Wild Bill (1995)
His real name was James Butler Hickok, but history has brought him
to us as "Jimbo." Why the author of this film chose to call him
Bill" is anyone's guess.
Hickok was like a lot of men who fought in the
War Between The States and had no interest in rejoining civilized
society when the great conflict was over, so he forged a life
satisfactory to himself out West. That basically consisted of ridin' from town
to semi-lawless town, gamblin', drinkin', and whorin', and occasionally
(and very briefly) taking a job as a lawman when it seemed like the
right thing to do. The territories really were wild in the late 1860s and
70s, and there were plenty of Eastern authors who wandered out there
to sample the flavors of the West and to report back to their readers
hungry for romantic tales. The writers interviewed the locals, and the
responses included a bizarre admixture of truth, oft-repeated legends,
and outright fabrications. Sometimes people just got tired of talking
to reporters and told them what they wanted to hear. Wild Bill Hickok
was one of those people. He told some writers that he had killed
"hundreds" of men, and that became the legend of Wild Bill.
Harper's New Monthly Magazine published a story about him in
February 1867 and he was soon elevated to the status of frontier legend
and "fastest gun in the West."
Hickok reality was
quite unlike the legend.
Although he really was both fast and accurate with his firearms, and
looked every bit the part of colorful plainsman, "Wild Bill" was
raised in Illinois, and he spoke softly and politely. His actual
number of documented kills, excluding Indians and enemy soldiers, was
either six or seven, but Hickok had created his own legend, and that
revised version of his story superseded the truth forever. Hickok may
have been America's first rock star, but he soon found out that being
a legend wasn't all it was cracked up to be and by
the end of his life, Wild Bill regretted ever having
co-operated in his own apotheosis. While James Butler Hickok
could mosey from town to town and enjoy his chosen lifestyle, the
great Wild Bill Hickok had to stay on his toes constantly, because
there was always someone eager to prove that the hero had feet of
clay. That placed a lot of restrictions on some of his favorite
pleasures, like getting totally shit-faced and gambling in public saloons.
The rest of his pleasures were diminished by a bad case of venereal
disease and a syphilis-related deterioration of his eyesight. Although
he was murdered by a coward who bushwhacked him from behind, ol' Bill wasn't likely to live much
longer anyway, one way or t'other. The combination of blindness and
drunkenness wasn't the prescription for a long life as a gunfighting legend
in the Dakota Territory.
The Walter Hill movie about Wild Bill
couldn't seem to make up its mind whether it was going to indulge his
legend or debunk it, so it did a bit of both. To make matters even
more confusing, it took the basic story from two widely disparate
accounts of Bill's life. Pete Dexter's "Deadwood" is a satirical novel
about a Wild West as Bosch might have painted it, filled with chaos,
filth, laugh-out-loud dialogue, and acerbicly-drawn characters. Thomas
Babe's "Fathers and Sons" is a rhetorical and stagy play which
re-imagines Hickok's killer, Jack McCall, as his unacknowledged son,
and which turns their final confrontation into a long, drawn-out
Shakespearian scenario filled with colorful stereotyped minor
characters and flowery speeches about heroism, guilt and expiation.
Babe's play was not only poetic, it was a musical, first produced in a
1978 Shakespeare festival!
This link will take you to the complete description, but this
brief excerpt tells you all you need to know:
Richard Chamberlain as Bill, Dixie Carter as Calamity Jane, and
Brad Davis as Jack McCall. There were songs, yes, sung by those
leads and others, with music by Brad Burg and lyrics by Babe."
You know, I think I would pay for a ticket to
see Richard Chamberlain as a singing and dancing Wild Bill Hickok.
Back to the matter at hand ...
sources formed an uneasy marriage, to say the least. Before Babe's
play took over the last half hour of the film, the story was already
trapped between legend and reality, but the father/son angle added
complete fabrication to the mix, and did so with a lot of heavy-handed
speechifyin'. I actually cheered out loud at one point in the
prolonged McCall/Hickok confrontation in an abandoned saloon populated
only by Hickok, Hickok's friends, McCall, and McCall's hired
desperadoes. John Hurt, who narrated the entire film in a role as
Hickok's fictional English pal, stands up with great difficulty, walks
around the saloon with the aid of a cane, and delivers a long
monologue about how we need heroes, but we also need to tear them
down, and blah, blah, blah, as if he were trying to win a trophy in a
high school original oratory contest. James Remar, as a fictional
hired killer employed to help Jack McCall kill Hickok, finally gets
tired of listening to that bullshit and punches the old cripple in the
face, knocking him cold with one blow. That was when I cheered.
