Or, why Lonesome Dove is the best movie in the history of ever.
It's no secret that I love Lonesome Dove dearly. If you've hung around my blog, you know that. If you've seen the pictures on the wall above my desk, you know it. If you spend enough time around me, you'll probably hear me quote the characters. It's my story. I JUST LOVE IT SO MUCH. Occasionally I just need to take a moment and express that. Thus, I'm sitting here listening to the LD soundtrack and unloading these pressing emotions on all of you. :-D
What brought this all on again, you ask? Well, I just finished watching the series the other day. I guess that was it. This was my second viewing, and I loved it even more than the first time. Which is significant, because I adored it the first time. That was two years ago, when I was fourteen. I was sick that day, and I watched all seven hours of it in one stretch. It was epicness. I had never seen anything so mind-blowingly amazing. (Though, I'm not sure I whole-heartedly recommend showing Lonesome Dove to any old fourteen-year-old. I was an unusual fourteen-year-old, having been already heavily influenced by Mattie Ross, but probably most wouldn't fully appreciate Lonesome Dove for everything it is.)
This time, I was laid low with my chronic seasonal allergies. I was feeling lousy. It was just me in the house, and I had no motivation to do anything useful...so I did the only thing I could do. I broke out the Lonesome Dove DVDs. I let myself fall into this legendary Old West world, when men were men, savagery ran rampant, but good always triumphed over evil in the end because that's the way things work.
I think I got a lot more out of Lonesome Dove this second time. (Not that I didn't get a lot out of it before -- but I was younger then, and besides I think you probably catch more every time you watch it.) I know the characters now -- they're my friends. I understand their feelings. I FEEL THEIR PAIN. It hurts me to watch them make wrong choices, it gladdens me to see them happy, it makes me sad when they have to say goodbye to things they love. I care about them. I love them.
Watching the story play out before me once again, this story I know so well, was like going back to an old familiar place I hadn't been to in awhile, but that I'd missed sorely. And, being the emotional sixteen-year-old girl that I am, I cried. I don't mean I teared up once in a while; when I say I cried I mean I wept. The tears ran. I cried when Gus read the grave marker Woodrow put on Deets' grave. I cried when Woodrow beat the living daylight out of that snotty army scout who tried to take Dish's horse. I cried when July Johnson walked into that little doctor's room where Elmira lay and said, "I found you, Ellie." I cried when Gus rescued Lorena, and I cried when he left Lorena with Clara in Nebraska, riding off across the wide prairie. I think I basically cried all the way through the second half.
I SOBBED over Newt. I'm not even kidding. I think I'm a little bit in love with Newt.
After accomplishing the impressive feat of watching this series all the way through for the second time, I made an official decision: Lonesome Dove is my favorite movie ever.
Some people might think that's a little strange. (Especially considering the fact that I'm a sixteen-year-old girl -- apparently sixteen-year-old girls don't normally watch stuff like this. Well, I've never claimed to be normal!) Why is it I love this movie so much? It's about disgusting men who spit tobacco juice and drink whiskey and talk about inappropriate things. It's about prostitutes. It's about nasty mean Indians who do terrible things. Why would I like something like that, anyway???
Well, let me tell you something. All this, in part, is why I love it so much. By saying I love these characters, I don't mean I agree with or approve of every single little thing they do. I DON'T. They all have failings. Because they're human. You don't love a person because they're perfect. You love them for who they are regardless. Yes, these men are disgusting. This is the old west, people. They were cowboys. They were brought up in dust and they were probably never taught any better than to drink and curse and take advantage of women. But true chivalry comes out in spite of all that; in a place and culture where women were good for little more than a man's pleasure, there were men who saw their real worth.
Lorena: (to Gus, about Clara) "She'll know what I am."
Gus: "That's right. She'll see that you're a fine human being."
That's why I don't think Lonesome Dove should be labeled 'inappropriate' because of the predominance of prostitutes in the story. In fact, it bothers me when people say that. Of course it's not appropriate for all audiences; it's not a movie for young children because of many things. The story is just too heavy. But heavy doesn't always mean bad. Gus's friendship with Lorie emphasizes the very fact that she is more than the profession she's fallen into. He cares for her because of the person she is. He risks his life to protect her, after all, and he stays with her when she's got no one else in the whole world. And that, my friends, is powerful.
|I was gonna go with all sepia-toned pictures in this post. Then I saw this one and thought, well, forget that!|
When it comes right down to it, the reason I love this story is so much is because of the characters in it. They're so real it hurts. They're so flawed, they're perfect. And once you know them, you won't ever forget them.
I could talk about Dish, and his unwavering devotion to Lorena even though she hardly even notices him. I could talk about Newt and how he "ain't kin to nobody in this world" (though I'd probably start crying). I could talk about July and how I love him even though he wastes his time going after a woman who doesn't care whether he lives or dies, much less the pain she's caused him. Heck, I could probably spend a long time talking about any one of these characters, but it ain't necessary. Just go watch the series. It's worth it. It's a good story.
So there you have it. Let's just say that's a few of the reasons why Lonesome Dove is my favorite movie ever. :-)