Like so many good Westerns, Howard Hawks's Rio Bravo feels like a novel I want to forever have a bookmark in: ready to pick up and enjoy, with a few passages left for next time.
Jordan Peele's Nope refashions the Western as a genre that tells a story of American erasure by its survivors. Peele pays tribute to the forgotten subject of Eadweard Muybridge’s iconic print by reimagining a bespoke legacy: the rider receives not only a name and a backstory—he also gets a future.
This month, author and Cinephile: A Card Game creator Cory Everett joins us to talk about Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West (1968). We get into the elasticity of the Western, what constitutes pure cinéma, Claudia Cardinale thirst, Big Screen Movies and the garages that screen them, Leone the minimalist and maximalist, and more.
Wim Wenders's The American Friend isn’t a Western in the strictest sense, but the obsession of its central antagonist with “the cowboy,” that myth of masculine exceptionalism, is both an attempt to claw his way out of loneliness, and a core reason for why he remains, in fact, so achingly alone.
A lot of Westerns are about the end of an era, but few capture our current sense of decline like Sam Peckinpah's Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid: a diffuse and indirect collapse where the line between ending and ended is blurred by the fact that no new era is on the horizon.