A Week of Westerns: Must-Watch Westworld and The Hateful Eight Trailers
There isn’t a western that’s just a western anymore. We’re living in a post-Deadwood world now, where Hell on Wheels exists almost exclusively as a way to yearn for the superior and tragically cancelled HBO series. Everything else you might call a western is actually something else that might’ve just been a western 50 years ago.
Justified, FX’s recently ended series starring Deadwood’s Timothy Olyphant, was a modern western with familiar western themes but decidedly unfamiliar backdrops. That series also starred the underrated Walton Goggins as the premier antithesis to Olyphant’s character. Goggins, perhaps without coincidence, happens to be in Tarantino’s second western film, The Hateful Eight, due out this Christmas. Here’s the trailer for that movie, in which Kurt Russell reminds us all he’s still alive and Tarantino reminds us all he’s still the best dude ever:
Best moment: when Tim Roth opens up his mouth for the first time.
But this isn’t strictly a western either, since every Tarantino film is a Tarantino film first and anything else second. The Hateful Eight actually rings closest to Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs, putting in close proximity a group of dangerous and unpredictable personalities, as opposed to the more traditionally plotted Django Unchained, Tarantino’s other western film that isn’t actually a western film.
Second on our list of sort-of things today is Westworld, which might not have hit at a more culturally poignant moment for a Michael Creighton IP. Here’s the trailer for the upcoming HBO series, based on an old movie, based on a book that is older but isn’t considered an old book because books are really, really old:
Best moment: when I thought that one shot was of John Hawkes. Worst moment: when I learned that John Hawkes isn’t actually in this series at all. I miss Deadwood.
Get it? This is a western that’s the least western-like, due to the fact that it’s actually a science fiction tale about self-aware robots existing in a western theme park for people. The original film focused heavily on the human side of this story. This time around it’s more about the robots, and it’s also an HBO show. But it’s most definitely not a western. Except it kind of is.
J.J. Abrams and Jonathan Nolan, the same team behind the infallible Person of Interest, are the primary creative forces behind this project. That should excite you. For now, though, go watch some Hell on Wheels on Netflix and weep.