When and how did I watch this?
October 1st and 2nd, 2016 on Amazon Instant Video.
Had I seen this film already?
What did I know about the movie before watching it?
Sequel to the spaghetti western A Fistful of Dollars (which I later discovered was a ripoff). Clint Eastwood is featured, of course, but there’s another actor in it whose name is borrowed for a guilty favorite of mine, Shanghai Noon.
What do I know about it now?
Indio. What a nasty villain. A discomforting trait of our protagonists’ evil target is his erratic behavior and drug use, besides his ruthless inconsideration for life. It makes me wonder why the bunch of misfit scalawags that accompany him would bother signing on for his dangerous adventures. Oh, but he’s clever. He manages to get his whole gang to turn on themselves (along with Manco and Mortimer) for an absolutely nuts rationale, uses a haunting pocket watch chime as a “countdown” to instill fear in his adversaries, and still manages to have incredible accuracy with a 19th century pistol. But it’s a western — absolutely no one is a good shot except for the main characters, and the evil guy is a GREAT shot; the others are awful. Fortunately for Manco/the no-name Eastwood, he teams up with the sharp-shooting Colonel, which proves to be invaluable to each other’s survival despite both of them having that somewhat obnoxious macho lone rider persona. All in all, it’s a Western: it’s gritty, it’s action-packed, and it’s personal.
What are some themes in the film?
Greed/money, family, loyalty, revenge
Did this affect me personally?
Yes. I don’t remember the precise melody of the pocket watch chime, but I’ll never forget its symbolism, and I’ll always see those sweaty faces with the dusty backdrop in my mind.
Why is this ranked #97?
Eastwood. Shooting. Western.
Did my wife watch/like it?
She thought it was okay. It’s definitely a dude movie.
Would I watch it again?
Yes. Despite its dark motif, the whole thing feels like those overcoming-odds sports flicks. I like those.
Would I recommend it to a friend?
Yep, if you like westerns. This is far better than High Noon (awful), and makes A Fistful of Dollars look like a high school film project. Otherwise, it might appear cheesy. It is. But you also like Pirates, don’t you?
Does it deserve to be on this list as one of the greatest films of all time?
Every genre needs a “Best Of”, and this is probably it. I haven’t arrived at The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly yet, but to make a case, I really don’t like westerns, and I really liked this movie. The plot is tight, the characters are fun and deliver the expected snarky lines, there’s shooting and death everywhere, and it’s Clint Eastwood. You can’t lose.