11

Classic Westerns Part One: Rio Bravo

Rio-Bravo

We take cleanliness very seriously in this office.

Have you ever wanted to watch a movie that is purely comforting like a warm, soft blanket? You might not expect it, but this western showdown is just the thing. I’ve been revisiting some old classic westerns, and I found that Rio Bravo is still as good, nay, better than I remember.

If you’ve seen a John Wayne movie before, you probably know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, you might be wondering how that gruff old man who is always confronting people in your grandpa’s movies could ever be thought of as comforting. But it seems we are in the middle of an era of anti-heroes, so it’s nice to go back to an older time when you could trust the lead character to be uncompromising in his values and all but fearless in the face of danger.

In this wild west saga, John Wayne plays a sheriff who has arrested the brother of a very influential cattle baron. Although pressured by the  brother and his hired guns, the sheriff will not give up the murderer until a US Marshall comes to the town to take the prisoner into custody. Meanwhile, his deputy (played by Dean Martin) struggles with alcoholism.

This beer has blood on it... meh, I'll drink it anyway.

This beer has blood on it… meh, I’ll drink it anyway.

Things get complicated when a mysterious lady and a young but prudent gunslinger arrive in town. The lady’s motives are unclear, but she is either trying to seriously annoy John Wayne or to marry him, while the gunslinger just tries to be super cool and stay out of trouble, but soon he too is drawn into the main conflict.

Aside from the shooting and chases and gun duels, much of this movie involves people just hanging out. This is where the tensions and friendships between the characters keep the viewer fascinated even when guns are not blazing. They even enjoy a musical interlude, and with talent like Dean Martin and Ricky Nelson (the Justin Bieber of the ’50s, only better at singing), who could blame them?

As Jeffrey M. Anderson says in his Combustible Celluloid review,

“The movie has a sort of glee that goes with it. It’s more than exciting, and more than just interesting or funny. It’s a pure joy to watch.”

I couldn’t agree more.

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9

Dove Days of Summer

As you can see here, the thermometer indicated over 100 F, or about 40 C… a pretty typical temperature for Phoenix, Arizona in March.

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Just before this heat wave began, a dove chose our patio for its nesting site. You can also see a tiny dove in the nest if you look closely.

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The mother dove managed to produce two baby doves during her stay. Then, in about a week or two the young doves grew to a reasonable size and were able to fly. They practiced by flying from that shelfy thing that you see to the other side of the patio, which also had a similar ledge.

Though very young and inexperienced, they didn’t seem bothered by the heat at all, which is more than I can say for myself. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered such hotness before. But despite the heat, I would occasionally go for bike rides in the desert.

And it was there that I encountered some wild horses!

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You have to look closely to spot the wild horses in this pic…

They’re very shy creatures who are not afraid of passing cars but are afraid of bicycles. Maybe it’s because the passing cars show no interest in them whereas people on bicycles are discernibly more human and therefore dangerous. They ran off shortly after this photo was taken, back to their mysterious desert lives.

7

Pirate vs. Cowboy

Okay, this title sounds like it was written by a 5-year-old, but I can explain. I’m back in jolly old port of Vancouver, but part of me is still in wild west mode, so even though you may be used to me posting about swashbuckling heroes and pirates, you will have to endure  enjoy a few more western style posts. The other day I was thinking about how rarely it happens that pirates and cowboys cross paths. In fact, historically, it probably never happened. Or did it?…

So I wanted to share this song because it is by outlaw country artist Hank III and it’s about pirates, so it proves that cowboys and pirates can coexist. Also, it’s one of the coolest/weirdest songs ever.

Please comment below on whether you prefer cowboys or pirates and why!