Starring: Dennis Quaid, Billy Bob Thornton, Patrick Wilson,
Jason Patric, Emilio Echevarria, and Jordi Molla.
Directed by: John Lee Hancock
speaking? In this case, forget The Alamo
Burns historical film instead. This bloated bore of a film
has the audacity to call itself an epic? Poodle poo I say! Fancy
costumes and a barrage of actors in American iconic roles does
not a masterpiece make folks.
And for those of us non-card carrying members of the American
Historical Society but whose blood flows a brilliant shade
of red-white-and-blue none-the-less this film treats us
like the "special" students in the back of the room.
It plops us down mid-way in heated turmoil over the city of San
Antonio and the future of Texas' state of union, with a kind of
"You have to know all about our fine feathered past to play"
attitude...um, no. That's why we paid to see the film bucko.
stretch to follow the rants of Sam Houston (Dennis Quaid) and
his roomful of angry men
We meet oodles of characters whose
names are a bit familiar but there's so many non-secular, uninteresting,
plots running at once even Charlie
Kaufman would get confused!
The Mexican army big cheese, Santa Anna (Emelio Echevarria)
wants San Antonio, Texas as his very own (and Mexico's). Still
don't know why exactly. The small booming town, all too familiar
with Santa Anna's attempts at domination, decide to hide in the
old missionary, The Alamo, for his latest attack. Wait. We all
know The Alamo's tale
too few men against an army and they
fight till the end rather than surrender. There's also a bit of
historical-style penis envy 'tween Santa Anna and Sam Houston.
It's the usual territory shaping brouhaha.
problem with this lollygagging tale is the lack of anything really
interesting leading up to the end. I mean there's all this droll
dialog, rude men and blasting triumphant music, but no soul. Nothing
stands out. Which is truly odd because of the real men that had
a part in this great American tragedy. Of note? Well, there was
that semi-scoundrel James Bowie (Jason Patric) who is infamous
to this day for that huge "Bowie" knife they sell at
Wal-Mart. In the film he's little more than a loud drinker, who
quickly gets bed ridden with consumption - his scenes usually
involve him gurgling lung blood and begging for booze
they give us this plastic annoying gosh-golly-willickers version
of Lt. General Travis (Patrick Wilson). The film's comic relief
(and I use that expression wafer-thinly) is left to Mr. Non-Humor,
Billy Bob Thornton, as Davy Crockett. After we settle in to the
deadpan comedic persona The Placidman conjured up, his dialog
gets all serious and smashes the Crockett myth with cruel (unnecessary)
truths - down to Crockett's dark past of noshing on American Indians.
Well, potatoes roasted in American Indians. It's just too gross
to type the scene for you - sorry. But then when his tale of the
inordinately creepy disclosure is done - and you're sitting jaw-dropped
and nauseous - you're right smack back in the middle of the snorefest,
rechecking for the welcome illumination of the theater's exit
also wasted Dennis Quaid. The tasty portion of Rocky Road flavored
man is just bouncing about half cocked and dressed like a misplaced
Dapper Dan as the egotistical Sam Houston. We're told Houston
wouldn't budge to help The Alamo till he was granted separate
territorial power, or something, for Texas - oh and he wants to
"wait" till he's gathered a few thousand men to bring
to The Alamo's rescue. So what? Houston basically let hundreds
die for his convoluted beliefs? Argh.
promised to be a manfest extravaganza complete with vintage attire,
and Texan setting, quickly became a hodge podge of boredom, bent
on smelling up of our patriotic legends, and ultimately, making
the American forefathers who held The Alamo look a bit like Asses.
Cowardness, bravery and honor all merge, and for the last thirty
minutes of the film you're vested - dare I say riveted (hence
the two star rating
.). It just took too long to get to that
momentum. And worst of all? The Alamo never really lets
us know what in the h-e double hockey sticks was going on over
there in the first place.
Recommendation: Whiskey and Bowie knifed beef tar tar.