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in praise of cowboys and Harrison Ford - Laura Wise

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August 3rd, 2011


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05:19 pm - in praise of cowboys and Harrison Ford
Coming out of Cowboys and Aliens today, I was a little giddy. Dizzy. Happy. (Driving home, I actually forgot for a moment that oh, right, I have to shift gears to make the car move. I'm lucky I didn't lose my transmission.)

This foolishness can be attributed to two things: the ineffable Western elements of Cowboys and Aliens; and, in a sea of delicious testosterone, from Daniel Craig to Adam Beach to a perfectly weathered Keith Carradine, there was the rock that is Harrison Ford.

Part the First, re Western: there is a moment where Daniel Craig with [redacted] walks through a field of still-blooming ocotillos, and I damn near cried. It's about the land, and the smallness of humans in the immensity of a desert, and the beauty in stark silhouettes and subtle colors. It's about the paradox of human community, the fragility and the perseverance in the ways people connect. It's horses, and dogs, and the weathering of all things and all people. It's about boots in the dust, boots on the rocks.

I'd have been happier, I think, if the movie had just been Cowboys and Other People. But I got a hit of the West, and I was overjoyed.

Part the Second: Freixenet and I were discussing before the film, and by 'discussing' I mean 'lamenting,' that a certain kind of masculinity has seemed to pass away from films. (I had re-watched the force of nature that was Dennis Quaid in The Big Easy last week, which prompted my complaint.) Where were the charismatic grown-ups? You know, the quirky but confident, somewhat fucked-up but functioning, competent men, the guys who were at home in their bodies and could manage themselves in the world.

You know. Like Harrison Ford. Harrison Freakin' Ford.

I had Netflixed Morning Glory and watched it last night, wherein he had nothing to work with, no real story to play. (This problem extended to the Rachel McAdams main character, however, and was a larger problem with the script.) He had a couple of good moments as a cantankerous journalist slumming in morning TV, but... he was too big for the room, to be honest.

Cowboys and Aliens, tweaking Western archetypes* as it did, gave him the whole West to live in, and he filled it. Damn. Harrison Freakin' Ford not only still has it, he apparently has half of male Hollywood's 'it'. (Daniel Craig held his own. ;-)) (EDITED TO ADD A VISUAL AID: this is what I'm talking about. Yep.)

*One woman's archetype is another person's stereotype, of course.

Whether you can overlook the plot-holes and silliness of Cowboys and Aliens or not, I wish you the kinds of characters you love in your big-screen, small-screen, or paper adventures. And I wish you Harrison Ford. :-)

(30 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:paratti
Date:August 3rd, 2011 09:36 pm (UTC)
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I'm glad it hit the spot:)

((Hugs))
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From:laurawise
Date:August 3rd, 2011 09:56 pm (UTC)
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More than, L. More than hit the spot. ;-)

Hugs and a fab Thursday ahead!
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From:anne_d
Date:August 3rd, 2011 09:46 pm (UTC)
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Husband also enjoyed C&A, but not, I think, for the same reasons.

Speaking of charismatic grown-ups, do you know Silverado? It's one of my all-time favorite films.
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:August 3rd, 2011 09:58 pm (UTC)
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I can imagine that your husband did find other things to admire in the film, yes. :-)

And I DO indeed know Silverado, which has deliciousness of its own!

Hugs and a fab Wednesday-into-Thursday, A.
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From:kathyh
Date:August 3rd, 2011 10:05 pm (UTC)
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Harrison Ford and I go way, way back :) He is one of the few actors left who have true star quality.

he was too big for the room, to be honest.

Yes, I saw that film and I know what you mean. It should have been a romcom but he's too old to do that and it not be icky so the film wasn't quite sure what it was trying to do.

I can't wait to see "Cowboys and Aliens" and I second the recommendation for "Silverado" if you haven't seen it. No Harrison, but lots of other Western goodness.
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:August 3rd, 2011 10:46 pm (UTC)
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I have the same kind of long-term relationship with Mr Ford, yes. And with Silverado. :-)

Re the romcom problem with Morning Glory: I'd actually thought that he'd be paired with Diane Keaton, but her role was horrifically underwritten, and... yeah, it didn't work.

Hugs and a fab Thursday, K!
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From:cindergal
Date:August 3rd, 2011 10:46 pm (UTC)
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Glad you enjoyed, L!
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From:laurawise
Date:August 3rd, 2011 10:47 pm (UTC)
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I swooned, C. I honestly swooned. ;-)

A good Wednesday into Thursday for you!
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From:freixenet
Date:August 3rd, 2011 10:58 pm (UTC)
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Harrison Bad Ass MF Ford. Because...DAMN.

