Saturday, February 27, 2016

On Finally Watching Tombstone {and What I Thought Of It}


     I explained in my last post about how I've been waiting to watch this baby for quite a while, but in case you didn't read that, let me clarify -- this was a movie I waited YEARS for. (At least two. Which is a long time for Emma to wait to watch a movie.) And last night I watched it. Then I went to bed and lay awake for a long time mentally composing this blog post in which I would tell y'all what I thought of it. ;-P

     Because it was pretty grand. It was big and splashy and had lots of action and good 'n evil and many of the characteristics that make a western people like to see. I liked it alright. Having worked myself up to it for so long I was a teensy bit disappointed that I wasn't over-the-moon about it. Because I didn't love Tombstone. And here I am to tell you why.

     (First I've gotta say, I went into this movie knowing I'd end up comparing it to Wyatt Earp, the rival movie released a year later. Reason number One, that I absolutely LOVE Wyatt Earp (you can read my review HERE) and Reason number Two, they're about the same people and many of the same events, and I can't HELP comparing things like that. So most of this is going to be What I Liked about Wyatt Earp More Than Tombstone. Just so you know. In case that makes you want to skip reading it and storm off in a cloud of indignant dust. I understand that.)

    The first, obvious reason why I didn't like Tombstone as much as Wyatt Earp? I missed Kevin Costner.

     Kurt Russel did not strike me as a particularly enchanting Wyatt Earp. In fact Kurt Russel did not strike me as particularly enchanting in any way, shape or form. (My mother pointed out that she'd always thought he looks a bit like Patrick Swayze. I pointed out that this is somewhat true, but Kurt Russel doesn't have what Patrick Swayze has. And besides that their hair isn't even comparable.) Frankly, he seemed kind of a goes-where-the-wind-blows fellow -- not very strongly rooted in anything. Well, okay, he cared about his brothers. But it wasn't the Strong & Eternal Bond of Brotherhood in the Wyatt Earp movie. I guess since Tombstone focused more on the Cowboys gang and the violence aspect of the Tombstone events instead of the character development of Wyatt and his brothers, I didn't feel I was able to get to know them as much, and that made me kinda disappointed.

     Because I LOOOOOOVE the Earp brothers in Wyatt Earp. Kevin Costner has this sensitivity about him that makes him pitiable and still reliable. He's got just the right balance of tough-and-tender, so that at times he makes you tremble, but at others you want to just give him a big hug and tell him it's okay. And the other brothers too -- Sam Elliot was good as Virgil, but he seemed to me to be awkward in the role. Sam Elliot needs a bigger part, where he came do his stuff better. He seemed cramped as Virgil. Morgan is my favorite brother in Wyatt Earp (which may or may not be due to the fact that I happen to think Linden Ashby is terribly yummy, not to mention the fact that he has the most beautiful name ever), but I really didn't feel anything towards Bill Paxton's Morgan. (He wasn't as yummy. *pouts*) Basically, I definitely felt the Family Bonds stronger in Wyatt Earp.

     Plus in Tombstone you only get to meet Wyatt, Virgil and Morgan. Where's James? (Not that I care about James, but I'd still like to know.) And the wives seemed unfortunately categorized as Weeping Blonds. (Seriously, they were all practically identical blonds.)


     The main draw to this whole movie for most people seems to be Val Kilmer's Doc Holliday, so I was expecting to be wowed. Val Kilmer delivered a mostly satisfactory Doc. My only complaint would be that he seems too young and yummy to be the cranky, sick, tough-skinned gambler and gunfighter that is Doc Holliday in my mind, but that's just me. ;-) His accent was remarkable fun to listen to, I will say that. And I was glad he looked down at his bare feet in the hospital bed and said the famous last words before he died, because I was WAITING for that. (The real Doc Holliday always  said he would die with his boots on. Well, he ended up dying in a hospital bed with his boots off, and his last words are reported to be, "Damn. This is funny." Then they wrote on his tombstone that he "died in bed". How do you think that would have made him feel?)

     Anyway, I will consent that Val Kilmer was pretty good. It doesn't hurt my pride to do so. ;-P Still, his Doc didn't make me laugh near as much as Dennis Quaid's did. Seriously now. How could you beat skinny, pale-faced Dennis Quaid with all the salty lines he's got? 

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."

