Hostiles: Not So Friendly West

DATELINE: How the Western Is Lost

 Bale's beard Bale’s Beard

A few more Westerns like writer/director Scott Cooper’s Hostiles and the Western will be killed unceremoniously, gutted “from stem to stern” as they repeatedly say in this movie. And don’t smile when you say that, pardner.

Though we might make a comparison to John Ford’s The Searchers, we’d be way out of line. Though Ford’s John Wayne classic dealt with Indian massacres and brutal revenge, it was also human in its emotions and veered away from tedium in the stunning Western settings.

Christian Bale is a laconic cavalry captain who participated in a massacre of native Americans at Wounded Knee—and now in his final assignment must take a hostile chief and his family to a Montana sanctuary by order of the President.

Constantly prattling on that he merely follows orders, he is prepared not to follow these orders. Yet, this hero is like a good Nazi soldier, doing only his job. Cruel violence pockmarks the storyline amid the tedium. All we hear is discouraging words.

In the older Westerns, you had some likeable characters and some sense of humor to keep sane in the desolate West. Here, the characters are driven mad by their dour natures.

The Captain rescues a woman whose family has been killed by Comanches, and she joins the odd caravan through desert and mountain settings. Along the way we meet Ben Foster as a nasty Indian killer (apparently along to re-team Bale from their successful work in 3:10 to Yuma). Also along briefly is young star Timothy Chalamet, wasted mostly as an inexplicable French horse soldier out west.

Costars are impressive actors like Wes Studi, Stephen Lang, and Scott Wilson. They give the film true grit, however unhappy their roles are.

Bale is so laconic that his imperial beard has more life than he. Not a twitch from that mustachioed hero

The film is so serious about its political messages, all mixed up with revisionism and apologies, that we recognized the genre only in fleeting glimpses. The movie is in the long run, long and predictable.



In Defense of the Indefensible Curt Schilling

DATELINE:  Under the Tidal Wave

Bloody sock be damned. Curt Schilling has been sacked by the sanctimonious forces over at the ever-hateful ESPN.  You know them: the people who lied about Tom Brady repeatedly and will do anything to undermine the Patriots.

For several years Curt Schilling, a bust as a businessman, went media happy with the wrong people. Media moguls are politically correct, with waxy eardrums listening to the latest polling results. ESPN people have no backbone, and usually are found on the lower rungs of Hades if Dante is to be believed. They live with the jellyfish.

Today ESPN fired Schilling for having views not compatible with sponsors and others who succumb to pressure from consumers who hate sports. So much for a sports cable network eating its own.

Schilling  doesn’t want transgender people walking into any bathroom. For this he has lost his livelihood. It is likely that he will now be blackballed among the media libertards around the nation.

There may be a job for him in some backwoods backwater, evangelical black hole, but he should not expect his insights, expertise, or person, to be respected ever again.

Once your reputation is sullied, you cannot go home again. There is nothing more sanctimonious than colleagues who are intolerant of views they deem outre. Iconoclasm in the defense of liberty is a vice according to sports experts at ESPN.

Sometimes the greatest hate comes from those who hate anyone different from their majority. It’s bullying the bullies, but it remains bullying from the pulpit of correctness.

We have not always agreed with Schilling, but we know the feeling of being on the fringe of opinion in a world that put outliers into the same category as regular liars, intolerant ignoramuses, and gibbering idiots.

We never thought of ourselves as perfect, and neither is Curt Schilling, but there must be a Brave New World island where exile is preferable to being subjugated by the insufferable new Puritans who disdain anyone whom they consider practitioners of “unacceptable behavior” (and that covers any ground west of the Salem Witch trials, or east of the Blacklisted Hollywood writers).