Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Go Back In The Water… 12 Fun Facts From The Jaws Franchise

In the summer of 1975, the summer blockbuster was born with the arrival of Jaws. 2015 marked the film’s  40th anniversary and continues to be a favorite with fans and critics. If you read my post 5 OF MY FAVORITE SUMMER BLOCKBUSTERS you’ll see why.  Jaws is a film that I always watch throughout the year especially during the summer.  Here are 12 fun facts from the film and its sequel Jaws 2 (I don’t recognize the 3rd and 4th films).

Jaws (1975)

1. Peter Benchley’s Suggestions And Objections
From Wikipedia.org

Peter Benchley’s (the author of the novel that the film is based off) casting choices for the film were Robert Redford, Paul Newman and Steve McQueen. He was also thrown off the set after objecting to the climax of the film.

2. Failed Gun
From the Internet Movie Firearms Database

The gun that actor Roy Scheider uses during the scene where Chief Brody shoots at the shark jammed at least 4 times before the shot worked.

3. BBHMM
From Wikipedia.org

Actor Robert Shaw owed the IRS money and had to flee the country once his scenes were completed.

4. Tension Onscreen And Off
From Hard Ticket to Home Video

If the tension between Hooper and Quint felt as realistic as possible, it was due to the actors not getting along in real life, as they argued all the time.

5. Lots of Slaps
From GramUnion

The actress who played Mrs. Kitchener couldn’t fake a slap so there are 17 takes of her actually hitting Roy Schieder.

6. Spielberg’s Favorite Character
From Giphy.com

When director Steven Spielberg first read the novel, he found himself rooting for the shark because the human characters were so unlikable. After reading the book, I agree with him.

Jaws 2 (1978)

7. Expensive taste
The total cost for the making of the sequel was around $30 million, making it the most expensive film Universal Pictures had ever made at that time.
From Giphy.com
8. Novel cameo
From Wikipedia.org
In one of the boat scenes, a young man is reading Peter Benchley’s novel Jaws.
9. Quick shots
From IMDb
During production of the film, actor Murray Hamilton (Mayor Vaughn) shot his scenes very quickly due to his wife being in failing health.
10. Conflict
From Wikipedia.org

Initially, actor Roy Schieder didn’t want to appear in the film but due to conflicts with the studio about his multi-film contract, he agreed. As a result, the actor was resentful of his involvement and from the beginning of production he clashed frequently with director Jeannot Szwarc.

11. Deleted Scene

One deleted scene from the film revolves around the shark attacking the helicopter. In the scene, when the copter sinks, the shark then attacks the pilot underwater. The sounds of the pilot screaming and the copter being damaged, are the exact same sounds used in the original film when the shark attacks the shark cage and Hooper.

12. The Only One
From Wikipedia.org

Actress Lorraine Gary, who played Ellen Brody in the first film, is the only actor to appear in three of the four films in the Jaws franchise. She does not appear in Jaws 3-D (1983).

And those are the facts folks. Enjoy your weekend!

Source.

5 OF MY FAVORITE SUMMER BLOCKBUSTERS

Originally published a version of this on my Moviepilot page. The site has closed down so enjoy this updated version of my article.

Last week summer arrived in all of its blazing glory and with it the arrival of more summer blockbusters (these type of films begin earlier and earlier each year).  While there are many notable blockbusters that come to mind, here are five of my favorite.

5. The Avengers

This was one of the few movies that I’ve returned to the theater to watch-in fact I visited the movies five more times to see earth’s mightiest heroes kicking Chitari butt. I love the film’s humor, camaraderie of our heroes, the villain Loki, and the action. Scenes such as the Hulk smashing Loki to the ground and the pan around scene showcasing the team as they take on the alien invasion are the most memorable. While some might disagree, The Avengers is way better than its sequel.

