The Lone Ranger

Cash is the new coke! Not the ‘New Coke’, the new…nevermind.

Please be weird.
Reported on 10th of September, 2013

Please be weird.  So prayed I to the cinema gods. 

The Lone Ranger

10 September 2013 @ Odeon West End

$12.00 or, if one must be jejune, and one must... 
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆


Having just endured Kick Ass 2, I was due some old fashioned bafflefest, and The Lone Ranger augured well.  There were many signs, and I am trained to read them.  The fact that this was the least awaited reboot since Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters part 2, which admittedly hasn’t been made yet, and isn’t a reboot, but just something that annoys me, was only sign one.  Think, after all, of the additional effort that must go into a film that no one actually wants to see in the first place and the various ‘updatings’ that course through the producers’ imaginations.  I would here insert, ‘Okay, Tonto accidentally invents an early form of Facebook with the telegraph’, but it’s not better than imagining what they did say, which was, ‘We open, inexplicably, in the 1930s, another period no one is interested in.  Tonto, inexplicably, is an old man in a carnival sideshow.  A little boy, inexplicably…’

There's a logic to it.  It worked for Vietnam.  Just ask the NVA.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  Look, I’m trying remember predicting the future here. It’s going to get confusing.  The desperation of making a movie no one wants to see is evident in the second entrails, which came in the form of the ridiculous amount of money spent on the thing.  Money has a tendency to lead to nuttiness, but it must be spent in a very precise way, or extremely imprecisely under very precise circumstances.  When you blow $200M on a movie, you’re in trouble.  When you blow $200M and don’t have a movie, the swamp of anxiety sweat that makes you spend another $100M is going to wind up on the screen.  There’s a logic to it.  It worked for Vietnam.  Just ask the NVA.

The next ouija card came in the form of a trailer where the makers talked about how great a film it was.  Now, I don’t watch trailers anymore (rather I don’t hear them.  I wear headphones so as not to give away the good bits, and it works.  It made both Wolverine and Pacific Rim actually enjoyable, having no idea what was going to happen.  Imagine that, going to a movie to see a movie), but I did see Mr. Depp and Mr. Bruckheimer moving their lips, and suspected they might be saying something.  Possibly self-interested and definitely desperate.  The final crystal nail in the coffin (now that’s a mixed Spoonerism) was the fact that a film of this size had bombed so badly, that after two weeks that there were only two showtimes left in London.

I saw it.

The gods were with me.

And it was pretty weird, though like most films, there are a lot of boring parts in between the weirdness.  Fortunately, like vacations, you don’t remember the hotel losing the reservation, just how great it was having to walk past the river full of cannibalistic bunnies to get to the new hotel.

Sorry, you don’t get that.  You haven’t seen The Lone Ranger.  You will.  Well, you’ll feel like you had.  Which is much better than seeing it.  Here’s what I like about it, in reverse preferential order:

3) It cost a lot of money.

2) It makes no sense whatsoever.

1) They spent a lot of money on a movie that makes no sense whatsoever.

The funny thing is, there’s a fairly conventional, and even fun movie in there, and a halfway decent editor, and a producer not bent on maximizing value for money and keeping in every one of its 156 minutes, could have made a pretty okay 80 minute film.  The last sequence which involves jumping back and forth between two trains on parallel tracks is straight up solid, half twenty minutes into Terminator 3 and half The General.  It doesn’t hurt that the William Tell Overture could be played over a Wong Kar Wai film and get everyone all hot and bothered.

A £20 ticket and I forgot my Odeon card.  With the exchange rate, I did all right.  Just wish I could have had a shot at the ice cream bar instead of getting one of the pre-packed tubs.  They have Peanut Butter Cup now!  It has more fat than fat!

A £20 ticket and I forgot my Odeon card. With the exchange rate, I did all right. Just wish I could have had a shot at the ice cream bar instead of getting one of the pre-packed tubs. They have Peanut Butter Cup now! It has more fat than fat!

Here’s something that’s not so much a critique, as it is a lesson.  There’s this thing that I won’t shut up about keeping secrets, in this case we’re talking regarding hiding motives.  There’s no way you’re going to see it, so I’ll just explain that Tonto as a child saved two white men, whose tribe nursed them back to life.  In an elegant condensation back story identical to what actually happened when the pilgrims, you know, killed all the people that helped them survive, young Tonto trades the location of a silver mine for a watch, and the two men kill his tribe to keep it secret.  It’s a neat bit: there’s anger, there’s shame and there’s a dead bird.

The problem is why the Hell not foreground it?  It’s that funny question of psychologizing versus motivating.  If we know the story right off, his desire to kill Mr. William Finchner has a powerful resonance, which leads to, God forbid, empathy with the character.  If we know it later, it’s like the De-Sabatier problem – it explains Tonto.  This has a rather nasty implication, given that we feel we would have to explain the motivation of an American Indian, what will all the land-stealing and murder and so on.

Of course, this critique would only apply if you were trying to make a good movie that might make its money back, instead of trying to please me with a machine gun paced alternation between powerful boredom, and eyeball stretching insanity.  Back in the 1970s, we would simply reverse a dump-truck full of coke (beep – beep – beep) to make such stumpers as Heaven’s Gate and SgtPepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.  Supposedly we don’t that anymore, and if that’s true, we don’t need to.  We can build a giant period whorehouse used for one scene, fill it full of extras and then just tear it down, just to prove that we can.  Cash seems just as good at generating the invincible feeling required to trust in your ability to do anything, and as a filmgoer, thank you.  An an enabler for cash addiction, I do feel a bit bad.  Maybe they could get into a treatment center.

I mean, as long as it cost a lot of money.


‘We open, inexplicably, in the 1930s, another period no one is interested in. Tonto is an old man in a carnival sideshow. A little boy…’ I wasn’t kidding.
Horses eating scorpions.
Horses standing on trees.
Cannibalistic bunnies
Did I mention that Mr. Barry Pepper is an ivory leg fetishist? It’s rule 33, minus one since it’s before the internet was invented.
Seriously, the chase is pretty great. It came out a week ago, so by the time I’m posting this it’ll be off HBO and on TNT. Check it out.
Total Profits


This almost counts as positive, but do we really still have to have the progress of technology be the villain, in something projected in DLP with CGI trains rendered by massive server farms?
Also, even though it’s great, it is a terrible, terrible film.
Total Losses

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