The Ballad of Cable Hogue (1970)
In 1969 and 1971, Sam Peckinpah made the two films
which are generally considered his masterworks: The Wild Bunch (1969)
and Straw Dogs (1971). In between them, he made The Ballad of Cable
Hogue, a film which has been largely forgotten over the years, but
which Peckinpah always considered his own favorite film. If you are
familiar with this movie and with Peckinpah's career, you might be
surprised to hear of his preference for it, because it is quite
dissimilar to his other films. Oh, it is a Western; it features many
members of his usual character actor repertory; and it covers some of
Peckinpah's familiar territory: the end of the Wild West era of rugged
individualism; but the similarities to his other films stop there. The
most salient point can probably be summed up in the first adjective
that comes to mind when I think of this film: "charming." Many
positive adjectives have been used to characterize Peckinpah's work,
but "charming" is not among them. That epithet is generally reserved
for movies starring Cary Grant, or Maurice Chevalier, or Audrey
Hepburn, yet it is the right word to summarize The Ballad of Cable
You see, Hogue is a romantic comedy, and the lead
characters even sing to one another! You could call it a musical
without fear of angry rebuttal, because in addition to the sweet duet,
it includes a lush musical score by Jerry Goldsmith, with a long vocal
for the beginning and ending theme music. It is even edited like a
musical, montage-style. You know how the characters in a musical often
continue to sing the same song as they go from location to location
and situation to situation? This film uses that same editing trick,
except with conversations rather than songs. One character may ask
another a question while they are unloading lumber to build a house,
but the other answers from the rooftop as the house is nearly built,
then back to the other as they apply the final touches to the
Yeah, I know that the concept of a Sam Peckinpah
musical romance sounds like the premise for a Monty Python skin, but
that's what this is and it's a damned entertaining and sometimes
surprisingly tender movie. In fact, I agree with Peckinpah's judgment
of it. I don't know that I would call this his "best" movie, but it's
my favorite. Frankly, I don't even know how to measure whether one
movie is better than another, and I plan to stray away from that
discussion until somebody gives me a set of working criteria that can
help me evaluate whether Pulp Fiction is "better" than Fantasia. For
the record, the best available objective criterion (IMDb rating)
places Cable Hogue somewhere in the middle of Peckinpah's filmography.
- (8.09) - The
Wild Bunch (1969)
- (7.59) -
Straw Dogs (1971)
- (7.58) -
Ride the High Country (1962)
- (7.39) -
Cross of Iron (1977)
- (7.39) - The
- (7.38) -
Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974)
- (7.28) - The
Ballad of Cable Hogue (1970)
- (7.09) - Pat
Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973)
- (6.70) -
Junior Bonner (1972)
- (6.61) -
Major Dundee (1965)
- (6.42) - The
Deadly Companions (1961)
- (5.96) - The
Killer Elite (1975)
- (5.83) - The
Osterman Weekend (1983)
- (5.82) -
- (4.59) -
In the beginning of the film, the prospector Cable Hogue (Jason
Robards) is abandoned by his partners to die in the desert. He
swears that if he ever gets out, he will hunt down the
double-crossers and kill them. Pretty familiar Peckinpah territory
so far. Now comes the severe right turn. Cable wanders through the
desert for days until he stumbles upon a water hole. Turns out his
discovery is quite close to a stagecoach line, and is the only
water in a forty mile stretch of desert. Since Cable is an
entrepreneur at heart, he buys the tiny tract of land and turns it
into a rest stop for weary travelers. In the process of establishing
his business, he treats everyone fairly, and 95% of them are fair to
him. With the exception of one wayward baddie who truly needs killin',
Cable doesn't have to do anything violent or ruthless to establish
his claim to the land, to get financing from the bank, or to build
his business in the wilderness. The lawless old West is basically
gone, replaced by men and women who work out their differences
Cable falls in love with the fanciest fancy-lady (Stella Stevens)
in the closest town, and they share many tender moments, but she is
determined to make a better life for herself than Cable can offer
her in his ramshackle desert home, so she wanders off to San
Francisco to marry a rich man. Cable's heart is broken, but he's not
the kind of guy to dwell on such matters. He gets back to work, and
continues to wait for news of the two men who betrayed him.
