It's a western based in New Mexico Territory in the 1880s. Starring Ed Burns (who also directed it), Aragorn (or Stryder....or I guess Viggo Mortensen, if you don't follow me here), and the fairly unattractive Renee Zellwegger who looks absolutely terrible in this movie. The trailer offers glimpses of a standard western movie reminiscent of Tombstone which is action packed, full of gun fights and injuns and cowboys...you know, a western.
Well, Appaloosa wasn't quite that. I mean it was in the West, and it had a few gunfights, and occasional action, but the film was built around the characters and the dialogue and not testosterone and violence. Not saying that's a bad thing, the characters were fairly deep and likeable (or hateable, if you will) and the dialogue was good for more than a few laughs, just that it is what it is. A fair amount of the 2 hour film is spent with dialogue between Virgil (Harris) and Everitt (Aragorn) in what amounts to a fairly strange friendship/partnership-and I will admit there are some great conversations, some ending almost Seinfeld-ian. It's just that I wasn't prepared for witty epithets and dialogue going into a Western-and the trailer didn't exactly prepare me for it.
For instance, here's the decscription of the film;
When two gunmen, Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch, arrive in Appaloosa they find a
small, dusty and lawless town suffering at the hands of renegade rancher Randall
Bragg. Bragg has not only taken supplies, horses, and women for his own, but
also has left the city marshal and a deputy for dead. In Bragg they find an
unusually wily adversary who raises the stakes by playing with emotions. It is
now up to Cole and Hitch to stand against the actions of the renegade rancher,
which have already taken their toll on the town.
And while all that's true, the bulk of the movie isn't spent on that. Without spoiling it, just let me say that while all of those things do happen, they're not the bulk of the film-instead it's dialogue and the dynamics of relationships (with Zellwegger's character looking remarkably familiar to me). Again, not bad....really, it wasn't a bad movie. Southwick liked it, compared it to the infamous Unforgiven, which is fairly high praise.
Me? I was lukewarm in the end. It was good, but not great. I'm glad I saw it, I did enjoy it, but it's not one of those movies you tell people that they absolutely must see it. If it were being graded, maybe a C+ or B-. I'd say it's a great home movie, not a great theater movie (though the sound on the shotgun firing was pretty cool, as strange as that sounds). It's a great movie for a bored night at home to grab off PPV, Tivo, or Blockbuster.