Hello to all those faithfully reading and hopefully enjoying this effort to make even the worst horror movie more watcha... aw, screw that - I'm not that good. If a movie makes you cringe because yet another batch of unlikable teens that are pushing 30 are inching toward their deaths, having a party no one does anywhere ever, a paranormal movie is boring you to tears with unending pans of empty rooms, or thanks to CGI technology when people finally bite it, their blood squirts everywhere except on the victim, the ground, the people next to them... you're in good company and this is the right place for you.

Sunday, January 26, 2014


The Lone Ranger (2013)

I'd heard opinions running the gamut on this one so I thought this review would be hard. I've had this on my list for a while but haven't put it together. I think I'm over-thinking a rather simple minded (although incredibly expensive) movie and so let's just whip this puppy into shape. The legend of the Lone Ranger is thought to be as old as 1915.

In the 30's, kids huddled around their radios, eager to find out what happened to their hero The Lone Ranger and his faithful sidekick Tonto. The two heroes stood for justice, truth and the American way. They blazed through the Western parts of the United States righting wrongs, saving damsels in distress and being the best of the best.

In 1949 The Lone Ranger moved to television. Clayton Moore was the Lone Ranger. Tonto was played by Jay Silverheels, who was a Mohawk from the Six Nations Indian Reserve in Ontario, Canada. Trying to be a role model for the kids even in their personal lives, they tried to live by the high standards of the heroes in the shows:
  • That to have a friend, a man must be one. 
  • That all men are created equal and that everyone has within himself the power to make this a better world. 
  • That God put the firewood there, but that every man must gather and light it himself. 
  • In being prepared physically, mentally, and morally to fight when necessary for what is right. 
  • That a man should make the most of what equipment he has. 
  • That 'this government of the people, by the people, and for the people' shall live always. 
  • That men should live by the rule of what is best for the greatest number. 
  • That sooner or later...somewhere...somehow...we must settle with the world and make payment for what we have taken. 
  • That all things change but truth, and that truth alone, lives on forever. 
  • In my Creator, my country, my fellow man.
Even when appearing live at events they stayed to the creed of honor:
  • The Lone Ranger is never seen without his mask. 
  • With emphasis on logic, The Lone Ranger is never captured or held for any length of time by lawmen, avoiding his being unmasked. 
  • The Lone Ranger always uses perfect grammar and precise speech completely devoid of slang and colloquial phrases, at all times. 
  • When he has to use guns, The Lone Ranger never shoots to kill, but rather only to disarm his opponent as painlessly as possible. 
  • Logically, too, The Lone Ranger never wins against hopeless odds; i.e., he is never seen escaping from a barrage of bullets merely by riding into the horizon. 
  • Even though The Lone Ranger offers his aid to individuals or small groups, their benefit is only a by-product of a greater achievement - the development of the west or our country. His adversaries are usually groups whose power is such that large areas are at stake. 
  • Adversaries are never other than American to avoid criticism from minority groups. There were exceptions to this rule. He sometimes battled foreign agents, though their nation of origin was generally not named. One exception was helping the Mexican Juarez against French troops of Emperor Maximilian. 
  • Names of unsympathetic characters are carefully chosen, never consisting of two names if it can be avoided, to avoid even further vicarious association -more often than not, a single nickname is selected. 
  • The Lone Ranger never drinks or smokes and saloon scenes are usually interpreted as cafes, with waiters and food instead of bartenders and liquor. 
  • Criminals are never shown in enviable positions of wealth or power, and they never appear as successful or glamorous.
Reid decides to use only silver bullets, to remind himself that life, too, is precious and, like his silver bullets, not to be wasted or thrown away.

The Lone Ranger was nicknamed 'Kemosabe' which was understood to mean 'trusty scout' or 'trusted friend'. Tonto, who was a member of the Potawatomi tribe although some books say Apache, was nicknamed 'Tonto' which supposedly meant 'wild one'. Because Tonto means "foolish" or "silly" in Spanish, the character is renamed "Toro" (Spanish for "bull") or "Ponto" in Spanish-speaking countries.

