Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Wyatt Earp (1994)

"My name's Wyatt Earp. It all ends now." 

  There are some westerns I like, some westerns I appreciate, and some that are just...well, westerns. Then there are the ones I LOVE, the movies that rank above the normal "Oh, this is a good movie" scale. The ones that blow my mind. The ones that make me laugh, cry, feel, and go WOW. This movie, my friends, is one of those.

     There's something about bio-dramas that really get me; the epic, widespread story of a person's life played out on the screen. When it's combined with the legendary, gritty glory of the old west, you've really got something. Throw in Kevin Costner and a score by James Newton Howard, and you have Wyatt Earp.

     If you can't tell already, I was very impressed with this movie. I love most everything about it; the actors, the music, the tension, the drama...IT'S JUST SO GOOD. I can't think of anything more to say without repeating myself (which, it seems, I've already begun to do,) so let's just move on, shall we?

     First of all, there's Kevin Costner as Wyatt Earp. I'm not sure how this happened, but somehow I ended up being a Kevin Costner fan. That being said, I pretty much love him in any movie, but in my opinion this is definitely among his very best. I haven't seen any other movies about Wyatt Earp, but as far as I'm concerned Costner owns this role. It's brilliant how completely he embodies the character throughout his lifetime, from sweet, lovesick young man to halfhearted buffalo skinner, to accidental lawman to respected (and even feared) marshal of a rough-and-rowdy frontier city.
He was also pretty nice to look at most of the time.
     The thing is, Wyatt Earp never really wanted to be a lawman, and the movie shows how he happened into the occupation pretty much on accident. Kevin Costner always has the perfect balance between tough and tender; he can be sweet and gentle, and mean and bloodthirsty when he has to be.

     Then there's Dennis Quaid as Doc Holliday. My goodness gracious, I had no idea he would be so good! When I read that Dennis Quaid played Holliday, I thought, now how does that work? He far exceeded my expectations. Doc Holliday's a bit of a rough diamond, obviously, and not the most likable guy. According to himself, everyone who knows him hates him. He was loyal, rude, and often hysterical. Dennis Quaid's interpretation hit the bulls-eye. And ohhhhh my, is he quotable!

Wyatt Earp: "You've been a good friend to me, Doc."
Doc Holliday: "Shut up."

Warren Earp: "Wyatt, you're still a marshal around here, aren't you?"
Doc Holliday: "Sure. But now he's going to be a marshal and an outlaw. The best of both worlds, son."

Morgan Earp: "I say we just kill 'em all."
Doc Holliday: "You know, Morg, Wyatt is my friend, but I believe I'm beginning to love you."

Doc Holliday: "Wyatt Earp. I have heard that name somewhere. I don't know where, but it wasn't good."

Doc Holliday {about Tombstone}: "Well, it sounds quiet, I'll give you that."

"How's your teeth, Earp?"

    Wyatt Earp and Doc together were pretty legendary. The actors really captured the unusual friendship the two shared.

     The brothers! I loved the Earp brothers. I seem to have a fondness for stories about brother-relationships; not sure why, since I'm obviously not a brother, nor do I have one. I loved the way they stuck together. James was the stingy, slightly slimy one; Virgil was the melancholy family man; Wyatt was the toughened, around-the-block-too-many-times one; Morgan was the youthful, eager-to-do-what's-right but slightly impulsive one; and Warren was plain ADORABLE. I'm particularly fond of Morgan Earp. Not sure why. It couldn't have anything to do with the fact that he was the most handsome. Well, maybe.

Morgan's the second from right. He's terribly yummy.
     The wives, of course, stuck with their men, even when their men paid hardly any attention to them. (Not Morgan, of course., Morgan and his girl were a.b.s.o.l.u.t.e.l.y darling.)

      Even though Gene Hackman had less than 10 minutes screen time as Nicholas Earp, he made what little time he had count. He was SO good. His words resonated throughout the movie even after he was gone: "Remember this, all of you. Nothing counts so much as blood. The rest are all strangers."

     Josephine was an interesting character. An adventurous young woman who comes to Tombstone to be with the sheriff, Johnny something-or-other (who is a creep), Josephine is intrigued by Wyatt Earp, and eventually they fall in love. Now, Wyatt already has a woman, Mattie; who isn't actually his wife, but he's living with her as though she is. The whole situation with Mattie goes from bad to worse when she finds out Wyatt is in love with this Josie person, but strangely enough I actually really like Josie. No, she should not have given herself fully to Wyatt when he was responsible for another woman. (Well, Wyatt shouldn't have kept Mattie around if he wasn't going to marry her.) But she was plucky, and I admired that. My favorite Josephine line, the one that I keep quoting, is what she tells Johnny when she's packing her bags to leave him: "It's not that I don't love you. It's that I don't even like you."