     Now, as for the Cowboys gang. In Wyatt Earp there's not to much time spent on the gang, because y'know, it's a movie encompassing pretty much Wyatt Earp's whole life and they don't want to waste too much of Kevin Costner's potential screen time on unworthy outlaws. But in Tombstone the Cowboys get a lot of attention. And they're absolutely horrible. Curly Billy Brocius (a name which is ridiculously fun to say -- try it out) was especially disgusting and despicable. The fact that he was played by Powers Boothe didn't even help. I loved Powers Boothe as Bartlett McClure in True Women (1997) but I absolutely HATED him in this movie. I guess that shows he must be a good actor. ;-)

You've got to admit, that's pretty funny.

     Almost every single one of the Cowboys is played by some actor I recognized, and it took me about half the movie to figure out who they all were. I seriously could not believe it when I realized Ike Clanton was Stephen Lang. WHAT?! And Billy Clanton was little baby Thomas Haden Church! With blond hair!!! Oh, the trauma of it all! And right in the middle of it all was Chris-in-the-morning from Northern Exposure, which caused my mother and I to repeatedly crack up, because it was just like some crazy dream Chris would have that he'd be riding with a bunch of nasty outlaws. ;-P


     Alright, I like Dana Delaney and all. I thought she was amazing in True Women. (In which she was MARRIED to CURLY BILL which now seems atrocious.) But her Josephine Marcus just didn't work for me. First of all, she just looked too old. And I don't mean too old for the role or too old for Wyatt -- she looks too old for the character of Josie. Josie is a young, spirited, beautiful and adventurous young woman, and for some reason Dana Delaney just didn't get that. Plus she was annoying. She kept turning up at odd moments for apparently no reason. Like right after the gunfight at the OK corral, when she just happens to be right there and she walks out and smiles at Wyatt -- puh-leeeeeze. This is not the time. And after Morgan died (which, by the way, was nowhere near feelsy enough for me) when Wyatt was out in the rain and she randomly appears out of nowhere, and then a moment later disappears back into nowhere. It just didn't seem to make any sense. I felt like they were trying to romanticize her too much, and they just didn't succeed.

     Although I must admit, I love her hair. Her hair's pretty great. I'll give her some points for that.

     All in all, Tombstone didn't give me the wide panorama of feelings that Wyatt Earp did. I wasn't drawn to the characters, and I didn't feel swept away in the flow of the story. It was just kind of  "Ehhhhhhh," whereas Wyatt Earp made me laugh, and weep, and shriek, and ultimately I loved it. Tombstone was fairly entertaining but I don't think I'll be watching it again.


     I most definitely WILL be watching Wyatt Earp again, and now that I've just watched Tombstone I want to even more. (Besides, my mom didn't get to see the whole thing before, and watching Kevin Costner movies with Mama is one of the most fun things ever. ;-)) I'm still surprised that this movie wasn't a bigger hit than it was. Tombstone came out the year before and sort of stole its thunder, and then when Wyatt Earp was released nobody really paid attention -- or they decided they all liked Tombstone better. Now, to me, that just don't make no sense a'tall. As far as what I value in a good movie, Wyatt Earp has much more of that than Tombstone does. I also think it has much more historical value. It's more tastefully done. And the cast is worlds better. And it's got better music. And Kevin Costner. Basically, I think it's much better than Tombstone.

     But that's just my opinion. What about YOU? Have you seen Wyatt Earp or Tombstone? Which do you like better? (Or aren't you like me in that you have to compare them to each other?) ;-P


  1. I had no clue what you were talking about in this post, but I read it anyway. I'm not a friend of yours for no reason. (And I TOLD you it wasn't going to be that good.)

    Although I must admit, I love her hair. Her hair's pretty great. I'll give her some points for that. <<<< HAHA.

    ~ Naomi

    1. Haha, I even thought while writing this: "Naomi is going to have no interest WHATSOEVER." But you went ahead and read it anyway -- what a DEAR you are. *hugs*

  2. I LOVE BOTH OF THESE MOVIES! You make me want to watch again. I love it when Val Kilmer says, "I'm your huckleberry." :) Therefore, Tombstone wins for me. Also, I love Dana Delaney as Josie. :P But I actually haven't watched Wyatt Earp in FOREVER, so maybe I prefer it. I can't remember...

    1. Jillian, I shivered a little when he said that line too. ;-) Val Kilmer was pretty awesome, but all-around this movie just didn't grab me as much.