And now, we begin the movie and I apologize in advance. The making of this movie was started and stopped several times, mostly because it was costing too damn much. They should have looked at the dailies and just dumped the whole thing. It. Was. Bad. Not because of the special effects, or necessarily the story line, but because they took a noble American legend and spit all over it. And I don't mean spit but I'm being nice.

In the 30's in San Francisco a young boy is wandering around a museum alone, wearing the costume of the Lone Ranger. He comes upon a display of what is supposed to represent the Indian of the Old West. It is a very old Tonto. He starts to move and speak. He tells the boy who he is (in the movie they make him a Comanche) and begins his version of the story of The Lone Ranger. On his head is a dead crow who he absentmindedly feeds as he talks.

Let's cut this down, okay? Butch Cavendish (William Fitchner, who is arguably the best actor in this thing) is the bad guy. He's being shipped off to where he committed his crimes for a trial (read hanging). Watching him is a new lawyer named John Reid (Armand Douglas "Armie" Hammer, whose mommy apparently didn't love him very much to name him after baking soda - and is supposedly descended from a Cherokee chief, so we're probably related... not.). Attached by chains to Butch is an Indian who spent waaaay too much time as a pirate (wink, wink).

We get the one and only line I liked in this whole movie. Reid asks Tonto what his crime was. He simply says, 'Indian'. Yes folks, that was it.

Of course Butch gets free because of double and triple crosses and Reid gets killed. The end. Pffft, you wish! A white horse shows up and inexplicably because of him Reid 'wakes up' and becomes a 'spirit walker'. I'm not making this crap up, this is what they did to the story.

The whole plot revolves around the development of the railroad across the United States - whoever controls the railroad controls the country - or something dumb like that. Oh, and in this movie, the railroad wasn't built by the Chinese and African Americans - nope, white boys built the railroad (snicker).

Watching The Lone Ranger and Tonto was painful. It was like the main instructions for their acting was "Okay Armie (TLR) whatever you do, make sure it constantly looks like you're confused and a bit stupid." "And you Johnny (Tonto) - did you put on more makeup? Never mind, your main goal is to not show any kind of emotion at all - and if you do any acting or showing of emotion, do it by moving your eyes - roll 'em or something. A small shake of your head once in a while is okay too. And remember - you speak perfect English."

In the movie, 'Kemosabe' now means 'wrong brother' and 'Tonto' means 'One who wears lots of makeup, hair extensions, and a dead bird for comedic effect'. None of which was funny. TLR wears his mask 'cause he's supposed to be dead so we all know from watching Superman that put something on your face and you're totally unrecognizable, right?

We get fights on trains, fights on horses, fights... everywhere. That is the main action until towards the end. Then they really shoot their budget with train chases (Two tracks in the Old West side by side huh? Not likely.). The horse often steals the scene by being able to sit in trees (you heard me), run across whole buildings (an animal parkour expert), and do wonderful things like lick scorpions off the face of TLR when he's left buried up to his neck by the bad guys.

So the main point is the railroad guys want it to look like the Indians (things weren't PC back then, lay off) have been attacking settlements so they can go on their reservations and wipe 'em out. What. A. Surprise. And the movie goes on. And on.

It's not until nearly the end of the movie that we get to hear the William Tell Overture, hear someone say 'Who was that masked man anyway?' But when TLR tries to say his catchphrase 'Hi-Yo Silver! Away!' Tonto tells him never to do that again. Sigh.

The movie ends as the boy, apparently having no parents since the museum is closing and nobody is making him leave, asks 'Tonto' if that's all true. Tonto gives the boy a silver bullet and walks away into the sunset... pffft. No such luck. Instead we get a 'duh' ending of him supposedly walking off into a painting. Hopefully they burned it afterward so there'll be no sequels.