     Wyatt's first love, Urilla Sutherland, was an absolute DOLL. She was so sweet and young and pretty, and Wyatt was so sweet and young and in love, and they were so happy together, it just makes you want to cry from the utter adorableness of it all. That's why it was SO sad when *SPOILER* Urilla dies and Wyatt turns bitter and angry *END OF SPOILER* I will admit that I was literally in tears. Their time together was so short! *sniffle* I loved the scene when Wyatt and Urilla are working in their garden together, and she asks him to tell her about the places he's been. I can't remember the line exactly, but he says something about how he'd never want to go anywhere she wasn't. Go ahead, Kevin Costner, just tear my heart to pieces.

Other random things I loved about the movie...

  • Bill Pullman as Ed Masterson. He was so adorable, and it was SO SAD when he got killed. "Bat...Bat, I'm shot." *tears*

  •  Curly Billy Brocius was played by my very own Charles Main!!!!! *squealing and fangirly delight* It was kind of fun that he was a bad guy. He didn't do much, just hung around and made trouble and occasionally sad witty things ("Twenty-five dollars doesn't cover half the contempt I've got for this court") but he looked awfully nice while doing it. ;-)

  •  The soundtrack is SO thrilling and beautiful. I just recently bought the CD, and now I'm listening to it on average twice a day. It's that good. One of my new favorites...but then I have about 50 million favorite soundtracks, so we won't get too technical.

  • THE ENDING. Aaahhhhhhh. Josie and Wyatt are on a ship, and then little mister Love-Comes-Softly-dude comes up and asks him if he's Wyatt Earp. (It's kind of like in Lonesome Dove when the newspaper man talks to Call and asks him if all the things people say about him are true-- at least, that's what it made me think of.) The fellow recounts a story about how Wyatt saved his uncle. Wyatt Earp says to Josie, "Some people say it didn't happen that way." To which Josie replies, "Never mind them, Wyatt. It happened that way." It's the kind of ending that makes you want to sigh with satisfaction.
Is this a gorgeous still or what.

     This is interesting: I just read that Kevin Costner was originally going to be in Tombstone  as Wyatt Earp, but then left the production because he didn't agree with the screenwriter on how he wanted to focus the film on such a large cast of characters; Costner believed it should be more centered around Wyatt Earp. So Costner teamed up with director Lawrence Kasdan, who was going to make a six-hour miniseries about Wyatt Earp. It ended up being a three-and-a-half-hour movie when Kevin Costner joined the cast, and apparently he used his influence to convince most of the major film studios to refuse to distribute the rival film, Tombstone. Wyatt Earp turned out to be the less successful of the two movies, and wasn't a very big success when it released, receiving mixed to negative reviews, though apparently lots of people loved Dennis Quaid's Doc Holliday. Kevin Costner was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for 'Worst Actor'. :-(

     Well, I'm not a movie critic. I haven't seen any other movies about these people and the OK Corral gunfight, but I think this is a good movie in its own right. Personally, I loved it. I was impressed by the cast, the story progression, and the music. If other people don't like it, that's their opinion.

     As far as westerns go, the content was pretty much what you'd expect; quite a lot of violence, some bad language, and a bedroom scene. There is a scene where Josie and Wyatt are shown in bed together, but it's not explicit. Wyatt's sort-of-but-not-really wife, Mattie, was a prostitute, so there's talk of that. In several instances Doc Holliday uses some pretty nasty language, but I don't remember the language on the whole being very frequent. The movie is rated PG-13; it's an adult movie, but I'd let a mature thirteen-year-old watch it.


     And those are my final words. :-)


  1. Wow! I'm not even super-into Westerns and now I'm like, "I totally want to watch this" :)
    Kevin Costner--I've only seen him in "Thirteen Days" but he was fantastic in that. I can easily believe he'd make a great Wyatt Earp :)

    1. Yes! Kevin Costner is amazing. Even if you don't normally like westerns, you might like this; it's a bio-drama/historical/western.