4.  Jurassic Park

While I love the sequels-even Jurassic World-they can’t capture everything that made the first film memorable. Every time I view this film, the nostalgia of watching it for the first time always returns. When I see the dinosaurs for the first time alongside Dr. Grant, Dr. Sattler and company, my breath is taken away. Of course according to Dr. Ian Malcolm “…that’s how it always starts. Then later there’s running and um, screaming.”

We get plenty of that, from the T-Rex, and of course the velociraptors who are the stars of the film. From the opening sequence where a park worker is killed, to Dr. Grant scaring a kid, to the disturbing cow feeding, moviegoers were already terrified of them before they were shown.Finally, the animatronics were astounding I mean the T-Rex alone was epic. God bless you Stan Winston Studio.

For more reasons on why I love Jurassic Park and its sequels, check out my previous post 5 Favorite Characters From The Jurassic Park Films.

3.  Terminator 2: Judgement Day

Out of all of the films in this franchise, this one is my favorite and in my opinion it’s the best one. We’ve got well developed characters, two dangerous robots, amazing visual effects for its time, and action; all coming together to make a great story. What I liked about this film was that whether or not  you saw the trailers you didn’t know which of the terminators was the bad guy. I loved the father-son relationship that John had with the Terminator and the film’s ending got me right here-*points to my heart.*

2. Independence Day

“Welcome to earth.”

This is one of my favorite lines from the movie. In addition to great lines, the filml has Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, aliens, action, and destruction all on the Fourth of July? Yes please. It’s tradition in my household to watch this film every July 4th. I’ve watched this movie so much that my VHS copy died (that’s right I still have films on VHS, hey if it still works why upgrade?) and I was forced to buy the DVD.

1. Jaws

I wasn’t born yet when this movie came out back in 1975 but I remember watching reruns of it on the TV and getting nightmares. I would imagine that big ole’ Bruce circling my bed and whenever we would go to the pool in the evenings I had to take a second look back at the deep end despite fully knowing that it was impossible for the shark to be in the pool (The Sharknado franchise disproved that right?). Now as a grownup every time I watch the movie, I cheer for the shark.

The opening scene where the young lady is killed by the shark is terrifying! You don’t see the shark until much later in the film. You get a  sense of Chief Brody’s dread as he watches beach goers play in the water, jumping at every noise because he knows that the shark’s still out there. You listen intently as actor Robert Shaw who plays shark hunter Quint give his monologue where he shares his story of surviving the sinking of the war ship the USS Indianapolis during the War in the Pacific in 1945 only to survive another horror that lurks in the deep blue sea and watch in terror a few scenes later as Quint is killed. I could go on, but it’s for these reasons and more that Jaws is one of my favorite all time films.

Now that I’ve given you five of my favorite all time summer blockbuster films… what are five of yours? Leave your list in the comment section below or on my Facebook page.

5 Favorite Characters From The Jurassic Park Film Franchise

Today  the latest entry in the Jurassic Park film franchise, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom arrived in theaters. Whether or not you enjoy the sequels to the first film Jurrassic Park, they do draw a crowd who at first ooh and aah over the films and then later run and scream in either in delight or horror at what they’ve witness on the big screen.

While the sequels can’t capture what made the original a classic, it doesn’t mean I don’t have love (and professional criticism) for the later films.  So today’s post shows love to the sequels by showcasing my five favorite characters from the Jurassic Park film franchise.

Please keep in mind this list doesn’t include Fallen Kingdom since it just came out.

5. Dr. Ellie Sattler

Dr. Sattler’s a smart and outspoken person.  I’m glad that she has a more prominent role in the film than she does in the novel, for it makes her character even more interesting and developed. The following clip alone explains why Dr. Ellie Sattler’s featured on my list.

4. Dr. Ian Malcolm

In the first film, he’s the skeptic on the trip. Malcolm questions everything while also proposing alternative answers that the others are either ignoring, overlooking, or not thinking about.  In The Lost World  he’s the skeptic who despite repeated I told you so’s, reluctantly returns to rescue his partner and stop others from making a huge mistake.

