#3 Young Guns
Ahh, the late ’80’s. Westerns were trying to make a comeback, Emilio Esteves looked more like Martin Sheen than Charlie did, Keifer Sutherland reminded everyone of Donald, and Lou Diamond Phillips was gonna be the next big star! Good times! Oh yeah, there were two other guys in this movie, too.
In a move that seems surprising some twenty-one years later, this western didn’t totally try to reinvent the western. It was a pretty straightforward telling of how a band of misfit cowboys found themselves thrust together and on the run from the law. Emilio Esteves played “Billy the Kid” with a reckless abandon, and we never really learn in this film just why he’s a heartless killer–just that he is. I find that refreshing. Sometimes, just sometimes, we don’t need to know every character’s back story–Do you hear me, Hollywood?!?
I will say that the synthesizer laden soundtrack came as something of a surprise to me when I watched this movie for the first time in over 15 years. Last time I saw it, synthesizers were so prevalent that they seemed organic to storytelling of all types. In retrospect, it seems a little silly and out of place, but in a “passing notice” sort of way.
Don’t look to this movie for historical accuracy, because I’m sure it didn’t go down this way. Though, I do suspect that Jack Palance was alive when Billy the Kid was making a name for himself. He looked to be at least 95 when this movie was made.