    2. I am really into history (it's my major in college), so I might just watch it for that :)

  2. Haha, "I can't think of anything more without repeating myself…" Boy, do I understand that;)

    Okay. I'm thinking I must needs watch this. We'll see:) Doc Holliday sounds especially awesome:D

    Have you watched "MacFarland USA"? That's a very recent Kevin Costner movie--it's not a Western, though. It's actually a sports underdog film *cough cough*. But it's actually really good. And Kevin Costner was great in it:)

    1. Doc Holliday IS especially awesome. :-) I quote him all the time. My favorite line of his is the one about not being ashamed of being a dentist. ;-P

  3. (I don't know if my first comment went through, so here I am again.)

    WELL! It seems I must needs watch this! The only thing that cautions me a little is the slight sexual content…but we'll see. I could always just skip it…and the rest of it looks pretty darned epic.

    Doc Holliday sounds especially awesome! And hahahaha, I'd love to see Dennis Quaid in a Western XD

    Have you seen "MacFarland USA"? That's a recent Kevin Costner film. It's actually a sports underdog story (I know, I know), but it's really very good. And Kevin Costner was great in it:D

    Great review! It has definitely piqued my interest:)

    1. Yes, your first comment did come through. I published both, as you see, since they were slightly different. Hope you don't mind. ;-)

      Yes! The sexual content isn't graphic at all -- like I said, there's one scene that shows them side by side in bed (but covered) and there's prostitutes, like in a lot of westerns, but they're not prevalent in the story. But yes, the rest of it is SO epic.

      YES I've seen McFarland USA!!!!!!! I LOVED that movie so much. Seriously was not expecting to feel so much over, like you said, a 'sports underdog' film. :-) Wowzers.


  4. There's so many different film versions of the Earp legend, I hadn't heard of this one. Coincidentally, my first post is on another fictionalized Earp film—I didn't know whether we were supposed to submit our links or anything like that, so here it is: http://www.thesecondsentence.blogspot.com/2015/07/my-darling-clementine-1946.html

    Oh, and I just wanted to let you know I'm going to have a fun Western-themed giveaway to go with my Friday post, so be sure and stop by for that!

    1. Elisabeth, I think this is one of the least-acclaimed films about Wyatt Earp, but I think it's wonderful.

      Oooh, that sounds fun! I shall look forward to it! :-)

  5. Okay, I finally found time to comment on this. :-D
    I am not a huge western lover, but this looks intriguing. I would definitely like to give it a try, so I reckon I'll scout around and watch it with my sisters someday. ;-)
    Dennis Quaid looks hilarious in a western - not in a bad way, I mean he looks GOOD but, he's always playing funny characters and I reckon he's a crack-up. :-P "You've been a good friend to me, Doc." "Shut up." Haha. Can totally picture that.
    Also agree that Morgan is rather *cough* good looking. More so than the others, that's for sure. It's a lot more enjoyable when the actors are 'easy on the eyes'. ;-)
    Okay, so now, I've got another movie on my pages long to-see list. ;-D
    ~Miss Meg March

    1. Haha! Yeah, when I first discovered Dennis Quaid was Doc Holliday I was like, "What??? How????" My mom didn't even recognize it was him for most of the movie. He really looks a lot different.

      Isn't he???? I mean, I find Kevin Costner handsome and all, but...goodness. :-) Yes, I agree!

  6. I've been meaning to see this for years, and finally picked up a copy because it was only $4. I do dearly love Tombstone, but it is mostly for Val Kilmer's Doc Holliday, I readily admit it. He's delicious and crazy quotable (seems to be a Doc trait) -- I even have a line of his as my "text alert" sound on my cell phone, and for our anniversary, Cowboy gave me a t-shirt with Doc's catch phrase "I'm your huckleberry" on it, hee. However, Tombstoneis really violent and has some quite bad language, so I can't wholeheartedly recommend it.

    But I CAN wholeheartedly recommend another Wyatt Earp movie, Hour of the Gun. It's serious and dark (Tombstone is kinda flippant and almost comic-book-hero-esque -- got a weird flavor), and although I tend to prefer my James Garner cute and funny, he plays dark and serious very, very well indeed. Jason Robards is nicely ascerbic and cranky as Doc, and the whole movie is well done.

    1. Hamlette, I still want to see Tombstone. The current word from my mother is, "When you're seventeen." ;-P But I think I'll probably still like this better, because...well...Kevin Costner.

      Haha, I know about Doc Holliday's "I'm your huckleberry" line. I actually quote that a lot. :-) My favorite line from Dennis Quaid's Doc is, "I did not try to hide the fact that I was a dentist. I was not ashamed of being a dentist."

    2. I was 17 when I first saw it, though that was only the recorded-off-network-TV version, and tamed down.


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