Saturday, February 28, 2015

Kingsman: The Secret Service

Manners Maketh Man
"Thith Ithn't That Kind of Movie"

Kingsman: The Secret Service (the new film by Matthew Vaughn, after another comic-book series by writer Mark Millar, who also created Kick-Ass) sails along on a satirical track having jolly-good fun being a hybrid of over-the-top James Bond situations (but a bit more arch, like the series imitators) with the dour characters of John le Carre's spy novels, with some tell-tale little clues that something is desperately wrong with it.

Then, it goes disasterously south with an extended sequence where Colin Firth's Harry Hart (codename: Galahad) "berserkers" through a satirical version of the Westboro Baptist Church, killing every single bigot in some grisly fashion—he's under the influence of a signal sent by communications tycoon Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson, speaking in a comic lisp, fulfilling the villain's abnormality requirement). Hert picks his way out of the church where he's confronted by Valentine, two armed thugs, and his blade footed henchman Gazelle (Sofia Boutella). They wax philosophically over the old days of spy movies (in an earlier encounter, the line was "Give me a far-fetched theatrical film any day!"). "This is the part," says Valentine "where I'm supposed to tell you the plot, and then, rather than shoot you, I lock you away in some jail cell that you can easily escape from." He then shoots Hart in the forehead, killing him dead, dead, dead.
"This isn't that kind of movie."

I'll say. But, even while it's pointing out the logical deficiencies of its inspiration, Kingsman isn't doing anything to show any improvement over the genre (quite the opposite, in fact), and merely cements why such things shouldn't be in the hands of Vaughn (who was considered to direct Quantum of Solace, after his defining work with Daniel Craig in Layer Cake) or Quentin Tarantino (who really, really wanted to direct Casino Royale with Pierce Brosnan). Although it wants to be parts Fleming and le Carre (and even a touch of U.N.C.L.E.), it comes off as more Mike Meyers, as directed by Ken Russell (who directed The Billion Dollar Brain, a Len Deighton spy novel, which starred Kingsman's Michael Caine). It's not nearly as oafish and preening (not to mention needy) as the "Austin Powers" series, but it's also not as entertaining as that series can be at its (sometimes) best. But once the church massacre happens, you go back over the film, kicking yourself for giving it that much of a "pass", after a backwards car chase from forward-facing bobbies through thick traffic, or a sequence where Gazelle slices an assailant in half—length-wise, and Samuel jackson spicking with that silly affectation (you know the movie's a clunker if Jackson won't even play it straight).
The plot is the testing of new recruits for the Kingsmen, an elite section of the secret service, comprised of British upper-crust with stiff upper lips and weak chins. It's a bit like Hogwarts for expense account spies. Wouldn't you know it, Valentine simultaneously launches a global assault in which his telecommunications company offers free cell phone coverage and internet with a chip implant embedded in customers' necks. All the better to mind-control you with (no, not just the regular mind control with cell  phones). The purpose is to create a mass-culling of cheap-skates leaving a population of elites willing to pay an arm and a leg for access. Good idea, that, eliminating 95% of your customer base. But Valentine is a crazy idealist who sees humankind as a virus killing the planet. Of course, he hasn't given any thought to who's going to clean up the mess after his lower tier customers massacre each other.
Despite, the obvious inconsistencies in the idea—and to make a good scene, the filmmakers gloss over who has a chip and who doesn't—there are some good things throughout (the score, at its best, recalls John Barry's early Bond work).  But, they're undermined by the snarky nastiness, especially in the film's final section with cell-phones users under the influence trying to kill each other, and the chosen elite having their heads explode in weirdly pop-art animated explosions that form Busby Berkley patterns. It recalls the last of the 60's spy-films, the unfunny chaos of the 1967 comedy version of Casino Royale, rather than any legitimate Bond film (What? No ninja's?) It's a bloody mess.
To Vaughn, it might recall the hey-day of the 60's spy era.

But, this ill-mannered little spoof isn't that kind of movie.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Fifty Shades of Grey

Grey's Anatomy
"OK, Where the Hell Did You Put the Key to the Handcuffs?"

So, okay, how is it?  

Short answer: surprisingly not bad. Certainly not as bad as I thought it would be. With this sort of material, the result can either be ludicrous or hilarious, evoking contempt or snickers. Fifty Shades of Grey did neither. Nor (boys), did it turn me on, in any way, shape or form.