      Well, I would recommend watching Wyatt Earp again, just 'cause it's so much fun, but you know my feelings on that...;-)

  3. Hmmmmmmmmm, interesting. I've never seen either of these two movies, so I can't really comment, exactly . . . except to say I'm sorry this one didn't live up to your expectations :-/ But now you get to watch "Wyatt Earp" again! Fun :-)

    Y'know, reading your thoughts on this movie reminds me a rather lot of the first time I watched P&P 95. It was the same thing--I'd pretty much expected to love it, and then when I actually did see it, I was like, "um, NO." Because it just didn't capture the novel for me. At all. (I'm still waiting for a TRULY GOOD P&P movie, actually. Because P&P 05 is very, very good, but not GREAT. So yeah.)

    1. Really? I think you may be the first person I've heard of who doesn't think P&P 95 is the God-ordained bringing-to-life of the book! (I haven't read the book, and I enjoy both versions of the movie, so I'm one of those people who just stands back during debates and laughs and eats popcorn.) But I know what you mean -- I feel the same way with To Kill a Mockingbird. I ADORE the book to the HEAVENS, but when I watched the movie I was disappointed; not because it wasn't good, but it wasn't quite perfect, and a book that good deserves a perfect movie adaptation. I think.

    2. Nope, I don't like it. I won't bore you with my long list of complicated reasons why . . . I'll just say that Jennifer Ehle's Elizabeth just IS NOT ELIZABETH as far as I'm concerned. And since Elizabeth is really the heart of the story, that's a problem.

      Plus, Colin Firth is nowhere near handsome enough to play Mr. Darcy. I'm sorry. He's just not.

      If I could do a "dream P&P cast" of anyone, anywhere, I'd pick Richard Armitage as Mr. Darcy and Daisy Ridley as Elizabeth. Of all the actors I know, they are the ones who come closest to my personal impressions/images of Darcy and Lizzy from the novel.

    3. (I don't swoon over P&P95 either. And I get annoyed by people who are all rabid about its perfection.)

  4. Awww, I'm sorry it didn't live up to your expectations! I've never seen either movie, so I can't really comment on the POST. But the lady, the one with "pretty great hair", is very pretty :)

    1. Haha, it's okay. ;-P Oh, I think she's gorgeous -- in a sort of austere, pioneerish way. (I guess my view of the actress is forever ingrained by her performance in True Women, in which she was a very strong character, so it's going to be hard from now on to see her as anyone else.)

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  6. Aw, it's always disappointing to be, well, disappointed! :( But at least you don't have to wait and wonder if it's amazing anymore!

    1. Abby, I agree. But that's a good point! Now I won't be frothing at the mouth with longing every time I see it at the library. ;-P

  7. Ah, I'm sorry it wasn't as good as you hoped. Maybe you'll see movies that you weren't expecting to like or didn't wait for for ages (like Brooklyn?! :D) that will make up for it. But I know how annoying that can be when things don't live up to your expectations.
    I can't really say much because I haven't seen either, I don't think. (Except that I HAVE to see Dennis Quaid as Doc Holiday. That'll be epic. I love that actor.) I say I DON'T THINK I've seen them, because, *cough* I'm not entirely sure. :P I found out today that my parents and two older sisters have seen them (which I didn't realize) only a couple years ago! My mum thought I might have watched them too, but I honestly don't remember them. ;) I was probably going through a stage where I refused to watch westerns (Uh oh, I may just have evoked your wrath. Let me explain - I'm not 'big' into westerns naturally (selected few, put it that way) but my two older sisters are crazy into them. I got roped into seeing dozens of them, simply because I wanted to watch a movie and they were the only option on that day. ;) Then after that I decided I wouldn't watch westerns (and I also have a strong disliking of John Wayne, ahem) which still hasn't entirely worn off. But maybe someday we'll get there. ;)
    So... I DO have a question for you in regard to these movies. I have a desire to see Wyatt Earp, (mostly cause, y'know, Dennis Quaid) but would it be better to see Tombstone before I see that, so I can 'get the picture', or it doesn't matter? ;) I have a feeling you'll say just go ahead and watch Wyatt Earp, but there's no harm in asking. :D
    ~Miss Meg
    P.S. So are you going ahead with the whole idea of watching Leap Year on the 29th? :D 'Cause I'm quite sure I've persuaded my two elder sisters (we'll see about my mum). Yay! That's tomorrow!

