generally speaking I don’t have a problem with people who are both pro gun rights and people who are personally pro life (even if I am opposed to the later as a policy.) I understand the importance conceptually of the second amendment and respect it, especially as 90% of gun owners have reasonable views on gun laws (such as not allowing felons and the mentally ill to bear weapons) and even though I advocate pro-choice as a policy and truly believe it’s a women’s issue, I fully distinguish between that and being pro-abortion (as I think most women do), I very much understand how someone could find abortion personally reprehensible.
BUT THIS FUCKING TUMBLR POSTER.
I was scanning through the Obvious Child tag (great movie highly recommend) and this person had the audacity to compare abortions to mass genocide and condemn women who had had it, and to say the right to control ones own body wasn’t nearly as important as protecting life. So I clicked the tumblr to see what other things accompanied this post. THREE SCROLLS DOWN I see a post on how people have had to give up too many of their gun rights, compromise too many times, that they should get alll their gun rights back.
you seriously think that the right to own deadly weapons is more important than preventing the FAIR HIGHER NUMBER OF GUN-RELATED DEATHS EACH YEAR, WHILE THE RIGHT FOR A WOMAN TO HAVE SOME MODICUM OF A SAY OF WHAT HAPPENS TO HER BODY IS LESS IMPORTANT?
TELL ME AGAIN ABOUT HOW ABORTION ISNT A WOMEN’S RIGHTS ISSUE. PLEASE, TELL ME AGAIN.
So my school got an advanced screening of A Million Ways to Die in the West and …it wasn’t bad. I laughed a decent amount. But, as I left the theater, I couldn’t help feeling like I hadn’t seen a single original or innovative thought in the entire film’s design. If I was going to describe a movie that a white male comedian making a Western comedy starring himself would make, this would be it. 100%. It didn’t help that a giveaway before the film brought up the popular comparison going around with Blazing Saddles (which is enjoying its 40th anniversary*) which actually engaged with the Western genre in an interesting, creative way, and which also held significance and even some poignancy in the way handled issues of race (if not particularly well gender issues). This was one of those times the comparison definitely hurt.
Don’t worry, this film doesn’t at all rise up to the offensive levels of some Family Guy jokes, it doesn’t even reach Seth MacFarlane Oscar hosting levels of offensive. The most outrageous this film gets is the pretty typical gag humor. There are even several funny ongoing jokes and tie-ins, or cute interludes such as one about early photography - and a fair few cameos that will get cheers just because they’re beloved (and admittedly awesome) references. The only thing A Million Ways to Die in the West adds anything new to the oeuvre of the Western is in idealizing the nerd, which considering the times and the creator, isn’t particularly surprising. Beyond that, the inclusion of non-white characters, while not particularly disrespectful, is exactly the portrayal we’ve seen a million times before, and even less obvious in their usage to solely serve our protagonist than the experiences of Homer in The Simpsons Movie. Charlize Theron plays a perfectly badass frontierswoman and I spent most of the film hoping the film would let her be the film’s logical heroine the character was perfectly designed to be, all the while feeling the futility because at it’s core, this film is Seth MacFarlane’s Western fantasy. Unsurprising props to all the performers, but particularly her, for full-blooded performances. It’s really not a bad film, perfectly enjoyable in many ways, and it’s pretty enough to make me want a few more Westerns with modern cinematography, but it’s not a film with anything new to offer. I suppose this is preferable to a film that truly offends or to a film that manages to create new racial and gender misrepresentations to cringe at, but honestly at this point, I think it’s fair to want better. I’ve framed this discussion in terms of race and gender because the Native American sequence was so completely typical and because the main love triangle could not have been more predictable down to the smug final scenes patting our hero on the back, but this critique applies to the whole of the film. It’s decently executed, and I actually found Seth Macfarlane a quite likable as the Western protagonist he created and yes the film’s one musical interlude got fabulously stuck in my head, but most actual Westerns were far less predictable than this film ended up being. Regardless of the discussion of representation, put this up against something by the Marx Brothers or Mel Brooks or Monty Python and there’s no comparison, this film can be pretty quickly forgotten.
A Million Ways to Die in the West did made me wish for a few things - someone to make new brilliant comedic parodies of real quality, a new historical film musical comedy (heck with a slightly original idea Seth Macfarlane might even put one together I’d enjoy watching - my favorite parts of the Oscars were the classy Broadway-esque dancing moments) and most importantly, for someone to make a movie starring Charlize Theron as a kick ass superhero/spy. She’s got the charisma and action skills to sell it, and the comedic chops a really good modern day version of that story requires.
*Quick shout out to HitFix’s Drew McWeeny’s article on Mel Brooks and the Blazing Saddles anniversary, which had me thinking about a lot of this and ‘jukebox parodies’ before I even saw the new film. Mel Brooks has a pretty good opinion of himself (I completely love most of the top films on AFI’s funniest movies list, so I’ll have to disagree with his maaybe slightly biased opinion there) but I guess he’s just maybe earned it.