The two men finally arrive, but Cable does not kill them
immediately. He gives them a chance to walk away peacefully, but
sets a trap to lure them back with the promise of buried riches. If
they had not come back to rob him, Cable would have let them go.
When they do come back to rob him, Cable does finally kill one, but
ends up forgiving the other because the guy is a weakling who had
always been under the thumb of the tough guy. In fact, Cable not
only forgives him, but actually gives his way-station to the
partner-turned-enemy-turned-partner, because the love of his life
returns from San Francisco as a rich widow with ... an automobile!
(Set the symbolism meter to .... changing of the West.)
I almost wish that the film had offered us that storybook ending
filled with the reconciliation of the two men and the reunion of the
lovers, but life is not so simple, and this is a movie about real,
breathing characters. The ending is sad and the symbolism is a bit
heavy-handed, but it's bittersweet rather than tragic. And charming,
dammit, very charming! Especially Robards. I've never been a great
fan of Jason Robards in general, even in films I like and admire,
and I've always felt that his reputation far exceeded what he
accomplished with his miniscule emotional range. That may be so, but
he sure as hell nailed this role. Cable Hogue is one of the most
interesting and complex characters ever to grace the screen, and
Robards managed to deliver the role with a quirkiness that never
stepped on the credibility. I ended up liking Cable immensely, and
rooting for him every step of the way. And even though Robards
can't sing for shit, I even liked his duet with Stella Stevens, not
just because she is naked at the time, but in the same sense that I
liked Lee Marvin's crusty vocals in Paint Your Wagon - those two
performances both seem to come from the heart of a masculine,
tone-deaf character who would enjoy singing, and who would sing as
well as he could if placed in exactly those situations. My dad was
the same kind of guy - very manly, but loved to sing to himself, and
couldn't. Robards captured that kind of guy perfectly. (His other
duet, with the equally tone-deaf David Warner, is one of the worst
examples of singing ever recorded on electronic media, but the two
characters were supposed to be dead drunk at the time, so it's
The rest of the cast supports Robards
soundly, and they had a good script to work from. The West of this
film is filled with interesting minor characters, almost all of whom
are written with enough complexity to make them believable and
recognizable as people who might really have existed somewhere near
these locations in the Valley of Fire, Nevada, and Apacheland at the
foot of Superstition Mountain, Arizona.
Very appealing movie. I rate it as one of the 25 best Westerns
Veteran Police Officer Faces Charges For Hitting Himself With
Congresswoman McKinney's Hand
Colbert Report: Martyr
- Just as Jesus died for our sins, Tom DeLay's congressional career has died
for Jack Abramoff's sins.
Colbert talks to the author of "Manliness"
Colbert Reports on crying - in the war on manliness
- You know who cries? Girls. And little babies. And little baby girls.
Colbert fears losing his job to immigrants - El Reporto Colberto Gigante
Daily Show: Headlines - Afrospanicindioasianization
- Race: an issue ever since the first pilgrim saw an Indian and thought
'He'd make a great mascot.'
Retired General Tony Zinni discusses some of the problems in Iraq in his book
The Battle for Peace.
Whites become a minority in America on June 19th, 2061.
Daily Show: Corddry - Racist Like Me
- The great injustice: just because Rob Corddry's a racist, people think
it's ok to oppress him.
"Joan Rivers once gave out actress Victoria Principal's home phone number on her
The trailer for My Brother's Wife
- After almost ten years of marriage, the stunningly attractive ZoŽ realizes
that her marriage to Ignacio no longer carries the passion and spark it once
had. Emotionally adrift, she is left to search for those sensations once
again, and soon finds herself seduced into the arms of Gonzalo, her husband's
brother. At first, Zoe becomes reinvigorated by the romance. But her decision
soon launches a series of events that drives these three people through a
gauntlet of revenge, secret and despair that will unravel them all.
trailer and four clips from THE PROPOSITION - Written by Nick Cave - Directed by
- Set against the harsh and unforgiving landscape of the 1880s Australian
outback, "The Proposition" is a visually stunning tale of loyalty, revenge and
the quest for justice in a lawless land. Charlie Burns (Guy Pearce) is a
renegade. Along with his two brothers, Arthur (Danny Huston) and Mikey
(Richard Wilson), he is wanted for murder. When Captain Stanley (Ray Winstone)
captures Charlie and Mikey, he offers Charlie a proposition in an attempt to
end the brutality that surrounds them -- the only way to save Mikey from the
noose is for Charlie to track down and kill Arthur, his psychotic older
brother. An impossible moral dilemma leads to a murderous climax.