    1. Yeah, thanks. ;-) Strangely it wasn't TOO much of a disappointment -- it was just kind of, oh, okay, I guess that's that. The only thing Tombstone really made me feel was a strong urge to watch Wyatt Earp again! I'd definitely recommend Wyatt Earp first -- honestly, if you're not that big of a western fan, you probably wouldn't like Tombstone. (Considering I adore the species and I didn't even like it much. Plus there's a lot of nasty people doing nasty things which kind of puts a nasty tinge on the movie.)

      Haha, don't worry, you haven't evoked my wrath -- there was a time when *I* didn't like westerns! And it wasn't even so long ago, actually. Four years ago when Mama brought home Lonesome Dove for the first time, I hated it. And now it's my favorite movie ever. That ought to show how people's opinions change.

      (And I still don't like John Wayne either. I'm glad I'm not the only one in the whole world who doesn't. ;-P)

      YES! I'm going to try to go ahead with it....I still have to go to the library and get the movie, but I'm hoping to tomorrow. Oh, great! You're going to love it, Miss Meg. :-)

  8. Well, I've seen both. I've seen Tombstone about 25 times, and Wyatt Earp once. But I'd like to see Wyatt Earp again, and I own a copy, I just have to find time.

    I think most of what I like about Tombstone is its attitude. It's not pretending to be Serious, it's not claiming to be a history lesson, it's just swaggering around having fun. And so I watch it when I feel like swaggering around and having fun. But I will readily admit that the main reason I watch it over and over is Val Kilmer as Doc. He is a joy and a delight, for me, not to mention that Val is one of my top 10 favorite actors anyway. "I'm your huckleberry" is actually my alert sound on my phone for when I get a text message. So... yeah... I'm a fan. I first saw it on TV when I was like 17, and my dad didn't care for it at all, but I dug it so much he let me record it the next time it was on (and this was network TV, so all the bad cussing was recorded over and a couple scenes were truncated), and I watched it so often over the next year I basically had Doc's dialog allll memorized by the time I went to college.

    I didn't see Wyatt Earp until this past year, and I was mighty impressed by it, enough so I went and got a copy.

    1. Ahhh, zis. I was waiting for zis comment. :-)

      I see what you mean -- I like the swaggering, sort-of-sarcastic attitude, but not as much as the broad, epic scale of Wyatt Earp. (Plus part of my preference could very well be the fact that I saw Wyatt Earp first, and because like I said, I love Kevin Costner.) I still think the media was unfair to Wyatt Earp.

    2. I think in the end, whether I watch Tombstone or Wyatt Earp on any given occasion will be up to what mood I'm in -- do I want the serious or the swagger?

      But yes, I also saw Tombstone first, and I'm not a huge fan of Kevin Costner, so that does play a part in my preference as well.

      The media is idiotic. I disagree with critics routinely. They completely ruined the chances of both The Lone Ranger and The Man from UNCLE of ever getting sequels, much less making any good money, by lambasting them before they even opened.

  9. Awesome review, Emma!! :)

    I'm sorry this was a bit of a letdown; it's so disappointing when that happens. But at least now you have a reason to love WE even more :) I haven't seen either, but I'm pretty interested in WE. Dennis Quaid's Doc sounds epic beyond all description.

    So, these are both stories about Wyatt Earp, but rival ones?

    1. Thanks, Olivia! :-)

      Yes, that's one thing Tombstone definitely did do for me -- it made me love Wyatt Earp even more. Yes, they're both about Wyatt Earp and they have the same set of characters. I wouldn't exactly call them rivals, because WE covers his whole life and Tombstone is more about just the OK Corral events, but since they were made right about at the same time and the companies were rivaling each other with their movies, it kind of sets things up like that. Most people liked Tombstone better when it came out -- I prefer Wyatt Earp INFINITELY. ;-P Yes, you should watch it!!

  10. Oh, wait a second. THOMAS HADEN CHURCH. Okay, done ;)

    (That picture of John Corbett made me laugh inside xD)

    1. I KNOW. IT WAS SO WEIRD. I didn't even know he was in it, and suddenly....heyyyy, I know that voice! He was actually a nasty character, but he was so LITTLE and CUTE that I couldn't help going "aaawwwwwwwww." ;-P

      I'm glad you think it's funny too. I thought it was hilarious.


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