Thursday, May 13, 2004

"The Most Good Good Guy Will Win"

DVD release of the week is Rustler's Rhapsody, a 1985 movie written and directed by Hugh Wilson. Wilson is probably best-known for directing the first (and only good) Police Academy movie, but he's best-loved for creating WKRP In Cincinnati, which I consider the best sitcom ever, and Frank's Place, one of the definitive "brilliant but cancelled" shows of the '80s.

Rustler's Rhapsody is Wilson's best movie, a charming spoof of the interchangeable "B" Westerns where the hero wears a white hat and where "the bad guy was always a Colonel who had a beautiful daughter and about a thousand head of cattle which you would hear about but never see." The premise is that the hero, Rex, actually knows these conventions and has learned to expect them whenever he rides into a new town. And in this story, he rides into a town where all the old conventions apply, but where everyone seems to have a kind of postmodern 1985 sensibility -- they have some idea that these conventions are a little silly:

Colonel Ticonderoga (Andy Griffith): Let me just ask you one question. There's just one thing I'm curious about. Why did you bring the body here? My God, this is a home, people live here!
Henchman: Ah, Colonel, we didn't know what to do with him.
Colonel Ticonderoga: Bury him! How about that! Don't you think that's a good idea?
Henchman: Oh, yes sir, yes sir, Colonel!
Colonel Ticonderoga: I mean, do you think that when somebody dies, they place them permanently on the family couch?

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