath? Maybe. Poisonous charmer? A MIXTURE OF GOOD AND BAD AS ARE WE ALL? Ben Wade, outlaw and robber of stagecoaches carrying lots of money, is a seriously charismatic dangerfest.

Bale’s character in 3:10 To Yuma is Dan Evans. Things are not good on the Evans family ranch. They are bad. They could almost not be worse. Some asshole landowner is trying to drive them off their claimstakey jump thing, ie, their farm, by withholding water. The cattle are thirsty. The family doesn’t have enough to eat. And to top it all off, Ben Wade decides to let his gang kill a bunch of people and rob a heavily-moneyed Pinkerton coach right near their land. Then when Wade is caught, Evans sees a chance to make some money and maybe SAVE THE FARM, so he offers to have Wade stay at his place until they’re ready to transport him to the train the next day so he can go to justice and prison. He also offers to ride him to the train, with guns and a lot of intense looks.

I really want to write out exactly what else happens and how it makes me feel, but there’s a limit to my spoilage. Let’s just say that UNLIKELY BONDS FORM and LOTS OF PEOPLE DIE BLOODILY and SOMEONE THOUGHT TO PUT IN TORTURING RUSSELL CROWE WITH ELECTRICITY, SO THERE’S THAT. And if you want to read the best bits of the chat transcript, which contains such gems as this:

Me: You do not want Russell Crowe to sit quietly on a horse and look at you.
Sally: ‘Cows,’ thought Ben. ‘Cows are neutral evil. I will enlist them in my criminal pastimes.’

…then that’s here on Sally’s journal.

Alan Tudyk is in this movie too, and if you know anything about Alan Tudyk, you know how that ends for him.

It’s worth noting that 3:10 To Yuma is the EXACT OPPOSITE of Public Enemies, in that everything works and makes you care and feel a wide range of things for different people at different places making different totally understandable decisions. I don’t know why Public Enemies is such a complete failure on the compelling front, but Yuma is an excellent antidote.

Professional Scores:*

Bale:

Character: Dan Evans
Ann: 10
Sally: 10

Personal:
Ann: 9.5
Sally: 9.5

Crowe:

Character: Ben Wade
Ann: 10
Sally: 10

Personal
Ann: 9.5
Sally: 9.5

Special Mention:

Doc: Dying Heroically. Again.

Cows: Both for their neutral evil uses and their help in chaotic good.

*It’s worth noting that this is the first time our tallies have been EXACTLY THE SAME.

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