"Hi-Lo Country" is a western movie made for dumb girls who read "Us" magazine and like pretty-boy actors in chaps, gay men who like pretty-boy actors in chaps, and folks who are both deaf and blind. It is not for anyone wanting entertainment. It's a very serious, boring, shitty movie.
Billy Crudup is a cowboy who befriends with Woody Harrelson. They both leave their small New Mexico ranches to fight in World War II, then they come back. Back in New Mexico, the friends fight against a cattle baron (Sam Elliott) who is taking over all the land. Meanwhile, they pine after the same married woman (Patricia Arquette). Crudup has a beautiful little Mexican señorita (Penelope Cruz) that he is supposed to love, but he can't because he's too preoccupied with Arquette's big boobies and crooked teeth.
Well, Harrelson nails Arquette before Crudup has a chance. Everyone in town knows it, including her husband (John Diehl). Crudup is jealous, but this is his best friend, so he has to fight his own feelings to stand up for Harrelson as the shit hits the fan.
It's a simple enough story, and one that's been told about a hundred times. So, why does Stephen Frears direct this story like it's some big deal? Because he's a fucking limey and he creams his jeans when he thinks about how romantic and rugged westerns are. He wanted to make a big, dramatic movie first, and a decent movie second. The whole cowboy melodrama is played out likes some God damned "Masterpiece Theater." Except the acting is cheesier.
I admire that they tried to make a big, important movie without a retard that changes someone's life in it. But, it sure would have been nice to have had a story with tension and interesting characters to go along with all the dramatic scenery and way-over-the-top musical score.
The movie is hurt by its uninspired cast. All the pretty boy actors are so Goddamned excited about being dressed up like cowboys and riding horses that that's all they do. Billy Crudup stands around showing off how good he looks, but he's too fucking stupid to actually try to act and look good. Woody Harrelson just goes around overacting and beaming like a freakin' moron with new dental implants. Both of those sons of bitches should go work at Knott's Berry Farm where they can pretend they're cowboys every fucking day.
In the meantime, the only person that is even remotely convincing is Sam Elliott as the cattle baron. He gives a subtle performance and stays in the background, afraid to get too close in case Harrelson's overacting is contagious.
Shit happens with no bearing on the story. Crudup and Harrelson go off to war. They come back and then the story starts. Nothing is ever said about the war and it doesn't change them. Why bother putting that part in? Fuck if I know. One of Crudup and Harrelson's enemies has a heart attack and dies. It makes no fucking difference to the story, but the moviemakers subject us to it anyway. Crudup almost dies in a blizzard, but then he is fine and nothing's changed. And the list goes on and on. It makes for some boring screen time. Lots of shit that you don't care about and that is unrelated to anything else.
The movie has four parts: cattle-drives, drinking, fighting, and pining for womenfolk, in redundant cycles. I have a couple problems with this. First, I bet them real cowboys did more than that. Second, every part has been done better and more believably by people I think might have actually survived in the West. People like Clint Eastwood, John Wayne, Lee Marvin or Jane Seymour. Not these frilly, sissy actors loping around mussing up their hair.
It's all cliches. In fact, somewhere in "Hi-Lo Country" is the federally-mandated poker game, with the predictable ending of one great hand being beaten by an even greater hand. That scene, like the movie, had about as much tension in it as my limp dick.
I could list more problems with this leaden dogshit, but I
won't. I don't want to make all those pretty boys stop thinking
their cowboys and start bawling like babies. I imagine they got
some feelings under their fancy cowboy hats. Two fingers for