GOOD MORNING: An argument for westerns

Staff Writer
Herald Democrat
Michael Hutchins

Over the past few years, I’ve been working to expand my horizons when it comes to cinema. While I’ve made strides in opening up to new things, it is only now that I find myself opening up to genres that I never thought I’d enjoy.

It was about a year or so ago, that I pledged to try and watch as many “classic“ movies as I could. I kept the classic as lose as I possibly could to leave openings for movies of all types. In the year 2020, a movie from 1990 could be considered a modern-day classic to some.

What I didn’t expect was that I would get so many suggestions of westerns from friends who swear by the golden days of Hollywood as a standard for cinema. Needless to say, I was hesitant to give them a try.

I’ve never really enjoyed the few western films that I’ve seen over the years. In some cases, the common, shared themes and plots bled into each other to the point that one seemed to lead into the next.

This changed a bit a couple weeks ago when my small group of friends got together remotely for our weekly movie watching party. Each week, one member would recommend a movie and we will all watch at the same time and chat about it online.

For one of our recent showings, someone suggested 1992’s Unforgiven, starring Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman. For the first time, I actually go it.

In some ways, the film had the same set up as many other westerns. However, rather than seeing it as a simple story, it felt more that the film was simple for the sake of not complicating and convoluting the overarching themes of the nature of violence and the past, among others.

I know that westerns as a genre are quite broad, but I finally found out that I got and understood on multiple levels. Perhaps I need to reevaluate my stance on westerns. That, or try a few more to see what works for me.

Happy birthday to Tammy Custer of Sherman and Chris Bell and Gracelynn Bell, both of Gainesville.