By: Oberst Von Berauscht (Three Beers) -
Lawrence Kasdan is the unsung hero of cinema for his work on The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Return of the Jedi, where he helped bring George Lucas’ ideas to life. Kasdan was an accomplished Director in his own right, with films like Body Heat, and The Big Chill to his name. With Silverado Kasdan set out to write a love-letter to classic Westerns, a big-budgeted epic with a star-studded cast. The film follows Paden (Kevin Kline) and Emmett (Scott Glen), two gunfighters traveling to the town of Silverado for various reasons. Along the way, they assist fellow-travelers in distress. When they reach the town, they find it has been taken over by a robber-baron, and together they fight to save the day.
Silverado is a buoyed by a smart script packed with the kind of humorous interplay and style found in Raiders of the Lost Ark. It also helps that the cast is excellent. Kevin Kline, Scott Glen, Brian Dennehy, Danny Glover, and Kevin Costner each create distinctive characters who embody the full range of Western personas.
I usually picked Cormano, he had the shotgun…
While the script is smart and fun, the story itself feels a bit light. Kasdan attempts to fit every hallmark of the Western Genre into one film. This often results in the movie feeling like a series of well constructed vignettes. The strong performances do help the movie rise above the shaky foundations of the story, but I was left wishing the director had just expanded on some aspects and left the rest on the cutting room floor.
This kind of story is too big to tell in the running time the movie gets. It makes me think of what would happen if they attempted to make the excellent Lonesome Dove miniseries into a 2 hour movie. (Hint: it wouldn’t work.) The relatively recent commercial failure of the nearly four-hour long Heaven’s Gate likely discouraged the producers.
That or they ate the poison S’mores…
An entertaining throwback to the traditionalist Western.
Take a Drink: for the Bodycount
Take a Drink: whenever the town “Silverado” is mentioned
Do a Shot: each time Emmett helps someone