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All Aboard The Neo-Western Train

NEOOOO

This is by no means huge news or anything, but after getting out of “Solo: A Star Wars Story” I was immediately reminded of how amazing this genre has been for movies. There aren’t a ton of these out there, but they adhere pretty strong to quality over quantity. So lets take a look at some of these movies (in no particular order) which have dominated cinema.

Edit: Films in this category reflect the traditions of the western film genre but are set in the contemporary, even urban, American West or frontiers beyond.

1. No Country For Old Men

 

One of my all time favorite movies, and winner of 4 academy awards, this is the neo-Western in my eyes. It was shot incredibly well, and it was suspenseful and expertly acted. It keeps you on the edge of your seat basically the entire time, especially in scenes like the one above. An absolute must watch by any metric and the Coen bros best movie in my opinion.

2. Hell or High Water

 

Unanimously regarded as one better heist movies of the last few decades, this was made great by some incredible character development. When you look at the core plot points of the movie (Poor, divorced dad getting payback on a bank that fucked them over with a reverse mortgage and forclosure) it would probably be easier to make this a big explosions and gunfight type movie, or even humorous-with-a-message like “Logan Lucky”.  So to be able to cast a story arc like this with as much suspense as they did throughout was really masterful. But that’s the Taylor Sheridan effect, baby!

Sheridan

My favorite screenwriter who, coincidentally, is making another appearance on this list.  (Also, his new show looks good as all hell)

3. Logan

 

The best X-Men movie by a million miles, “Logan” turned Wolverine from sort of a running joke into a legitimate movie.  It was brutal, raw, and actually thoughtful compared to basically every other movie in the franchise which was made possible partially by virtue of the genre. Instead of watching a bunch of PG violence and shitty one liners like every other iteration of Wolverine, we got to see development, emotion, desperation, and best of all we saw him and X-23 absolutely obliterate people like in the scene above.

5. The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada

 

Definitely a smaller title, but still a great movie. So small, in fact, that it was pretty damn hard finding clips of my favorite scenes on YouTube which landed you with a low res trailer instead. One of Tommy Lee’s last great roles, it was a pretty well done story that still has plenty of implications today.  Barry Pepper was also pretty damn good, and so was Julio Cedillo (best known by me as the cartel boss from “Sicario”). For sure worth a watch, especially since the whole movie is on YouTube.

6. Brokeback Mountain

 

“I WISH I KNEW HOW TO QUIT YOU” is for sure an iconic movie line and, while romance isn’t really in line with the rest of these movies, Brokeback is easily one of the best in the genre in terms of raw emotion. Heath Ledger and Jake G did an awesome job at capturing a classic forbidden love theme with a modern, and at the time controversial, twist. Also there were some phenomenal shots of Wyoming in this. First thing I wanted to do after watching was go camping. I think I tried to set something up with my friends to go after I re-watched a few years ago, and we gave up and went to Ocean City, MD instead. Sorry nature, but you got nothing on Seacrets and their 50 minute line at the door.

7. Wind River

 

Lets take a minute to talk about one of the most disrespected movies of last year. Another Taylor Sheridan banger, this was one of, if not the most, gripping and suspenseful movies in 2017. “Why are you flanking me?” Fucking CHILLS every time. The shots of the tundra, the soundtrack, and the performances really made you capture that feeling of despair. and helped you emphasize with the characters struggles. And with their meh performances “Avengers: Age of Ultron” pretty fresh in the mind, this turned my opinion of Renner and Olson right on its head. It should have at the very least been nominated for an Oscar, but it suffered in that process hard from being a Weinstein production. If you haven’t seen this yet, its is on Netflix and is %1000000000 must watch.

There are a lot more, but these are the standouts to me. Think I missed a deserving one? Are you the #1 “Machete” fan and want to beat me up for this list? Change my mind, Max Kellerman!

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