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  • The Big Country

    The Big Country


    Proper western epic about a country in transition, about the interconnectivity between masculinity, social hierarchy, and national identity, and about how political shifts extend from gender identity through to national identity. Moving towards new concepts of manhood, new concepts of civilization, and new concepts of nationality. What it means to be a man living in America.

    A genteel city-boy moves to a rugged frontier-town to marry his sweetheart, and immediately he doesn't fit in. He's mocked for the way he…

  • Paris, Texas

    Paris, Texas



    "What does a father look like?"

    Travis is first and foremost a father. The movie may not tell us this right away, but the conflict underlying the whole film—the reason he begins the story lost in the desert—is rooted in his struggles building a family. He and his girlfriend Jane had a baby, they couldn't take the stress of it, and he ran away and wandered the desert for four years. He wandered for so long that he lost…

Recent reviews

  • Raiders of Old California

    Raiders of Old California


    Really torn about this one: formally it's pretty rough around the edges and seems like it survives today more as a historical curiosity than a genuinely enjoyable or successful western. It stars the dad from Dallas before he hit it big, country music singer Faron Young, and a young Lee Van Cleef (who is 100% why I watched it, and he’s very enjoyably despicable), but structurally it's just not very strong (e.g. it has some pretty questionable cuts, to pick…

  • The Westerner

    The Westerner


    "I'm the government here!"

    One of the things I love most about westerns is that, by depicting the birth of a nation (as it were), they function as a kind of origin story for the United States, and as such they often offer a critical portrayal of the principles upon which the country was founded.

    For example, The Westerner is about a drifter (Cole Harden; Gary Cooper) being dragged in front of a corrupt judge (Roy Bean; Walter Brennan) and…

Popular reviews

  • Mulholland Drive

    Mulholland Drive


    "Hey pretty girl, time to wake up."

    There was a time not too long ago when if you asked me what my favorite movie was I might have told you Mulholland Drive. There's a lot going on in the film and I certainly won't claim to understand all of it (something I might have done when it was my "favorite movie"), but I do have a reading of it that seems to answer a lot of the questions it poses,…

  • 2001: A Space Odyssey

    2001: A Space Odyssey


    Ever since I joined Letterboxd, nothing has scared me more than the idea of trying to write about 2001: A Space Odyssey. The fact that everything has "already been said" about this masterpiece has itself already been said so many times that there's not even an original means of expressing my lack of originality left at my disposal. So with the knowledge that I will probably never be able to fully encapsulate what makes this my favorite movie of all…