But, also, it was not what I expected. Fifty Shades of Grey is a variation of the Harlequin Romance (of which I've never been a fan), a soft-core modern version of the Princess fairy tales, albeit with whips and bondage (didn't all those handsome princes live in castles and all of them had dungeons?). The Harlequins have a standard road map that is well-trod: capable but insecure woman finds herself in new surroundings, encounters a male of the species, capable but secure—that is, until he encounters this woman of said species. The two then cross paths in which they meet, engage, disengage, trade doubts, insecurities, and misunderstandings of each other and themselves until circumstances are made understandable and the road to romance is removed of barriers, mental and physical. FSoG follows this pattern, but (evidently) does so over three books, with ever-increasing complications that seem to have come from American soap operas. No doubt, the film-makers will split the third into two movies, padding it out with dwarves and protracted battles involving giant beasts.  

Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson), virginal student at Wazzu (Vancouver Branch—you know it's some kind of fairy tale, as there aren't any virgins at Wazzu) does her journalism student room-mate (going to the Edward R. Murrow School of Communications?) a favor by driving to Seattle* to interview young business tycoon Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan). It's never made clear what he is a tycoon of, but his office artwork suggests it has something to do with pandas or inkblots. All of his office workers appear to be Hitchcock blondes, right down to the gray suits.
Steele and Grey (notice the names—they're meant to be together) meet cute—she trips and face plants upon first entering his clean minimalist office (we're spared his quipping "Thanks for dropping in...") and the interview begins. She, of course, doesn't have a pen (or a laptop?—she's an English major, for godssake!) He gives her one with no snarky or suggestive comments. 

Grey is intense (you can tell because Dornan keeps his eyes creepily wide and locked like they were super-glued in his skull) and he often derails the interview with persistent questions (he is the one being interviewed) like about Anastasia's major: "What made you an English major—Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy or Charlotte Bronte?" If she were a real English major, she would have replied "What's the difference?" But give Grey points for being comfortable in his own fictional milieu.
He's sensitive (he really, really is) and he'd like to make you MORE sensitive
This is why I liked FSoG (of all the movies I saw this week, despite their pedigree)—it's smart enough to know it's dumb, it knows the genre, knows the tropes, and tosses in some nice visual sub-text to enhance it (that pen, the overabundance of flying scenes, the use of elevators, especially doors, for sexual metaphor). For the visual touches, credit Sam Taylor-Johnson (she made the quite good "Young John Lennon" bio-pic Nowhere Boy) for having fun with the material and lightening up her actors; Johnson is your typical awkward Cinderella, but not enough to evoke derision from the audience, and her character has a significant spine, and Dornan does eventually warm up and finds some casual humor in his scenes with her, but still suffers from disconnect when he has to express any ardor. His is the part of the "unknowable" man of mystery (which is romance-speak for your typically inconsistent male), although what's really unknowable is how he came to be more neurotic than Steele.** That is a bit refreshing, as it upends the traditional fairy tale so that the maiden saves the prince (or I'm giving the writer too much credit), rather than him trapping her in his castle...and, you know, dungeons?
Give the movie points, though, for having some fun with this stuff. For instance, Grey, once he targets Steele as a potential "partner" draws up a non-disclosure agreement ("no talking" and presumably—like most NDA's—she can't get in a relationship with anyone for a year after they break up) and a Terms and Conditions contract in which limits are set before entering into any sort of agreement. This sets up a mock-serious "Business Meeting" that is hilarious in its dialogue, before getting down to brass tacks (no, those aren't used) and the movie turns serious-serious with misunderstandings and mixed signals.
But, one wonders how all of this started.*** Is bondage "play" that popular, or is it just a thrill to read about it, like vampire novels and zombie shows. Does anyone buy into the pain-for-pleasure garbage (which is a given in "The Story of O" and "Emmanuelle" movies) which sounds like just a defense tactic for NFL abuse charges. Violence against women turns my stomach, especially if it's done "for love." This causes the movie to fall apart in the last twenty minutes or so, over a misunderstanding over the T's and C's, and the reality of just what they entail.
I can't be too delicate about the details: Steele and Grey agree to a spanking session with a belt. She says "yes." He re-iterates the "safe" words when she wants to stop—"yellow" for when things get too rough and "red" when she wants to stop. They begin, her counting off the blows (there are 13). It is, of course, traumatic and they stop. Grey tries to comfort her and she turns on him: "Don't you touch me!" The "relationship" breaks up over this.  
For him, it's a case of confusion—she had the "safe" words and didn't use them. For her, it's not confusing at all—yes, she had the "safe" words and (yes) she agreed to it, acquiesced to it (for whatever reason) but expected him to stop of his own volition, empathy, or conscience. He would have stopped (presumably) if she used the "safe" word, but she expects him to read her mind, her mood, her tears, and "be the man," and do the right thing. At least, the thing that would require him to man up and think beyond himself. Perhaps too much for her to expect given his proclivities, but you see where this is going. She's trying to "save" him from his indulgences, maiden to prince, and bring him to a normalcy. But, the first round is a big "fail," and she exits through those shuttering elevator doors, a clear visual "no" as the movies can present. The situation is unseemly, but I like that the character makes that choice, however too-optimistic her expectations may be. You find positive messages in all sorts of weird places.
And (if I may be indulged) can I venture to critique Grey's technique (beyond the kinky stuff)? There's no finesse, no foreplay, no interaction, it's just too direct and ham-fisted. His spanking (with hands) has no snap to it. Nothing has any "snap" to it. Verdict: the movie Christian Grey is no fun in bed. If I were her, I'd throw his own (borrowed) line back at him.