The trailer for Peaceful Warrior
- Dan Millman (Scott Mechlowicz) is a gifted young athlete bound for Olympic
gold who will do anything to be the best. Driven by success, Dan has got it
all: trophies, fast motorcycles, fast girls, and wild parties. But Dan's world
is turned upside down when he meets a mysterious stranger in a gas station
(Nick Nolte) who holds the power to tap into new worlds of strength and
understanding. The young man discovers that he has much to learn and even more
to leave behind in order to master this new vision of greatness in this moving
tale about the power of human will. Based on the semi-autobiographical book
loved by millions, "Way of the Peaceful Warrior" by Dan Millman.
Cynthia McKinney Arrest: Transcript of President Bush's Phone Call of Concerned
Support to Mercilessly Tormented Cynthia McKinney (WHITEHOUSE.ORG)
2006 NFL Schedules
Here's one that may be worth a bookmark:
The Film Asylum Gallery (Lots of stills of movies and performers from
How did some NBA stars choose their uniform numbers?
Famous fictional brands
"Put down that guitar and do your homework. You'll never make any money with
those stupid web casts!"
Webcast singer snapped up by Sony
world's fattest gymnast.
Sony Officer says
will be out for Christmas season - in the $600 Price Range!
Playboy Names Wisconsin Madison the Top Party School
- I don't know about #1, but the party school reputation is certainly
merited. Kids from the surrounding cities and states leave their own colleges
on weekends to party in Madison. (My son, who lives way up in Appleton, is one
South Park kids watch Family Guy
Now here's a promotional gimmick:
An issue of
Maxim which is large enough to be seen from space (Requires Google Earth)
Goodyear says, "Changing tires can be dangerous"
A series of video blogs for a comedy called Hot Fuzz, which stars Sean of
- Police constable, Nicholas Angel (S of the D) is good at his job, so good
in fact, he makes everyone else look bad. As a result, his superiors at the
Met have decided to sweep him under the carpet. So it is that London's top cop
finds himself in the sleepy West Country village of Sandford. With garden
fetes and neighborhood watch meetings replacing the action of the city, Angel
struggles to adapt to his situation and finds himself partnered with Danny
Butterman, an oafish but well meaning young Constable, who dreams of being Mel
Gibson. Just as all seems lost, a series of grisly accidents motivates Angel
into action. Convinced of foul play, Angel realises that Sandford may not be
as idyllic as it seems.
clip from When Do We Eat?
- "'When Do We Eat?' is the story of the world's fastest Passover seder that
is anything but. On this night, secrets will be revealed, fantasies fulfilled,
barriers broken down and some food might be consumed. A tough-love dad
(Michael Lerner) has to deal with hosting his father (Jack Klugman) who never
unpacks, his wife (Leslie Ann Warren), who is intent on creating the perfect
Seder, and his children who go out of their way to make the night an
adventure. When one of the kids slips Dad a tab of special psychedelic
Ecstasy, his visions turn him into a modern day Moses intent on leading this
hungry group to the promised land of family forgiveness. Of course they're all
so stubborn, it would be easier to part the Red Sea."
clip from On a Clear Day, about a laid-off 55 year old factory laborer who
decides to swim the English Channel
"FEMA: U.S. PREPARED FOR HURRICANE, BIRD FLU AS LONG AS HURRICANE WIPES OUT
'Da Vinci Code' sets sales record in paperback
Elfman and Aisha Tyler to get naked in April 25th issue of Allure!
- I hope it's not just one of those "hold your own boobs" things. The issue
also features Jaime Pressly, Elizabeth Perkins and Chloe Sevigny, none of whom
are strangers to filmed and/or published nudity.
Veteran Police Officer Faces Charges For Hitting Himself With
Congresswoman McKinney's Hand
I did not make this up. It is not from a spoof site. This is for real.
German researchers say that people who smile a lot and say "have a nice day" are
headed to an early grave while the grumpy stay fit.