3. Dr. Henry Wu

While in the first film his role was diminished from what it had been in the novel,  Dr. Henry Wu made his return in a big way in Jurassic World.  Dr. Wu is an unapologetic scientist who enjoys his work.  He tells it like it is to those who don’t want to hear the truth.  And those are the reasons why he’s one of my favorites.

2.  Kelly Curtis/Malcolm

Appearing in The Lost World, Kelly’s the daughter Dr. Ian Malcolm who stows away on one of the trailers heading Isla Sorna. She’s an extremely smart, nerdy, and athletic preteen. This was the first time I had ever heard anyone use the word  troglodyte.

Kelly’s the only character in the original film trilogy to kill a dinosaur on screen.The character’s portrayed by actress Vanessa Lee Chester. Did I mention that she’s  the first and only person to successfully kill a raptor without the use of any weapon? No? Oh well here let me show you:

I love this character. I was a teenager when this film came out and let me tell you it was great to see a cool kid character who happened to be an African-American onscreen.

1. The Dinosaurs

Let’s face it: Jurassic Park and its sequels wouldn’t be what they are without the dinosaurs. I mean they’re the main draw of the films and a huge part of why people go see these movies.  I mean who doesn’t remember the first time in Jurassic Park when the characters and the moviegoers witness the Brachiosaurus in all of its glory?

That moment on screen is definitely on the list of the best movie moments in history.  And what about before we get to that scene? Remember how the film starts with a handler being killed by a Velociraptor? We didn’t see the dinosaur but it did make its presence known with how cunning and dangerous a creature it is. And it starts the conversation about cloning dinosaurs.

And then there’s the T-Rex who’s defining scenes were both seared in our heads. The scene where she escapes from her enclosure and at the end of the film where she interrupts the raptors’ hunt and saves the humans were powerful movie moments.  I mean her giving a defiant roar as the banner that states “WHEN DINOSAURS RULED THE EARTH” comes down sent shivers through my spine.

And that’s just the first film.

The dinos continue to shine in the sequels.  In the Lost World, it’s the parents of the baby T-Rex who give the human’s camp a good dressing down after being reunited with their infant. And what about the “Don’t go into the long grass!” moment from the film in which our raptors make their appearance?

In Jurassic Park 3 there’s even more moments. The short fight between the T-Rex and the Spinosaurus.  The raptors attempting to outsmart the humans-“They set a trap.” And much more. Share your favorite dinosaur moments in the comments.  Shot out to Blue!

And thus ends my list. From the novels to the films and in between, the Jurassic Park franchise is a franchise to be reckoned with.  The first film has often been hailed as one of the greatest movies of the action and thriller genres. To this day the film’s innovation and influence made a huge impact on not only filmmakers but generations of moviegoers.  While not as powerful as their predecessor, the Jurassic Park sequels have also left their mark for better or worse.

What are your favorite characters from the film franchise? Leave your list in the comments below or on my Facebook page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 Under the Radar Chris Pine Films You Need to See

Chris Pine is best known for his role as James T. Kirk in the new Star Trek film franchise as well as portraying Wonder Woman’s damoiseau in distress, Steve Trevor.  Last month we found out that Pine will return as Trevor in the Wonder Woman sequel. As to how Trevor makes his return-since he was seemingly killed at the end of the first film-remains a mystery for now and I wrote a post discussing  3 Ways Steve Trevor Can Appear in the Wonder Woman Sequel.

In that post I promised those not familiar with Pine’s acting resume a post on eight of Pine’s films fans ought to watch that have flown under the radar. So here it is:

8. Small Town Saturday Night (2010)

If you’ve watched Into the Woods, any of his appearances on Jimmy Kimmel, or heard his duet with Barbara Streisand,  then you know that Pine can sing. In Small Town Saturday Night, the actor plays Rhett Ryan, a singer-songwriter living in a small town. He has dreams to make it big but his desire to follow them comes into conflict with his desire to be with the woman he loves. This film never came to theaters but it did arrive in DVD format in 2010. You can watch Pine sing “Someday Came Today” below.

