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Westerns Making a Comeback!

Westerns Making a Comeback!

By Vadim Newquist

Ah yes, the sound of a pack of wild stallions blazing across the desert, the sight of two gunslingers facing off in a duel at high noon, the spectacle of the town drunk crashing through a saloon keeper's window; these are just some of the simple pleasures that make us love Westerns so much. And fortunately for all us old west buffs, Hollywood is set to revisit the Western in a big way!

Of course, it makes sense. Hollywood was practically built on the Western, and everyone from George Lucas to Quentin Tarantino sings their praises. But it's been a looooong time since the glory days of Clint Eastwood and John Wayne, and now it looks like the public is finally ready for some current celebrity heavyweights to fill their dusty cowboy boots. And who, might you ask, is up to the task? Well how about Johnny Depp and Tom Cruise?! That's right, both stars have awesome Westerns scheduled that are undoubtedly going to be two of the biggest blockbusters of 2013!

Yes, Depp is currently filming "The Lone Ranger" with "Pirates of the Caribbean" director Gore Verbinski, playing the Lone Rangers trusty Native American side-kick, Tonto. Of course, Depp is drenching the character with his unmistakable brand of weirdness, as the pictures from the movie that have surfaced attest (yes that is a dead bird on his head). But Depp isn't the only one who's retooling American Western classics. Tom Cruise just announced plans to remake "The Magnificent Seven," one of the most beloved Westerns of all time!

But we can't post an article on the resurgence of the Western without mention of the the ultimate wild west event of 2012, which is of course, Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained". If you haven't seen the recent trailer that's been released for it, please do yourself a favor and check it out now. Tarantino is definitely bringing his A-game here and infusing the genre with his unmistakable swagger. From the James Brown soundtrack to his knockout cast (Leonardo DiCaprio and Jamie Foxx), it's obvious that this isn't your run of the mill cowboys and Indians fare.

But what's really cool about "Django Unchained" is that it's clearly influenced by a lesser known (but exceptionally awesome) branch of the Western genre, the Spaghetti Western.

What the heck is a Spaghetti Western, you ask? Well, if you guessed it's a movie where gunslingers have a shoot-out over a bowl of pasta, you'd be wrong. It's actually the name given to the style of countless Westerns created in Italy in the 1960s and 70s. These films are every bit as great as their American counterparts, but a LOT weirder, with unconventional camerawork and wild soundtracks. The results are some of the most unique Westerns out there, and from classics like Sergion Leone’s "A Fistful of Dollars" and "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly," America was introduced to one its all time greatest Western stars, Clint Eastwood.

With this new crop of Westerns Hollywood has in store, it seems inevitable, the Western is set for an amazing comeback!

Think you'd like to check out some great Westerns but don't know where to start? Here's a quick list courtesy of MindHut!

1. "TombStone" (1993)
This historical old west tale tells the story of legendary lawmen Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday as they clash with a band of violent outlaws. With a cast that includes everyone from Val Kilmer to Kurt Russell, this is a modern action Western that truly delivers the goods.

2. "Blazing Saddles" (1974)
In the mood for a Western with a comic flare? If so you can't beat Blazing Saddles. Long hailed as one the funniest films of all time, "Saddles" defies nearly every cliche of the genre. You will never look at a can of baked beans the same again.

3. 'Rango" (2011)
Yes, another unconventional but totally lovable Western. Johnny Depp (I'm thinking he really likes these) plays a chameleon that gets roped into becoming Sheriff for the town of Dirt. The laughs are big and the animation is out of this world.

What's your favorite western?

Tags: movies, django unchained, westerns, rango

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About the Author
Vadim Newquist

Vadim Newquist is a writer, director, actor, animator, fire fighter, stunt driver, martial arts instructor, snake wrangler and time traveling bounty hunter who scales tall buildings with his bare hands and wrestles sharks in his spare time. He can do ten consecutive backflips in one jump, make cars explode with his mind, and can give fifty people a high-five at once without even lifting his hands. He holds multiple PhDs in nuclear physics, osteopathic medicine, behavioral psychology, breakdancing, and chilling out. He currently resides in Gotham City inside his stately mansion with his butler Alfred and his two cats.

Wanna contact a writer or editor? Email contribute@sparknotes.com.

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