As a kid, I grew up watching Westerns with my parents. I still love a good Western. Give me John Wayne, Glenn Ford, Clint Eastwood, Jimmy Stewart or any one of the ones directed by John Ford. It seems a shame to me that Westerns have been turned into made for tv fodder. AMC and TNT have both turned out some good Westerns so not all made for tv Westerns are garbage, but like most made for tv films these are the exception and not the rule. Most of them have a tv star in a low budget film with a generic plot about revenge or the man standing against the corrupt local law.
Where Westerns have appeared in the theatrical market is the Weird Western (for more specifics on Weird Western see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weird_western ), with the popularity of Joss Whedon’s Scifi Western show and movie Firefly & Serenity respectively. Jon Favreau has a film coming out later this year (around Christmas I believe) called Cowboys vs. Aliens, another Scifi Western mixup. Jonah Hex (based off of he DC Comic of the same name) was another big screen Weird Western from this summer.
It’s nice to see these films, I’m excited about Cowboys vs. Aliens (mainly because I’m a Favreau fan) and I love the Firefly/Serenity universe (also a Joss Whedon fan), but I miss the good old fashioned Western. You had Tombstone and Wyatt Earp in the 90’s (Tombstone is my preference). The remake of 3:10 to Yuma the Alamo, and Open Range were released in the 2000’s. But come a handful of Westerns per decade and then we have 2 Weird Westerns in one year. I realize a lot of people from my generation don’t respond to Westerns the way they used to, but that doesn’t deny the viability of the genre, nor does it mean that there isn’t an audience for the film.
Hollywood has gotten so money hungry that they only want to make films marketable to children and young adults (and yes I do understand that this is a business they are running). However I feel that by not giving Westerns a viable market share Hollywood is trying to stamp the Western out of existence. So they not only alienate older movie goers but rid the American Cinema of one of its oldest and greatest cinema traditions: the Cowboy. This then is my rant for the day, and now I’ll ride out of town alone as the sun sets on the horizon.