7. People Like Us (2012)

Pine stars in this family drama as corporate trader Sam Harper. Harper’s in big trouble and, facing an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission, he learns that his father has passed away and that he has a half-sister and a nephew. Drama ensues as Harper attempts to connect with his sibling and truths are learned in the process.

6. Stretch (2014)

I found myself watching this film after reading a review in which I discovered that Pine was in it though his role went uncredited. Which was strange considering that his character is integral to the full story. Pine plays an eccentric playboy who has an adoration for extremist hedonism, Roger Karos. And when I say adoration I mean it, just watch the clip below. The film’s streaming on Netflix so check it out.

5. Smokin Aces (2006)

This film has turned into a cult classic and I’ll be honest, when I first saw it, I didn’t know who Chris Pine was nor did I realize until much later that he’s in the film. Pine stars as Darwin Tremor-the eldest of the redneck, speed-freak, neo-Nazi punk hitmen trio, the Tremor brothers.

4. Blind Dating (2006)

You may have seen Pine in a couple of romantic comedies over the years-The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, Just My Luck, or This Means War come to mind. But you probably haven’t  heard of Blind Dating.

In this romcom, Pine plays Danny Valdessecchi, an intelligent, handsome, charming boy who happens to have been born blind and is trying to find love. With the help of his brother Lorenzo a.k.a. Larry played by Eddie Kaye Thomas, Danny goes on a couple of disastrous dates and is about to give up altogether until sparks begin to fly between him and a nurse he meets at the clinic where he’s being tested for a risky experimental visual prosthesis that may restore his sight. The nurse Leeza (Anjali Jay) is an Indian-American, and is arranged to be married to another young man.

The film received mixed-to-negative reviews, and the publication City Weekly suggested that Pine receive a special award for “Best Performance in an Otherwise Inexplicable Film.” I’ll admit a lot of the jokes are corny but the film was still enjoyable so check it out.

3. Unstoppable (2010)

This action thriller film directed by the late Tony Scott is loosely based on the real-life CSX 8888 incident, and tells the story of a runaway freight train, and the two men-Denzel Washington and Chris Pine-who attempt to stop it. The interactions between Pine and Washington are integral to the film since their characters are on an out of control speeding train for the majority of the movie and both actors shine.

2. Carriers (2009)

In a world where many post-apocalyptic films feature zombies, this one doesn’t. Instead this film’s culprit is a realistic infectious virus that has spread worldwide, killing almost everyone. Chris Pine, who plays Brian, the older brother of Danny (Lou Taylor Pucci ), who along with Brian’s girlfriend Bobby (Piper Perabo ) and Danny’s friend Kate (Emily VanCamp) are making their way to a place from their childhood where they’ll hold up and wait for the virus to die down. As they travel they strictly follow a set of rules that they believe will keep them all alive and stop them from becoming infected, but just like in every post-apocalyptic horror film, things don’t go as planned.

Pine does a great job of playing a young man who comes off as cold-hearted SOB but he does what he does to protect his group (Watch the clip below to see what I mean.) The rest of the cast also give excellent performances. This film didn’t come out till 2009, hoping to ride on the coattails of Star Trek’s success, but many people missed it.

1. Hell Or High Water (2016)

Out of all the films I’ve listed, this under the radar film got the most buzz-in my opinion-concerning Pine’s skills as an actor.

Basically the film centers around two brothers: Toby Howard (Chris Pine) a divorced father, and his ex-con older brother Tanner Howard (Ben Foster).  A few weeks before the events in the film, the brothers’ mother passes away, leaving the family’s West Texas ranch to Toby and his sons. Unfortunately, the ranch is being foreclosed and in order to save it, the two brothers commit several bank robberies.

As their spree continues, the brothers’ attract the attention of two Texas Rangers Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges) who’s forced into retirement and his partner Alberto Parker (Gil Birmingham).  As the brothers near their goal, the stakes get higher.

