As we're just over the one year mark of when Hollywood, for the most part, shut down and stopped making movies due to the pandemic, I think it's fair to bring up something to put at the forefront of the plans for when the studios reopen. We've had a severe lack of westerns so far this century. Sure, there's three big standout films this century with Django Unchained, True Grit, and The Magnificent Seven, but those latter two don't qualify on the grounds that they're remakes of better classics. It's also not to say that Hollywood hasn't at least tried, but when they try to mix a western into a pseudo-superhero action movie style, it just doesn't work.

There's a laundry list of bad westerns that have been made in the last 21 years... Cowboys and Aliens, Bone Tomahawk, Lone Ranger featuring Jack Sparrow, The Hateful Eight, News of the World, Open Range, 3:10 To Yuma... Yawn... Even the award winning Revenant was really, at its core, a bad movie with a great press team. DiCaprio was awarded and Oscar that rightfully should have gone to Tom Hardy in that film. I think Hollywood is too focused on telling a story that will connect and resonate with viewers too much.

When you look at the greatest westerns of all time, it's less about the character development and more about the rough and tough dudes standing on Main Street at high noon. It's loud and rowdy gun play, fantastic horse and carriage chases, train robberies, good guys vs bad guys. It's hard men thrust into a harder place, forced to choose between what's right and what is easy. Tombstone, Silverado, The Unforgiven, The Cowboys, Good, Bad, & Ugly... All of them are essentially the same tale of good vs evil with a ton of action. That's what makes them great westerns.

I think now is a time that audiences could connect to a good tale of action that focuses more on the action. There's enough drama in theaters, no need to drag another western through that mud. Even another solid western buddy comedy like Shanghai Noon or Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid could resurrect the genre. In a day where CGI and green screens rule, I think dirt, dust, and practical effects could be the next big thing.

LOOK: A history of Black representation in movies


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