So… I saw this event starting up and couldn’t resist at least filling out the tag. 🤠 I have a fondness for Westerns, ever since watching Gary Cooper in Along Came Jones (yeah, the comedy) and having my expectations turned upside down. The rest, as they say, is history!
1) Western movies or western TV shows? – Both but probably TV shows a bit more. My favorite is The Virginian, and I also enjoyed Wagon Train, Gunsmoke, and some of those other oldies.
2) Funny westerns or dramatic westerns? – There’s really nothing more epic than a dramatic Western… but I really love a good funny one. Or a serious Western with well-written comic relief. Let’s just say funny, to keep it simple.
3) Westerns that focus on loners or westerns that focus on families? – I’m a sucker for the loner plotlines a la John Wayne, but I’d have to give the edge to families. Recently I rewatched The Searchers, and while the story was a bit too depressing, I thought the family relationships were interestingly complex. I also loved the father-daughter dynamic in News of the World. In general, I appreciate stories that feature families.
4) Male-centric westerns or female-centric westerns? – I haven’t heard of many female-centric Westerns… any recommendations?!
5) 1930s to 1960s westerns or 1970s to 2020s westerns? – 30s to 60s for sure!
6) Westerns that take place in America or westerns that take place internationally? – Others have mentioned The Magnificent Seven (1960, Mexico), which I enjoyed. I also really liked Nostromo (1996), a Western-like adaptation of the Joseph Conrad novel that takes place in South America. Overall, though, I’d have to say America.
7) Family-friendly Westerns or edgier Westerns? – I’ve seen a couple of Clint Eastwood classics…while I respect what he did for the Western genre, it’s not really my cuppa. 😆 I want to like edgy Westerns, I just haven’t seen one I enjoyed yet.
8) Straightforward good guy or conflicted hero? – I have a thing for conflicted characters, like Ryker from The Virginian, whose life seems to be a series of moral dilemmas (not least of which, deciding which side of the law he wants to be on).
9) Historically accurate Westerns or Westerns that aren’t afraid to take some creative liberties? – Hm, I’m going to say “both”… I think the Western is a vast genre that doesn’t have to be written off as archaic, but ought to be continued with nuanced stories and respectful representations of minorities. If written well, this could bridge the gap of both historical accuracy and creative liberty.
10) Bittersweet or happily-ever-after endings? – Probably bittersweet, like The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.