A Movie. A Day. A Year. Day 2: A Million Ways to Die in the West

There’s going to be a lot of comedy in the first few entries on this blog. I suffer from depression, and watching a comedy is enough to help me get by. However, my taste from comedy goes from raunchy to cerebral. I just want to laugh, get a little hit of dopamine and trudge along. Enough of that, let’s look at my next offering.

A Million Ways the Die in the West is not by any stretch of the imagination in the cerebral side of things. It is a Seth MacFarlane production, but I must add this as a disclaimer: I only am familiar with Seth MacFarlane through The Orville and clips from Family Guy and the odd American Dad picture that creeps up on Facebook.

This has the solid imprint of a MacFarlane production. Sight gags, crude humor and throw-away gags by the bushel.

Having said that – I love this film. I love it for the ending – the clever guys can get the girl, the bad guy gets hoisted by his own petard and it’s better to trip with people than trip alone. All of that squeezed into two hours and a post credit scene that demonstrates the kind of star power that Seth can attract.

No one points this out. Look at all the actors who joined his film: Neil Patrick-Harris, Charlize Theron, Liam Neeson and a cameo from Jamie Foxx. Several of these people have also appreaed in The Orville, but just think about it. He can pick up the phone and get some mega-watt talent. How is that, you might ask?

He can take two things that can seem at odds: heart-warming and raunchy, and make it work. The Orville isn’t by far as clean as other things, but it definitely hearkens back to the early seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation and shows his dedication as a fan of the series.

Sorry for the side track, I should be talking about the movie.

MacFarlane made a character in that moive that we all can identify with: the hapless good guy. Sure, at first, he’s a little whiny which gives the movie its title. We can understand it because all of the other Western tropes are dialed up to 25. The Hooker with the Heart of Gold refuses to sleep with her boyfriend simply because they’re not married, and the Boyfriend goes along with it. The Bad Guy gives his target and an invitation to a shoot-out, but he breaks his own rules in the process (which comes back to bite him in the end). As a comedy, it’s politely subversive and as a Western it’s a stereotype that celebrates the genre’s excesses while skewering them.

All in all – if you haven’t seen this movie, I recommend it. Wait for the post-credit scene, it is worth it.

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