Monday, January 11, 2010

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid: The Ultimate Buddies

Hello, everyone, and welcome to another glorious Monday (ugh).  Why must they keep coming around?  Well, at least we have another great movie to talk about - "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" from 1969, starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford.

This movie tells the story of the friendship between two famous outlaws, Cassidy (Newman) and Sundance (Redford).  Directed seamlessly by George Roy Hill, written wonderfully by William Goldman, and shot beautifully by Conrad L. Hall, this is one of the best westerns out there.  It has even appeared on 6 of AFI's Top 10 Movie lists!

I know what you're thinking, "Wait, you're a girl! Why would you love this movie?"  Well, like I said, put a good story in front of me, no matter the genre, and I will soak it up.  And this is definitely that.  But I also have the influence of my dad and brother to thank for my excellent range of film taste.  Both of them introduced me to so many great movies when I was young and impressionable, that I think that's one of the main reasons why I can pinpoint a good movie experience.  For "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid", it was my dad mainly.  He loves to quote lines from his favorite films, and this movie contains one of the best - "Think ya used enough dynamite there, Butch?"  Just thinking about him saying it makes me giggle.  And to me, it's the little things that make films great.  So to you two, I thank you.

Now, to the movie watching experience itself, oh what a joy the first time I saw it!  I can't be exactly sure, but I think this was the first time I ever saw Paul Newman act.  If anything, it was definitely the first time I truly noticed him...and I was forever hooked by him.  He had a style that seemed so smooth and natural, so elegant, and yet just like everyone else.  When he died, I was solemnly quiet for a week, because not only had we lost one of the best actors ever, we also lost one of the most decent human beings in the world too.

Newman's chemistry with Redford is also amazing to watch.  Definitely considered one of the quintessential "buddy" movies ever, it was the beginning of some wonderful relationships.  Not only did we get to see Newman, Redford, and director George Roy Hill together again in "The Sting" (which I will be talking about more later), Hill worked with Newman again on "Slap Shot" and Redford with Hill on "The Great Waldo Pepper" (also written by William Goldman).

I love how many great lines are throughout "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" too.  Goldman wrote some great stuff, like "you just keep thinkin', Butch. That's what you're good at" and "boy, I got vision, and the rest of the world wears bifocals."  But it's also the excellent spot-on execution of the lines by Redford and Newman.  They don't say them as if they're profound or corny.  They are just words, words that these guys would have said casually.  These are some of the wonderful acting lessons that come from this movie as well.  (Click here and here to see some of these scenes.)

This was also the start of the anti-hero movement in movies.  I mean, we're cheering on the bad guys here.  This was a true sign of the times though.  Right in the middle of the Vietnam War, America was anti-establishment, anti-government, anti-rules.  Our heroes fighting against the establishment hit a chord with audiences that hasn't let go yet.

So, if you're in the mood for a little bit of the west, some anti-regulations, and one of the first true bro-mances on film, check this movie out.  You won't be sorry.

(Post-tidbit: Paul Newman did all his own bicycle stunts during the "Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head" music montage, except for the crash into the fence, which was performed by the cinematographer Conrad L. Hall...all because Newman's stunt man couldn't stay up on the bike.)

No comments:

Post a Comment