“The Good, The Bad, The Weird” – Nathan’s Movie Challenge, Week 2
Rounding out Week 2 of the challenge, we have a movie that is not a direct remake of, but heavily inspired by, the iconic The Good, The Bad & The Ugly – by way of 1930s China. It’s South Korean director Kim Jee-woon’s love letter to spaghetti westerns: The Good, The Bad, The Weird.
My only other exposure to Kim Jee-woon’s work is the psychological horror-drama A Tale Of Two Sisters – which I enjoyed, but which left me wanting by its ending. The Good, The Bad, The Weird seems about as far removed from the tone, style, and plotting of Sisters as possible. It’s a testament to the range of the director that these two films can be so completely different.
I absolutely had fun watching this movie, and it hit all the right visual nods to Sergio Leone’s film without being trite or derivative. There’s a lot of wonderful visual composition – especially in the use of colored lighting. The three leads (the titular Good, Bad, and Weird) all play their roles with aplomb – suitably inhabiting the roles made famous by Eastwood and company but still making them their own.
There’s a lot of great gunplay action, exciting horse riding sequences, and an excellent train robbery opening that kicks things off with several bangs. The movie’s just a tad long – but then again, so is The Good, The Bad & The Ugly. I only felt the length as I approached the expected “Mexican standoff” closing the film.
This was definitely the best film of the week, and I’m surprised at how well this movie pulls off its homage while retaining its own character.
The Good, The Bad, The Weird was at the time of this review at #926 on my Flickchart list of shame (ranked #1439 among the best movies of all time). Here’s how it entered my chart:
I’m a Cars apologist by proxy. My kids have watched it a billion times (probably more like 28 times), so I’ve got a segment of my memory banks permanently infused with all the story beats of Lightning McQueen and his friends. It’s not the black sheep that Pixar fans should point at (that would be Up), but it’s also not nearly as cool and fun as The Good, The Bad, The Weird.
Ryan Reynolds in a box is all well and fine, but it’s not going to win this battle.
Donnie Darko suitably blew my mind and I’ve been recovering ever since. It’s just a smidge magnificent, and it’s going to take this match over The Good, The Bad, The Weird.
Yeah, Oz. I mean, look at that beautiful picture. It’s iconic for good reason.
The best thing Soderbergh has ever done is totally taking the win on this one. It’s too bad Jennifer Lopez hasn’t been able to find a script as good as this one since.
There’s a lot of cheese in Swordfish, and that’s why it won’t win here, but it’s still pretty ridiculous fun. One of the closer choices to be made here.
This is probably the first matchup that I’ve really had to pause on. The Good, The Bad, The Weird is gorgeously shot, but so is Moulin Rouge. Both have style to burn, a lot to pay homage to, but a few rough musical numbers and a slight disbelief in Ewan McGregor’s singing ability pegs it down a notch under The Good, The Bad, The Weird.
I have nothing bad to say about Big Hero 6. It’s a perfectly serviceable, very safe, visually interesting Disney movie. It’s got well-designed art, unique characters, and a fun premise. All that said – I still enjoyed my time watching The Good, The Bad, The Weird more, and it will take this match.
Jackie Brown. It took me a long time to finally get around to seeing this one from Tarantino, but man if it isn’t the buried diamond in the rough among his films. It’s my 3rd favorite Tarantino film – below Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Inglourious Basterds and above Reservoir Dogs and Death Proof. Yes, you read that right. Pulp Fiction is not among my top 5 favorite Tarantino movies. Jackie Brown wins over The Good, The Bad, The Weird.
The Good, The Bad, The Weird ends up at #300 out of 1351 movies on my Best Movies of All-Time chart.
Week 3’s up next featuring three “s” films: Starman, Stalker, and Silent Running. Be sure to take a look at the other films I’ve ranked in this challenge so far this year.