Friday, December 31, 2010

LONESOME DOVE (1989) - Simon Wincer

This six-hour Larry McMurtry western miniseries is ALL DUVALL. It's easy to see why he says in interviews it's his favorite performance/movie, even topping the two Godfathers. Though its cast list reads like a "holy shit they're in this!" roll call of now-great actors, the movie rides squarely on the old Virginian's back. His Gus McCrae is hands-down the most charismatic presence in a movie chock-full full of extremely watchable thesps--Chris Cooper, Steve Buscemi, Danny Glover, Anjelica Huston, Glenne Headly, William Sanderson, just to name a few. It's no surprise that Duvall's performance towers over Rick Schroeder's, but Tommy Lee Jones too?

That said, this is still an '80s made-for-TV miniseries and feels like it much of the time. You stick around for the performances, but your eyes and brain tend to drift because the plot and direction are a little too leisurely, even for though those gorgeous Texas/Montana vistas. Just make sure you're alert for the scene where 100 water moccasins descend on a dude's face while crossing a river. It's a humdinger.

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