:still fanning self:
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:August 3rd, 2011 11:04 pm (UTC)
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Seriously, I feel as though we spent the afternoon drinking -- I'm still giddy. ;-)

(And Daniel Craig in chaps! What, I mean, WHAT HO THERE.)
[User Picture]
From:freixenet
Date:August 3rd, 2011 11:02 pm (UTC)
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And also, I have now spent over an hour trying to find a still shot of that OMG scene in the close, with Ford, Carradine, and the dog against the saloon wall. No luck so far, but that will be my new wallpaper. Yes. It will.
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:August 3rd, 2011 11:05 pm (UTC)
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What a fine, fine, fine wallpaper that will be. Because, DAMN.

Happy Wednesday into Thursday, F! Happy thoughts of cowboys!
From:gwynnega
Date:August 3rd, 2011 11:35 pm (UTC)
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Where were the charismatic grown-ups?

My first thought was (of course): they're on soap operas! :-) They're not on the big screen very much these days, though...

Glad you enjoyed the film!!

::hugs::
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From:laurawise
Date:August 3rd, 2011 11:43 pm (UTC)
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You're right that television is the home of grown-up characters, yes! If not necessarily just soap operas. ;-)

Hugs and a happy Wednesday to Thursday, Gwynne!
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From:mamculuna
Date:August 3rd, 2011 11:36 pm (UTC)
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Daniel Craig channels Steve McQueen for me, but true, that Dennis Quaid in Big Easy guy is hard to find, these days. Which makes me wonder if media is reflecting real life---if so, so sad for the girls. On the other hand, I spend my Chicago summers in a neighborhood of the young, and hope some of these guys act as fine as they look. Act in the sense of behave, not perform. Not just biceps, though I do appreciate summer for that--it's the attitude they project. If I were their age, I'd want to get to know them. But I don't see them on screen, big or little, very often.

But Daniel Craig--yeah.
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:August 3rd, 2011 11:48 pm (UTC)
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Daniel Craig references Clint Eastwood in this film, I'd say! ;-)

Which makes me wonder if media is reflecting real life -- that's an interesting point to ponder. The young men I know aren't entirely likely to be reflected in media.

But really, I think that in many ways, I'm just old; I wonder the kind of grown-up characters I like aren't as attractive to younger women. ;-)

Cheers and a lovely middle of the week!

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From:stateless82
Date:August 4th, 2011 12:06 am (UTC)
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It's been actual years since I went to the movies, but I may have to go for this one.


[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:August 4th, 2011 12:09 am (UTC)
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It's worth something to see Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig together on the big screen. It's worth a lot. :-)

(Mind you, the aliens storyline is not entirely... fresh. But I loved everything else so much that I didn't care.)

Hugs hugs, S, and a good evening!
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From:stevie_carroll
Date:August 4th, 2011 07:55 am (UTC)
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I've got another two weeks to wait for Cowboys and Aliens :-(

On the other hand Sons of Anarchy is back on UK TV, and I've got three episodes to catch up with. Plus, you know, it's time I edited Matthew and Cynthia's story. Matthew is a fun bloke to write.
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From:laurawise
Date:August 4th, 2011 10:36 am (UTC)
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Don't go to see Cowboys and Aliens for the plot, but its incidental pleasures.... :-)

Hurrah for your good things! Happy Thursday!
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:August 4th, 2011 12:44 pm (UTC)
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It's all about Mr Harrison Freakin' Ford. :-)

Hugs and a cheerful Thursday, C!
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From:janus_74
Date:August 4th, 2011 03:29 pm (UTC)
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Can't wait to see this. Hopefully it'll even be in a movie theater and not just at my house :)
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From:laurawise
Date:August 4th, 2011 04:10 pm (UTC)
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It does have a lot of Big Dumb Summer Movie elements, which were less pleasing -- but oh, the eye-candy (and fine, fine acting). :-))

Hugs and a good Thursday!
(Deleted comment)
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From:laurawise
Date:August 4th, 2011 08:15 pm (UTC)
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I'll take your first response, L. ;-)

Hugs and cheers for your rest of the week!
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From:mobile_alh
Date:August 5th, 2011 08:15 am (UTC)
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Oh, good! I was so hopping it was going to be That Kind of movie. Having seen the trailers, i now there will be far too many special effects, but I do love me some grown-up laconic cowboys.

[e.g. Eric Fleming in "Rawhide", who taught Clint how it's done.]

ahem.
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:August 5th, 2011 07:23 pm (UTC)
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Heeee. Happy trails, ALH, and hugs. :-)
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From:headrush100
Date:August 6th, 2011 09:16 pm (UTC)
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I know what you mean. At the moment I'm finding my 'charismatic grown-ups' in the form of an orgy of Robert De Niro (always good, however dire the film) and Dustin Hoffman films, from all stages of their careers. So glad Cowboys and Aliens gave you gear-stripping pleasure. Um, that didn't come out quite right, but you know what I mean. ;-) I feel much more inclined to watch the movie now!
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:August 6th, 2011 11:07 pm (UTC)
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Let me first note that a lot of people, not dizzied by HF or Daniel Craig, have raised v. good objections to Cowboys and Aliens. What can I say, I'm shallow. ;-)

Hurrah for you finding your joy! [hugs]

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