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August 1994


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
"Leroy, Marc" <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 30 Aug 1994 14:43:00 PDT
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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     I was wondering if anyone else out there had the same reaction that I
did to the fact that Tombstone was so acclaimed and Wyatt Earp so disdained.
 First of all, I was shocked to see Wyatt Earp declared a failure; It kept
me, one who avoids westerns in general, engrossed for the entire three hour
run.  There were shortcomings, no doubt, but when compared to the
fake-moustache and pin-eyed glare of Kurt Russell's Earp and the cheesy,
way-too-predictable storyline of Tombstone, Costner made an epic.
     Just compare the characters for a moment: Russell on his best day
couldn't make a convincing Wyatt, because never get to know who he is.
 Costner spends the first half of the movie on this, and makes his audience
understand and care for the characters.  When people start dying in
Tombstone, do we care?  I don't think so.  But I saw many a teary eye in
Wyatt Earp when characters died.
     Cinematography isn't even an issue.  Costner has proven his control of
the landscape in movie after movie, and he doesn't let us down here.
 Tombstone has nothing worth mentioning.
     Draw the screenplays out, side by side.  Again, no comparison.
 Tombstone just can't get you into the characters, while Earp can't keep you
out of them.  I laughed my way through Tombstone, and only cried because it
was so bad.
     I am perplexed.  Someone please explain this to me.  Was it all a
matter of timing?  That seems to be Tombstone's only edge.  If so, why the
negative criticism of Earp and the critical praise of Tombstone?  Any new
perspectives are greatly appreciated.
Marc L.E. Leroy
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"L'examen bienveillant et grave, quelle force!  N'apportons point la flamme
la ou la lumiere suffit." - Victor Hugo,  _Les Miserables_