Hell or High Water has five things that make it a great movie: the cast, humor, action, the story/setting/dialogue, and the soundtrack. Since I  wrote a whole post about the film I won’t go into any more detail about it. Instead you can read my review Hell or High Water, A Fantastic Modern Western here.

And on that note, I end my list. Chris Pine is a great actor and he’s one of the few actors (aside from Denzel Washington and Leonardo DiCaprio) that I try to watch all of the films (which I have yet to do so).  So my dear readers, have you watched any of these films? If so which ones did you enjoy and which ones did you dislike? What other films starring Chris Pine can you recommend? Leave your answers in the comments or on my Facebook page.

3 Ways Steve Trevor Can Appear in the Wonder Woman Sequel

I’m a big fan of Pine’s and he’s makes a great Steve Trevor. If you’re not familiar with his acting resume, please read my 8 Under the Radar Chris Pine Films You Need to See post, as an introductory course (coming soon). It was recently announced that Chris Pine has returned for Wonder Woman 2 as Steve Trevor.  Previously, Pine had signed on for a multi-picture deal, so that means the character is set to appear in more than one film.

First up, a quick refresher on who Steve Trevor is:

Steve Trevor is Wonder Woman’s primary love interest, and first appeared in All Star Comics #8 back in December 1941/January 1942. He was originally introduced by Wonder Woman’s creator William Moulton Marston as a U.S. military intelligence officer who became stranded on Wonder Woman’s homeland Paradise Island.

Though he was a military man, the storylines featuring Steve and Wonder Woman involved inversions of the damsel in distress trope where Steve was rescued by Wonder Woman. During the ’70s and up to the ’90s, his character was either sidelined or absent altogether from the storylines which favored more fantasy and action-adventure stories for Wonder Woman in lieu of any romantic interests.

Current portrayals, particularly in the New 52, involve him being a senior government agent and super spy who is the United States’ liaison to the Justice League due to his close connection to Wonder Woman. In 2013, Steve became a member of the new incarnation of the Justice League of America. Keeping the character’s comic book history in mind and thinking about his appearances in other media, let’s look at the facts:

Steve Trevor’s Alive?! 

At the end of Wonder Woman, Steve Trevor supposedly met his demise when the plane he was in exploded. However we now know that wasn’t the case… or do we?  All we know for right now is that Steve Trevor appears right along side Diana in the sequel. So  how does he make his return? That’s the big question. What follows are three options as to how he could appear.

 

Two Steves?
You read that right, there could be two Steves. Hear me out on this. While Trevor’s first appearance in the DCEU is set during WWI, he could still appear in modern times. In the Wonder Woman television series, there were two Steve Trevors: father and son. Both of these characters were played by the same actor, Lyle Waggoner. On the show, both Trevor worked and fought alongside Wonder Woman.Steve Trevor, Sr. appeared during the first season of the show which was set during the 1940s where he and Wonder Woman fought the Nazis. Seasons 2 and 3 were set during present day (the ’70s) and Trevor’s son, Steve Trevor, Jr., appeared. He and his new associate Diana Prince a.k.a. Wonder Woman worked together and had a secretary named Beverly Ryan who assisted them.In Wonder Woman Pine could be DCEU’s version of Steve Trevor, Sr. and in accordance with his multi-picture deal, he could appear in the sequel and other future films as Steve Trevor, Jr.Flashbacks?This option might be unlikely, but similar to Hayley Atwell’s Agent Peggy Carter, Pine could appear in multiple Wonder Woman films in flashback sequences. One of the most likely reasons Pine chose Trevor over Hal Jordan is it won’t be as time consuming and he’ll be able to have more freedom in the movies he chooses to do in the future.

