There was one review for A Million Ways to Die in the West that I think sums it up perfectly. It was written by Jason Bailey, and it expresses disappointment in the fact that Seth MacFarlane must feel so trapped by his work on Family Guy. He must feel so trapped by the culture of pop references and crude humor that he himself created. It’s made him millions, sure. But it may have trapped him for life, simply because he now has to worry about upsetting the section of his fans that love him for that work. He can’t just write his heart out and try to make something good. He has to plug in the crude jokes, even if they drag everything else down. What a shame.
The gist: Seth MacFarlane plays Albert, one of the “regular folks” we never really see in those old Western movies. He doesn’t like living in the West. He hates the fact that there’s danger everywhere, and that people feel the need to prove how tough they are on a regular business. The only reason he stays around is his Bo Peep lookalike girlfriend Louise—who promptly dumps him for the wealthy owner of the moustache hair care product store.
Enter Anna, a mysterious woman who happens to be an incredible shot. Turns out she’s the wife of the dangerous outlaw Cinch Leatherwood, and is only staying around Albert’s dinky town to avoid the worst of the danger. She and Albert become bros, and end up kissing once. Feelings are happening! But then Leatherwood comes around, and Albert is forced to act like a real hero. In front of both ladies for which he cares about, a.k.a. every dude’s worst nightmare.
What I “learned”: This movie should have been great, because we are ripe for a new take on the Western genre. We are ripe for it, because it feels like one of the last genres America hasn’t really done anything with in the last three decades.
The exception, of course, is Django Unchained. But that movie’s all over the place, and doesn’t quite capture the feeling of renewal and location-bound action as a stereotypical Western. We haven’t seen the lily-white Westerns of old challenged yet. This movie should have been that, but it wasn’t. Which is a real shame, because the idea is great.
See this movie if you like: Comedy movies that you can just lay back and relax while watching. You could probably surf the web or play on your Playstation Vita while this movie’s on and be completely fine. Just pay attention whenever Frank Jr. or Django is on screen. That stuff’s great.
Avoid this movie if: You’re looking for a long and slow Western film. That’s typically the pace taken in Western movies to match the scenery. That works, because it meanders in the best way. But if you’re going into this movie looking for that, you’ll be grinding your teeth. This movie’s slow, but it also tries to be a punchy comedy. It will grind on your nerves the entire time.
New Films Watched: 47
Films Re-Watched: 2
Total Number of Films: 49
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