The film really doesn't work. It doesn't know
where it wants to go, and it ends up going everywhere. It is just a
collection of facts, old legends, and newly-imagined legends, none of
which seem to have any point separately or together. The one thing
really memorable about the film is an interesting Jeff Bridges portrayal of Hickok
as a world-weary, no-bullshit guy who has lived an unreflective life
but is finally starting to experience pangs of regret.
Bridges always seems to get the job done, but unfortunately, Jeff was given a mediocre script and a weak supporting
cast in this case, and very few people have really gotten to see his
solid performance as Hickok.
Barkin's brief nude scene looks kind of sexy in the film clip, but
when you pause to capture the moments, you realize there's really
Newly-discovered ancient gospel shows Judas to have been a good guy, and
a terrific dancer.
- Jesus is said to
have entrusted Judas with special knowledge and to have asked him to
betray Him to the Roman authorities. By doing so, He tells Judas, "you will
exceed" the other disciples. "You will be cursed by the other generations, and
you will come to rule over them," Jesus confides to Judas.
- Dan Brown's next novel takes shape!
Writers Guild picks the greatest screenplays of all time, rounds up the
- I came to Casablanca for the waters.
- Waters? We have no waters. We are in the desert.
- I was misinformed.
St. Paul evicts the Easter Bunny
Here's one for your buddy who thinks he's the master of trivia:
Vegreville, Canada is the site of the largest Easter egg in the world.
PeepDrinks.Com, everything concerning alcohol mixed with marshmallow peeps
The Daily Kos' Markos Moulitsas explains the terms 'blogger' and 'Internet' to
Colbert analyzes Oregon's "Fightin' Fifth"
Colbert reports that Easter is under attack.
Colbert Report: Nazis
- In recent polls, President Bush scores one-third of a Hitler.
"Daily Show: Stewart - Votive or Die"
- "When praying, you've got to say 'amen' - otherwise it don't work."
Daily Show: Beach Ploys
- "Dan Bakkedahl heads down to spring break to party with some kids
interested in goods and services."
Weekly World News:
"SPACE STATION INFESTED WITH MICE - NASA TO SEND UP CAT"
The Time Travel
Fund - your ticket to the future.
- "The concept is that one day, it may be possible for people living far in
the future to retrieve you from your current frame of reference (their past -
your present) and bring you into the future (their present - your future.) We
pay them to bring you into the future."
- "We do not know what they will do, we can only make reasonably informed
Brittlelactica, the highest-tech milk ad ever. (I suppose.)
Which infamous villain are you?
Rob Schneider discovers the secret of good reviews: compared to Jon Heder
and David Spade, anyone looks good!
How to release a bad movie: "Avoid critics, advertise heavily and live for
Judge Rules in Favor of 'Da Vinci' Writer
- What the article glosses over is that the plaintiffs had a win-win
situation in filing the suit. If they win, great, if they lose, almost as
great - because sales of their own crappy book went from a few hundred a week
to 7,000 because of the trial's publicity.
Pass the time with office pranks
"German prostitutes are signing up for training to become tele-marketers."
- Because they've given people enough pleasure, dammit, and now it's payback
Impressive photographs of a rainbow
degree photo of Paris by night
Tivo.com reports the Top 25 most-recorded shows
Daily Show: Rice a Rongi
- What's the shelf life of a surprising moment of candor from a top Bush
official? Less than 24 hours.
Greatest Impostors in History
Unionized Aussie strippers entitled to overtime, rest periods, meal breaks and
- Does that mean that lap dances cost one and a half times as much after
they have worked 40 hours?
"Hotel heiress Paris Hilton has slammed media reports she will play Mother
Teresa in an upcoming film, insisting that the two look nothing alike."
- Although, of course, they are alike in so many spiritual ways.
- Do you think Paris really believes that their dissimilar cheekbones are
the only reason why she should not take the role? That would make her dumber
than we thought, which is virtually impossible.
The photography of Aaron Ruell,
who is better known to the world as Kip Dynamite.
