Sunday, June 08, 2014

A Million Ways to Die in the West

By Lorraine Breazeale

"A Million Ways To Die In The West" dies in the first fifteen minutes. The script (only because that's what the producer/director/oh yeah! "writer" insists on calling it) probably was retrieved from the school dumpster after getting an F grade as a high school junior theater arts class project.

Get a load of this: the opening scene pathetically tries to plagiarize High Noon but falls flat on its face (oh—wait a minute! Seth MacFarlane does, too!! Isn’t that just HILARIOUS??). The very audience the movie is supposed to be targeting never even HEARD of High Noon! So did the great and powerless Seth MacFarlane break the first rule of scriptwriting? Know your audience and be true to them? The set they used for this was probably a hijacked back lot at some abandoned studio—no, wait a minute! Come to think of it, they used the fake town from Blazing Saddles! That’s where I’ve seen it before! Plagiarism strikes again! It was obvious the producer/director/writer put blood, sweat and beers into the long, arduous fifteen minutes it took him to write it, produce it, shoot it, and…woops, out of time, so no editing. Every lousy scene in the first 15 minutes was at least 4 times longer than it had to be to torture us unmercifully, and only two of them even advanced the story—the others were MacFarlane pandering to convince everyone how comical he is. So I just kept waiting patiently for him to start being funny.

So here is this movie set in the “old West of 1882” using all of the vocabulary, trendy slang and twenty-first century political-correct slur they could scoop up out of downtown Burbank and dump into it. Which begs the question—why was it set in the old West? Why not “A Million Ways To Die In Somalia”? Or “A Million Ways To Die In The Stone Age”? Or “A Million Ways To Die In Medieval England?” Uh-oh. I think I just gave MacFarlane solid ideas for three sequels. No, not REAL sequels! That would be fifteen more minutes of work! No, just every time in the script it says “the West” change it to “Somalia” or “Stone Age” or “Dark Ages”. Microsoft Word will even do that for him.

We walked out of the theater after fifteen minutes. Bye-bye, $35. So do you think it’s a sucky movie or this is a sucky review? Cast your vote at the box office.