#1141 Pale Rider (1985)

Often dubbed as the best western of the 80s, Pale Rider reintroduces Clint Eastwood as the mysterious drifter with no past.

It’s a role Eastwood was born to play and the thirteen something years since his last western movie have only given him more charism. The movie and especially Eastwood’s work on the screen is delightful to watch, especially the way he is much more comfortable here than, say, in the stinker that was his previous movie.

Pale Rider does not revolutionise in the genre, nor does it set out to do so. On the contrary; it offers exactly what western fans wanted, and does so with a solid, fresh feeling way, coupled with top notch and modern (compared to the earlier decades) production values. And as such it’s a winner of an action movie.

80s-o-meter: 51%

Total: 87%

#1122 Silverado (1985)

A tale of misfit scoundrels with a heart of gold, Silverado joins Pale Rider, Young Guns and The Long Riders as one of the most essential western movies of the 80s.

This is very much a romantic, Hollywoodian take on the western, and takes place in some alternative reality where even the hookers look like immaculate fashion models, but I dig the way the movie totally embraces its approach and does not even try to represent itself as being historically accurate in any way.

While one could make a case for Silverado to being unrealistic, they’d be hard pressed to ever calling it boring.

80s-o-meter: 45%

Total: 77%

#1101 Rustlers’ Rhapsody (1985)

A comedy that lampoons the cowboy movies of the 30s and 40s Rustlers’ Rhapsody is a delightful little western adventure – as long as you mostly forget about the lampooning part. Why? Well, it’s not very topical subject pick fun of. The film makers were apparently aware of this so they’ve chosen to carefully point out and underline what they’ve parodied, which helps for the frame of reference, but also robs the viewer the joy of making any connections themselves.

Also, what little I know of those movies, the parody here seems something of a hit and miss.

Luckily Rustlers’ Rhapsody is a movie that’s enjoyable even without the frame of reference: It’s a likeable little fairytale like good vs bad story where the good still wins, always.

80s-o-meter: 41%

Total: 65%

#1048 The Legend of the Lone Ranger (1981)

Western movies were quite a craze starting from the 30s all the way to the 60s, after which they fell out of style in the 70s. The Legend of the Lone Ranger was an attempt to bring back Lone Ranger – the masked wild west hero that made his original debut already in the 30s – to the Star Wars generation.

It did not go down well. But then again, it wasn’t a valiant effort to start with.

Cinematography wise the movie looks like it belongs way to the past and its clearly not positioned right for its target audience: The film is much too violent for the youngsters and much too childish and lame for the grown ups. It takes ages for the Lone Ranger to appear and while the movie picks up the pace towards the end, it’s just too little, too late.

80s-o-meter: 24%

Total: 31%

#982 The Long Riders (1980)

I’m usually not into westerns, but I found The Long Riders interesting and actually a pretty decent movie. It’s because it is in reality more of a biography that just happens to take place in wild west era rather than an actual western with all the tired clichés that go with the genre.

The movie documents the life of Jesse James and Cole Younger, and their outlaw gang that performed a number of robberies in Missouri and in the surrounding states. And it does so with just a little glamouring the criminal lifestyle and the imaginary code of honour that goes with it. The movie de-mythologizes the often told story and James, Younger and their brothers are depicted like they were, ranchers and farmers who had families and children, and who’d go do a robbery and later celebrate a successful heist in a bar enjoying whisky and prostitutes. Sure, the movie somewhat demonises the Pinkertons, but does it only to give some viewpoints why the general opinion and the books and movies might’ve been so sympathetic to the outlaw gang rather than taking the side of the detective agency.

One of the best known about aspects of the movie is how an actual sets of actor brothers are cast to portray the family members in the movie and as gimmicky as that sounds it actually works out beautifully and even without giving it any thought the connection between the brothers works on a deeper level than only the pictures can tell.

80s-o-meter: 72%

Total: 85%

#941 Halloween 2018: Scream (1981)

Tourists run amok in an abandoned western ghost town, getting put away one by one in Scream, a sorry excuse for a movie.

What we have here is a totally effortless exercise that looks and feels like it’s been shot in a location in one day. It’s even bad in the usually poor slasher genre, unable to make any of the kills memorable. Forget about seeing some first class FX work here, due to the strict restrictions of talent and funds, what you’ll usually see is a take of an axe swinging midair, followed by a scream.

The scares consist of some very muffled and quiet dialogue followed by extremely loud noises that are enough to make you hate the movie, as well as its creators.

80s-o-meter: 55%

Total: 4%

#628 Barbarosa (1982)

Starring Willie Nelson and Gary Busey, Barbarosa is a stuffy, 60s spagetti western style movie made to idolise a fictional outlaw who goes around Mexico robbing people by gunpoint.

The thing is, I’ve never quite understood westerns – and the stuffy Barbarosa really can’t convince me otherwise.

80s-o-meter: 7%

Total: 15%