Adam West and Chris from Family Guy in Dazed and Confused
Thailand Regrets Buying Voting Machines from Florida
Former Teen Idol Leif Garrett Sent to Jail
How to finance a Hollywood blockbuster with German tax
Proposed Mets Ballpark to evoke memories of Ebbets Field
Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe). White asterisk: expanded format.
Blue asterisk: not mine. No asterisk: it probably sucks.
L'Insegnante viene a casa (1979)
Cyberella: Forbidden Passions (1996) is an erotic Sci Fi. The opening scene
was almost enough to make me break it in half and throw it away. Debra K.
Beatty has fixed a fancy supper, and waits in vain for whomever is supposed to
dine with her. He arrives after she has finished off most of the wine. Turns
out he is late for the one year anniversary of their first date. They have
sex, with nearly no nudity shown, then he sneaks out of bed, takes her keys
off his ring and leaves them on her night table, and is about to sneak out for
good when she wakes up. She then learns that he has been promoted to corporate
headquarters, and will be leaving her. She plugs in a virtual reality program
she authored to relax, smells smoke, and wakes up naked in sand, with a
friendly but mysterious Landon Hall. Hall was the only one I recognized in the
cast, and she stayed dressed.
Then, suddenly, the film got interesting. Since Beatty was in a virtual
reality game at the time of her death, and didn't learn the lesson she was
supposed to on earth, she is given four chances to learn it and pass on to the
next tier. She can enter any VR program and interact with the people running
it. These include a nerd who lacks the nerve to ask Shayna Lee out, a crush of
hers from High School, a painter who is reclusive and lacks passion in his
art, and a lesbian dancer. Naturally, helping them requires nudity and sex. If
you are unable to guess what it is that Beatty needs to learn long before the
film ends, you are as dense as was her character.
After a rocky start, the film had interesting ideas, reasonable production
value, and did not seem boring. This is a C as couples erotica.
IMDb readers rate it only but the two comments are rather positive, and I
Brainscan returns to one of his favorite
subjects: staple girls who turn to acting careers. Here are his film clips.
Elke Jeinsen, Playmate of the Month in
May of 1993, in the highly-respected cinema classic, Hellcats in High Heels 2
(2000), a sequel mandated by the fact that there were just too many loose ends
at the end of Hellcats in High Heels. Jeinsen is still acting today, and has
been in films since the year she was a Playmate. (1,
Corinna Harney, the
Playboy Playmate of the Month in August of 1991, and the Playboy Playmate of
the Year in 1992, in Vampirella, a film made four years after her centerfold
appearance. She is still pursuing an acting career, at least on the fringes of
Canadian Heidi Sorenson, the Playboy
Playmate of the Month in July of 1981, in
Suspect Device, a Corman Classic
starring Soul Man Howell. This appearance came 14 years after Heidi's
centerfold, and closed out her acting career. She was 35.
Just for info, here is Heidi in another of
her screen appearances, in an episode of Dream On, makin' whoopee with that
"Body by Jake" dude.
... to be continued tomorrow.
Pat's comments in yellow...
To mark their 100th issue, Maxim magazine created a 110-foot-long replica of the
cover, featuring bikini-clad Eva Longoria of "Desperate Housewives." They
staked it out on the floor of the Nevada desert, where it can be seen from
space, and linked their website to Google Earth, which lets visitors zoom in to
a close-up from an orbiting satellite camera. Maxim calls it a "UFO's-eye view
of gigantic hotness."
* The aliens aren't impressed: she only has two boobs.
The sniping between "American Idol's" Simon Cowell and Ryan Seacrest is getting
nastier. Tuesday, Ryan asked if Simon knew how to give constructive criticism,
and Simon suggested Ryan quit trying to look like something out of "Desperate
Housewives" and "lose the beard." Some took it as a snide "gay" reference to a
recent photo of Ryan stiffly kissing Teri Hatcher. Now, one fan who wants the
show to get back to the singing contest has launched SimonVsRyan.com. It's an
online petition urging Fox TV to air a special like "Celebrity Boxing," so Simon
and Ryan can get their "macho crap" over with, man to man.
* They'll be fighting for a big purse...A big, Gucci
According to a Washington Post poll, 86 of 100 of Americans believe they
are "above average" in intelligence
* 36 of them are wrong