Jeff Smith 6:35 p.m., June 27
A Closer Look at the Trailer for Blackthorn
Hoo boy - a sequel to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. If nothing else, they've got guts - almost as much guts as it must have taken Coppola to make Godfather III.
Look, I get the appeal. The pitch meeting must have been a high-concept love-fest. "What if Butch Cassidy survived that shootout down in Bolivia? One of the great Boomer icons, back from the dead! We can get Sam Shepard to play an old Paul Newman!"
And yes, I got a little thrill when I saw the modern iteration of the relentless posse from the first film:
Who are those guys?
But it didn't take long for me to start worrying that this was one more sequel/remake/reboot/update that peeled the exterior off the original like so much '70s veneer and forgot that what made the original great was actually something under the surface. In this case, a sly, smart takedown of outlaw mythology, with two impossibly handsome actors bumbling and bickering like rejects from the Apple Dumpling Gang. Sort of the opposite of this:
And the trailer's talky bits don't help matters. Here's how the thing opens: "There are two moments in a man's life. One's when he leaves home. The other's when he returns." Really? I'm not buying. However, I would have accepted, "One's when he beds his first woman. The other's when he kills his first man." Which, by the way, would have had actual resonance with the original film, since Butch never kills until his doomed attempt to go straight while hiding out down in Bolivia.
But the capper comes at the end, when Cassidy's sidekick starts speechifying: "You were dead...now you have it all: your name, your life. You're a damn legend, and here you are!"
The Butch Cassidy of William Goldman's screenplay would have left that kind of bullshit hagiography bleeding in a ditch with a smirk and a sharp remark. But not this Butch. This Butch solemnly intones, "Here I am."
Mind you, this is just a trailer. And trailers don't always tell the real story of a film. So I won't give up hope just yet. But in case things are as bad as they seem, I'd like to put out a reminder that this subject can still be revisited in a fruitful fashion...
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