Damn you, Seth MacFarlane

Let us sincerely hope the sun has not set just yet
Let us sincerely hope the sun has not set just yet

If ever there was a need for a man in a white hat to ride in and save the day, now would be a good time.

First THE LONE RANGER is the mega-bomb of 2013, followed by the much-heralded crash and burn this weekend of A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST.

Mea culpa – I’ve not seen MILLION, and based on what I’ve read, have no real desire to do so. It doesn’t bode well when a lot of the reviews generate more laughs than the trailer.

The western just can’t catch a break. Every once in a while you get something incredible like TRUE GRIT, 3:10 TO YUMA or DJANGO UNCHAINED. Jeez, even RANGO had a little redeeming value. Films like these come along and hope grows in our hearts, but then we get dreck like JONAH HEX or COWBOYS & ALIENS, and back to movie jail goes the western.

I had no real hopes for Mr. MacFarlane’s latest, but at least he was attempting to do some kind of western. Granted, it was trying to be this generation’s BLAZING SADDLES, but apparently failing miserably.

This goes beyond another nail in the coffin. At this point the coffin’s already in the ground with a few shovelfuls of dirt on it.

As a writer offering up a totally kickass western spec, my hopes for success seem to diminish just a little bit more with this kind of news.

I can imagine every potential recipient recoiling in fear. “A western? Eek!” followed by the frantic pressing of the ‘delete’ key.

Contacting a friend repped at a high-profile agency, I asked if anybody there might be open to reading it.

“I wrote a western, and they won’t sell it,” was the reply. “They don’t believe there’s a market for them after THE LONE RANGER.”

Well, sure. Because every western is going to be an overpriced, convoluted bloated crapfest.  It doesn’t help that a lot of them actually have been exactly that.

Why have so many recent westerns been bombs? Wish I knew.

Skimming the credits of some of the great westerns of the past shows that the people who made them had a real understanding and appreciation of the genre – John Ford, Howard Hawks, Clint Eastwood, just to name a few. And it shows in the finished product.

Hopefully somebody else will give it another go in the near future, sooner rather than later, and know how to do it right.

Did I mention I’ve got a totally kickass spec?

Been down this road before

Seeking out the right road to a workable outline

It’s been a busy past couple of days, including lots of work on that other thing I’ll reveal next week, as well as more work on the rewrite.

Good news on the latter – hit the end of Act Two today.  Looking at the previous draft, Act Three needs to be severely streamlined. Way too much going on.  I don’t think it’ll be too hard.

I’ve been making a point of trying to make sure everything ties together. Seems to be working so far.

*side note – didn’t get to the movies at all this week, due to all the above-mentioned work.  Still hoping to catch X-MEN, SUPER 8 and GREEN LANTERN in theatres before it’s too late.*

I don’t know how much I’ll get done over the next week, since we’ll be visiting K’s family back East (as well as reclaiming custody of the two-weeks-absent Ms V).  I always bring my notes and notebook in an attempt to work on the plane.  Sometimes it’s productive.  Hoping that’s the case this time.

As long as I have an outline I’m happy with by the time we return.

Movie of the Moment – TRUE GRIT. I knew there was another Best Picture nominee I wanted to see.  This was it.  And it should have won. Hands down.

I loved it, despite being a sucker for a quality Western.  Phenomenal writing by the Coen Brothers. Excellent acting by all three leads, especially Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfeld.  I saw the John Wayne version years ago.  This is just so much better.  Easily re-watchable.