Ed. Note: In “Give it to Jeremy — He’ll Watch Anything,” Jeremy blindly selects a movie from the Netflix “Random Picks” section, watches it, and records his reaction. It’s arbitrary. It’s chaos. It’s awesome. Warning: Spoilers.
Here is the Random Picks palette with which I was presented last week (by the way, if you’re looking for this section yourself, it’s typically just below Recently Watched, but often it’s not there at all, so check the next day if you don’t see it):
I was tempted to keep scrolling to the right, but man, the cover art on that first movie looked too bad-ass to pass up. (Ok, “Miffy’s Birthday” was pretty tempting, too.) I love it because it is very obviously from a past era. How often do we see elaborate illustrations like that on movie covers these days?
The details for Roy Colt and Winchester Jack sealed the deal and got it on My List (I am unfamiliar with the stars and director; also, treasure map):
“After ending their partnership with a fistfight, two outlaws become rivals when one of them gets his hands on a treasure map leading to buried gold.”
Netflix on the PS3 says: “Seeking something goofy with hints of raunchy? Your search is over.” I think there’s been a misunderstanding. I was searching for Roy Colt and Winchester Jack. Have you seen them? I was expecting something more like, “Seeking something adventurous with hints of grit? Your search (for gold) is just beginning.”
THE FIST FIGHT! It’s already happening! During the credits! No dialogue, no prelude, just roll from generic Western scenery straight to fist fighting.
Uh oh. This is in Italian? With English subtitles? Some will argue that I could have guessed this from the year (1970) and the director (Mario Bava) and the genre (Western), but come on. Who reads a title like Roy Colt and Winchester Jack and thinks, “Oh, good, a classic Italian Western.”
After two full minutes of wondering if I should jump ship and randomly select a movie in English, I’ve hitched up my britches and resolved to stick with it. There’s no skipping a Random Pick! Give it to me, I’ll watch anything!
Excuse me. Is that fellow making monkey sounds while shooting to pieces an old man’s wooden crutches? Yes, yes he is.
Yeah, I’m definitely sticking with this movie.
Confession: I’m missing a lot of dialogue. If I were quality control right now, you’d have a band-aid in your cereal.
I should mention at this point that the movie picture on my TV has about three inches of black on all sides. It’s a little bit like watching a movie through a keyhole. I don’t know why it’s this way. But whatever the explanation, it’s probably more interesting than whatever is happening within the movie right now.
It occurs to me that I complained earlier about a movie set in the American West having Italian dialogue. I do realize that American movies have people speaking English all over the world, in all different eras, don’t I?
This feels like a major plot line: The Indian girl (Manila) wants Winchester to marry her; until she does, he needs to pay for sex. This also feels uncomfortable.
I’m getting confused a lot, but I don’t think it’s just the subtitles. It’s also just a bad movie.
Part of the problem is the dramatic jump-cuts. And lack of any setting. And clumsy attempts at back story for each major character.
We’ve been introduced to a new villain, the Reverend:
We know he’s a bad guy because he’s furious about being served soda pop instead of whiskey. We know he’s furious because he can’t make dynamite unless he’s calm. We know he can’t be calm if he’s furious.
“Your mother’s a slut!”
Shame on you, Reverend.
“By the Czar of all Russias!” Well done, Reverend. I’m stealing that exclamation.
“This movie is bonkers. That cut was so quick.” Amanda just showed up, re-affirming my thoughts so far.
“First he tortures his prisoners, then he blows them up.” Colt gives us more insight into the psyche of the Reverend. He’s starting to feel like the Italian Western Joker.
Amanda is literally on the floor after a joke that is much funnier that it was originally meant to be:
The comedic timing in this movie is nothing short of insane.
A taste of the movie’s dialogue subtlety: Colt, the presumed hero at this point, considers whether he’s the man for the job: “But I know only somebody like me can pull this off.”
So there I was. Watching a clumsy brawl scene, maybe daydreaming a bit, seeing the subtitles but not really reading them, wondering how I’ll write about something so bad. And then it happened: The Reverend, whom we last saw in bed with a fever, sat straight up in bed, picked up a stick of dynamite in one hand, then pulled out a pistol with the other hand, and shot the wick of the dynamite to light it.
