Film
GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY, THE
, Dir.
GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY, THE

THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY affirms why I love not just movies but cinema itself.  The best cinema to me is that which understands the potential and scale of the experience:  immersive sound, widescreen vistas and an operatic scale that cannot be told in any other medium.  I enjoy a small performance-driven conversational film like BEFORE SUNRISE and I greatly admire a claustrophobic experiment like BURIED to cite more modern examples.  But when I go to the cinema and experience the unbridled epic grandeur of something like THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY, I leave tingling and supercharged.  THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY, however cannot be dismissed as some sort of BRAVE NEW WORLD Feeley.  Audiences responded to Leone’s films not just for the operatic spectacle but because these films refreshingly rebooted the starkly delineated archetypes of good and bad from the traditional Western narrative.  Clint Eastwood isn’t “good,” per se, the protagonists and antagonists in Leone’s crumbling post-civil-war universe are all in a narrow spectrum: loners and self-serving quasi-outlaws with a slender circumstance and luck separating the good from the bad.  Leone’s America also upended the prevailing Western mythology of the American code of honor, a perspective that resonated with the growing counterculture audience of the late 60s and early 70s. Largely dismissed as pulp trash by serious-minded critics of the day, Leone’s DOLLARS trilogy were thankfully not ignored by audiences and paved the way for, among others, Sam Peckinpah, Quentin Tarantino, John Woo and of course the future career of Clint Eastwood. To this day these films make me excited to be in the cinema industry. (Tim League)

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