And if Trevor should appear in modern times, Pine could play an older version of the character, similar to Peggy Carter’s appearance in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. In the Justice League three part episode The Savage Time, Trevor is a secret agent for the Allies during World War II. Having gone back in time with the league to prevent Vandal Savage from changing history in favor of the Axis powers, Wonder Woman rescues Trevor from a plane crash and the two form a flirtatious relationship that remains a friendship in the present day where Trevor is an elderly man.

Government liaison?

Now since the Wonder Woman sequel is set during the 80’s, Steve Trevor could appear as the U.S. government’s liaison to Diana during her stay in Washington D.C. During the 80’s tensions were high as the Cold War was still going on so this might be a good bet.

In the comics, after Flashpoint occurred, history was altered. When Wonder Woman makes her first appearance in man’s world, Trevor attempts to convince Amanda Waller that Diana and her people are not a threat to international security.

In addition to being the U.S. government liaison, Trevor later becomes head of the newly formed Advanced Research Group for Uniting Super-Humans a.k.a. A.R.G.U.S. as well as the U.N.’s liaison to the newly formed Justice League. The DCEU’s version of the character could take on a similar role whether or not the Flash movie goes the route of Flashpoint (which might not happen).

As we continue to countdown the days, weeks, months, and years to the Wonder Woman sequel, speculation as to how Steve Trevor will appear onscreen will continue. Speculation and pondering aside, I know the character is in good hands and I look forward to watching more of  Chris Pine’s take on the character.

Wonder Woman 2 will arrive in theaters November 1, 2019.

What are your thoughts on how Steve Trevor will appear in the Wonder Woman sequel? Leave a comment below.

 

Listen: I, Darcy Official Playlist

In honor of my first novel I, Darcy being released October 1st, here’s the official playlist of songs inspired by my book.

Part I

  1. Born As Ghosts- Rage Against the Machine
  2. Monster- Skillet
  3. Harder to Breathe- Maroon 5
  4. Calm Down- Lolawolf
  5. High School- Superchick
  6. One and Lonely- Superchick
  7. Dear Mama- Tupac
  8. Know Your Enemy- Green Day
  9. Adam-12- Adam 12 Theme Song
  10. Dance Apocalyptic- Janelle Monae
  11. Breakfast- Kelis
  12. Living Dead- Straight Line Stitch
  13. Zombie- The Cranberries
  14. Breathe- Superchick
  15. Take a Picture- Filter
  16. Stars- Switchfoot
  17. Us- Sixpence None the Richer
  18. Heathens- Twenty One Pilots
  19. Nobody’s Daughter- Hole

giphy

Part II

  1. The Kill- Thirty Seconds to Mars
  2. Sir Duke- Stevie Wonder
  3. Attitude- Bad Brains
  4. Keep Ya Had Up- Tupac
  5. Control- Janet Jackson
  6. Awakening- Switchfoot
  7. Kids in America- Len
  8. Respect- Aretha Franklin
  9. My Body’s a Zombie For You- Dead Man’s Bones
  10. Beautiful- Christina Aguilera
  11. Conversion- Straight Line Stitch
  12. UMI Says- Mos Def
  13. Alive- Sia
  14. What about your friends- TLC
  15. Get up stand up- Bob Marley
  16. Dangerous- Built By Titan feat. Jesse Mcartney
  17. Moving On- Sixpence None the Richer
  18. Rise- Solange

 

Review: Hell or High Water, A Fantastic Modern Western

Last night I attended a screening for Hell or High Water and I had a great time watching this film. The film first premiered back in May at the Cannes Film Festival and had a limited release on August 12th and will get a wide release this Friday, August 19th. Hell or High Water stars Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Jeff Bridges, and Gil Birmingham and was directed by David Mackenize.

Synopsis:

The film centers around two brothers: Toby Howard (Chris Pine) a divorced father, and his ex-con older brother Tanner Howard (Ben Foster).  A few weeks before the events in the film, the brother’s mother has passed away and left the family’s West Texas ranch to Toby and his sons. Unfortunately, the ranch is being foreclosed and in order to save it, the two brothers commit several bank robberies. As their spree continues, two Texas Rangers Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges) who’s forced into retirement and his partner Alberto Parker (Gil Birmingham) are hot on the brothers’ tale. With the brothers close to reaching their goal, one robbery goes awry resulting in violence, a car chase, and a final showdown.