I don’t want to overstate this, but that was the most amazing thing that has ever happened or will ever happen to my life.
A quick note about our friend the Reverend, who I’m quickly realizing is the secret star of the movie: He is from Russia. He’s made a lot of references to it, but I just thought he was insane.
To be fair, he did recently say the words, “Only dynamite keeps me warm.”
“FINE PRIMO TEMPO”
It seems Italian movies have acts. Acts that end with a raucous bout of insane laughter from the Reverend.
I have a sneaking suspicion that some of the “hint of raunchy” just went right over my head. I need to bone up on my Italian innuendo, circa 1970.
Hot tip: A fast-moving camera in this movie means one of two things: We’re about see someone’s face up close, or we’re about to be abruptly taken away to another scene.
Hot tip II: The next time you expect someone to shoot a pistol inches from your face, be sure to carry a handkerchief:
That was one of the most ridiculous six minutes of film I’ve ever seen. I don’t think it’s even worth describing. Or ever seeing again. Just know that it involves a place called Wimpy City and the Reverend shouting, “Ambush in the whorehouse??”
Some amazing dialogue here while Manila holds a pistol to Colt’s face.
“Is it true what you said yesterday? That you love me?”
“More than my horse.”
“If I don’t kill you, will you marry me?”
Where in America does the desert (complete with towering red rocks and cacti) bump up directly with the ocean?
There is an awful lot of fist-fighting for a movie called Roy Colt and Winchester Jack. And I do mean awful.
The Reverend is the most fascinating character I’ve seen in a very long time. He’s been freezing cold for much of the movie, and I think I finally got that it — and his constant references to missing Siberia — is a silly on-going joke? Or maybe he’s just still suffering from fever. I truly do not know. It’s entertaining, I do know that.
More Reverend amazingness:
Manila: “You like women, don’t you?”
Reverend: “If it hadn’t been for women, I’d be the Pope of all of Russia. 20 years in the seminary, I’m very devoted. And devoted to women, of course.”
I’m ready for the Reverend to get his own TV show at this point. Here’s my pitch: Every week, shoot an episode of another TV show with the Reverend dropped in as a character. As himself.
“Tonight, the Criminal Minds unit has 24 hours to stop a Siberian with a love for dynamite… and women.”
“Next week, the Reverend takes a break from running for mayor of Pawnee to share a whiskey with Ron Swanson.”
I’m getting goosebumps.
I’m going to attempt to describe the most amazing, terrible direction and cinematography ever. Close-up of the Reverend stabbing his shovel into the ground. Then jump-cut to… the Reverend. Now he’s just standing there. In the same spot? Somewhere else? We have no idea, because the camera is still so close that we can only see him and the sky. The camera moves herky-jerky down his body, slowly turns, and reveals… that his henchmen have been digging for a very long time now. Oh. Ok.
Roy Colt and Winchester Jack is a pretty good name for this movie, but here’s a better one: The Reverend Is Amazing So Just Sit Down Shut Up And Watch Him.
After having his two henchmen get all of the gold out of the hole, the Reverend manages to trick them both back into the hole, and then what does he do? Of course: he tosses in a stick of dynamite and cackles like a maniac. This guy is the best.
Amanda: “He’s like a cartoon bandit.”
Here’s what film-goers came for, of course: More fist-fighting between Colt and Winchester. More like brawling. More like rolling around on the ground. (Spoiler: Manila won.)
Amanda: “This is the best thing all of Italy has ever given us.”
Clearly, this movie was not what I was expecting. But, looking back, Netflix was actually pretty accurate: “Seeking something goofy with hints of raunchy?” I don’t know about raunchy, but “goofy” is mostly dead-on. What an insane mess.
Should you see it? Halfway through watching it (probably during one of the surprisingly boring gunfights), I pre-wrote this section and suggested that no, you shouldn’t waste your time. But you know what? The Reverend changed my mind. If you’ve read this far, you know what to expect from this movie, and if you’re in the right mood, it can absolutely be hilarious.
I’ll be drawing down on another Random Pick soon. Stay tuned, and viva il Reverendo!
Previously: Hard Times.