Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford


I wish I could remember why I rented this one. I don’t like Brad Pitt—though he’s been good now and then—and I’m sick to death of stories about the superstars of the Old West. Many of them have been portrayed over and over as heroes, but most were scumbags. I speak not only of the entire scumbag James Gang, and Billy the Kid, and outlaws like that, but of the entire scumbag Earp family. (The TV series sings of Wyatt as “Brave courageous and bold.” My ass!) Oh, well, I guess I’d hoped there might be some interesting new angle here. I recalled that one of my favorite westerns of all time is The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid, where Robert Duvall and especially Cliff Robertson as Cole Younger had a whole new take on the material. And the reviews were pretty good. Alas, The Assassination of Jesse James is one of the most boring and pretentious movies of the last decade. Some were enthralled by the commentary it is supposed to have made on the culture of celebrity, and saw Bob Ford as a stalker, like the asshole who loved and killed John Lennon. Some raved about the homosexual overtones. Me, I simply couldn’t keep my eyes open. I got to the 45 minute mark and was nodding off. Lee was asleep already. I realized I had two more hours to go. I ejected it. End of story.