Five Things From the Film That I loved:

  • The cast:

hell1

This cast did an excellent job. Jeff Bridges and Chris Pine are two of my favorite actors so I definitely wanted to see this film. I love that Chris wanted to take on this role in addition to other meaty roles and isn’t interested in being typecast. Ben Foster and Gil Birmingham also brought their A games in this film. Both Foster and Pine were previously in the film The Finest Hours, and they worked really well together in that film as well as in this one. The brotherly love between the two characters that they played was real and genuine. The same can be said of Birmingham and Bridges characters. Whether they were bickering back and forth, being snarky towards each other, or being serious and talking about the dangers of their job, their partnership was real. There was real affection for each other and that was important to note especially when a critical scene occurs towards the end of the film.

hell2

  • Humor

From beginning to end, humor is placed at the right moments throughout the film. Some might not like the off color racial jokes from Jeff Bridges character Marcus Hamilton, but otherwise the humor was very good and well done.

  • Action

The action in this film is phenomenal, granted this film isn’t an Michael Bay explosion fest type of action film, although there is one explosion in the movie. When I say action, I mean from start to finish, the story moves right along-the pacing is great, the choice of camera angles-especially the opening scene-were well chosen. There is no lull in or between scenes, even in scenes where the characters are just sitting having a beer and talking. In addition, as I watched the film I didn’t know what was going to happen next. I was surprised many times as the story moved from beat to beat and didn’t see certain moments coming. Nothing was too obvious and what I thought was going to happen, often didn’t which was great.

  • The story/setting/dialogue

Hell or High Water is a  bank robbery movie, a buddy movie, and a road movie all rolled up into one, but underneath its surface, the film’s also an examination of the passing of the Old West. The Western is one of my favorite film genres, and in my opinion this film is a modern western.

The story is set in modern day West Texas in various small towns where the recent economic crisis has hit residents hard. Aside from the obvious themes of cowboy hats, horses, and wide open plains, awareness of the treatment of First Nation peoples and women are touched upon in subtle ways in a few parts of the film.

It’s also an exploration of the American Frontier, as in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Hell or High Water writer Taylor Sheridan (who grew up in Texas) stated the following: “My intention with these three was to kind of explore the modern American frontier and how much has it changed in 130 years, how much hasn’t it changed and how much are we seeing consequences of that still.”

The dialogue is another example of this as in the same interview Chris Pine described the dialogue as cowboy poetry of the script. “This film is about men relating to men and seeking intimacy, failing at intimacy, trying to articulate their love and affection for one another but desperately unable to do so,” Pine said. “Oftentimes they find themselves filling space and time with silence and ways around saying what they want to say.”

  • The Soundtrack

An important component to any film, is the soundtrack and the music used in Hell or High Water was used to brilliant effect.  The music was scored by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis who have previously scored together films such as The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and The Proposition.

The soundtrack features several original tracks by the duo in addition to music by Waylon Jennings, Townes Van Zandt, Chris Stapleton, and others. In an statement made to NME back in July, director David Mackenzie had this to say about Cave and Ellis’ music for the film: “What I love about Nick and Warren’s film music is that it’s epic and expansive without being grandiose. For me as a filmmaker this hits a sweet spot where the score is able to have scale and emotion but not feel manipulative or overwhelming.”

The music featured in the film meshes well with how the story is being told, and not one track felt out out of place and the soundtrack is enjoyable to listen to.

Conclusion:

Overall though I enjoy my comic book films, Hell or High Water is a much needed breath of fresh air in this summer of films. The director, cast and crew did an awesome job of telling this story of two brothers. I definitely enjoyed watching this film and would rewatch it again. I’m giving Hell or High Water an A+.