I’m Your Huckleberry

Finally watched Tombstone the other night. Some of it is really great. Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday was every bit as good as I’d heard it was. Some of the dialogue is outstanding: the huckleberry lines, “You’re no daisy”, “Why don’t you skin that smoke wagon?” Screenwriter Kevin Jarre also wrote Glory and The Mummy. The cast, for the most part, is excellent: Val Kilmer, Michael Biehn, Powers Boothe, Sam Elliot, Bill Paxton Jason Priestly, Billy Zane and Billy Bob Thornton. along with terry O’Quinn from Lost and the woman who plays Trixie on Deadwood. Kurt Russell and Dana Delany, however, are mediocre and the direction, by the guy who directed Rambo and Cobra, is pretty bad.
I was surprised by how much it seems to have in common with the great HBO series Deadwood. Both start with retired lawmen moving to a frontier town and initially refuses to get involved in it’s law enforcement, instead looking to start a regular business. Both feature women who are addicted to laudanum. Both take an obvious pleasure in recreating period slang, though Deadwood is more prolifically profane.
I liked Tombstone a lot up to the OK Corral fight. After that, not only did the film become morally twisted as supposed hero Wyatt Earp goes on a murderous rampage in the wake of attacks on his brothers, but the film gave up any pretense of character for a series of rather silly action sequences. Basically, it become Rambo. Only Val Kilmer manages to save it from being a complete mess. Overall though, I liked the movie quite a bit. 1993 was a great year for movies, and I think I’ll rank Tombstone at number 12, in-between Army Of Darkness and A Perfect World.

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