If only the headline DID say it all...but it gets a whole lot worse. This
story is Jerry Springer's wet dream:
Three Arrested at Baby Shower Brawl
"Golfers use 7-irons to beat rabid bobcat"
- Here's a tip for you youngsters. A 7-iron is fine for bobcats, but use the
driver if attacked by a mountain lion. If a camel escapes from the zoo - go
with the sand wedge
"Expert Says Hard Liquor Helps Houseplants"
Colbert chats with Jesse Jackson
"Stephen Colbert's Balls for Kidz: Plastic Surgery" ... because you're never
too young to learn how to look your best.
Colbert Report retires Tom DeLay's number
- "Tom DeLay is to Congress what Michael Jordan is to basketball."
The Daily Show:
The venerable Studs Terkel discusses some of the inspiration for his new book
And They All Sang.
"Daily Show: Sometimes to make the law you've got to break the law. Much the way
a vet would strangle a cat."
"John McCain discusses whether his 'Straight Talk Express' has been rerouted
through 'Bullshit Town.'"
"Daily Show: Headlines - DeLay: The Inevitable"
- Every time Tom DeLay resigns an angel gets its wings
Textbook Says Donkeys Are Better Than Housewives
- "A donkey is like a housewife. It has to toil all day and, like her, may
even have to give up food and water. In fact, the donkey is a shade better,
for while the housewife may sometimes complain and walk off to her parents'
home, you'll never catch the donkey being disloyal to his master."
Record industry spokesman says:
"The RIAA has been known to suggest that students drop out of college or go to
community college in order to be able to afford settlements."
Part VI of Silent Bob's continuing saga of Jay's heroin habit.
The race is not always to the fleet, nor the battle to the mighty:
"David Spade was 'full-on making out' with Heather Locklear at Jones restaurant
in Los Angeles last week"
The Smoking Gun:
Sharon Stone's Demands on the BI2 set
Lovely By Surprise - a free film in chapters (sponsored by a car company)
Eminem divorces first wife a second time
Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe). White asterisk: expanded format.
Blue asterisk: not mine. No asterisk: it probably sucks.
L'Insegnante viene a casa (1979)
The School Teacher in the House again stars Edwige Fenech. This time, she
is a piano teacher who has moved to town to be near her boyfriend. He seems
less than thrilled to have her living in his small town, possibly because of
his wife, and possibly because he is running for mayor on a platform of family
values. Fenech, not surprisingly, is noticed by every male in town, including
the doctor who owns the building she takes a room in, and his twenty-something
son. While helping her move in, the son of the doorman sees her appointment
book, and figures she must be a hooker, a fact that he shares with everyone.
So many people are trying to climb in her bed that Fenech, at one point,
has one in the closet, and two on the balcony. Even after she learns the
wannabe mayor is married, she lets him convince her that he is only waiting
until after the election to divorce his wife.
IMDb readers say 4.8. The audio on this all-region DVD is not at all good,
but the video quality is fine. Most of the humor is slapstick. Again, fans of
Italian sex comedy, and Fenech fans will enjoy this. The rest of you may not.
Dann reports on Brokeback Mountain:
The question is, if this 2005 drama had been about 2 male
hairdressers, or 2 male fashion designers, instead of 2 cowboys, would it
have won Academy Awards and wide critical acclaim? I'm thinking no,
because while it was a good movie, it was hardly a great one.
Two young cowboys are sent
to a mountain to care for a herd of sheep over the summer. Despite the
fact that both are (supposedly) heterosexual, they become so attracted to
one another over time that they have a sexual encounter.
As the years pass and both
men marry and have children, they continue to get together occasionally
for "fishing trips", and their relationship blooms into love. As they grow
closer, their family situations worsen until one finally ends in divorce.
The occasional fishing trips continue over the years until things
culminate in a surprise ending.
This movie had beautiful,
even breathtaking scenery and photography, and a good and somewhat unique
story based on a short story by E. Annie Proulx. It was also 2
hours 14 minutes long, and frankly, I found the first 90 minutes to be way
too draggy to the point of being boring. This whole movie would have been
better off as a 90 minute effort, in my mind. A good movie, but I did not
find it to be a great one.
Part 2 of the latest installment of Brainscan collages made from Tuna captures.
Casey the Co-ed
Casey the Co-ed
Casey the Co-ed
... Right Moves
... Swimming Pool
Evelyn ... Grave
Playmate of the Apes
Casey the Co-ed
Casey the Co-ed
Bread ... Chocolate
Eat Your Heart Out
Where Truth Lies
Playmate ... Apes