"Laters, baby."
* Well, it's Seattle in the aerial shots—you can tell because it's gray and traffic-jammed—the rest of it was filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Seattle's cheaper stand-in, as downtown Seattle doesn't have any curved streets, but is on a strict, though slightly cattywampus grid, and because Anastasia is able to find actual parking on the street.

** Apparently, given the next two books in the series, it's because he is less than neurotic or vengefully insane than everybody else in the world.

*** It started as "Twilight" fan-fiction, evidently, that was posted to a site for such things (until author Stephanie Meyer asked for it to be removed), then, after characters and situations altered in a comprehensive re-write, made it's way to e-books and self-publishing before become a phenom'.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Oscar...Oscar...Oscar (2015)

"It's nothing but a goddamn meat parade."
George C. Scott

Over the years, I've become convinced that there's only one thing more tedious than watching the annual Oscar telecast, and that's listening to complaints about it. Back "in the day" when it was the only game on the tube, it was a big deal—a glitzy gala with stars you never saw except in the rarefied atmosphere of a movie theater. Now there are a gazillion awards shows (I'm sure someone at this very moment is trying to peddle The Writer's Guild Awards to Bravo) and the stars are omnipresent on both social and anti-social media, a move that may seem to bring them a little closer to 'the people" but actually makes them a little less special. The result is the show and what it contains now produces a reaction that can be summed up by the half-a-word "meh.." We can now see the Oscars for what it really is—the movie version of a gold-watch dinner, crowded out by a glut of imitators, and competing with our own memory of it being better...somehow. There is no way it can shine as it once did, as there's so much glare from the light pollution around it.

It can still surprise—the Lady Gage performance of 'hits" from The Sound of Music showcased her versatility and ability to handle standards, while still staying true to her arch persona—her campaign to reach a broader audience (including recording a disc of duets with Tony Bennett) is paying off gang-busters.
I can't kick about the awards. When you play the parlor game of picking the winners, I've long ago accepted there are the ones you want to win and the ones that are probably going to win. This year I preferred The Grand Budapest Hotel—although a bunch of the Best Picture nominees were on my "good" list this year, but I figured either Boyhood or Birdman would win, surprised that they even managed to get nominated for Best Picture.

Neil Patrick Harris (or as I call him Dr. Doogie Horrible) was a good host, sneaking in snarky little "inside" jokes, but folks who've seen him host other awards shows might have found him tepid. It's tough to bring lightness to the Oscar elephant as there's so much tradition and self-reverential pomposity that any host would have difficulty levitating it. Of the past few hosts (and it's got to be among the hardest jobs in show business) Ellen Degeneres' deliberate goofiness seems to lighten things up and deflate the ceremony and make it more of a party. That's as it should be; they're in the entertainment industry, after all.
Alexandre Desplat, the best of the modern day film composers, won for Best Score (he had a 2 in 5 chance), Disney won the animation categories (for Feast and Big Hero 6), The Grand Budapest Hotel won most of the "technicals" except for sound (split between Whiplash for mixing and American Sniper for editing, both good choices), the actor awards, as they seem to be every year, were "locks" (although every year there's a surprise—not this year). Most won for pushing the comfort zones of both performers and audiences (and Julianne Moore has done such good work over the years, it's good she got an award, despite Still Alice being something of a cheat) although Patricia Arquette won for playing a normal person—she didn't have to affect so much as a limp.

So, that's that. Thanks for staying up and staying awake. Good night!

It's a Goddamn Meat parade
(sung to the tune of "It's Only a Paper Moon)

It's a goddamn meat parade
with nothing to do with art
it's all about haute couture
and make-up by the quart.

It's a goddamn meat parade
And million dollar ad campaigns
Visit the old actors home
Hope they recall your name.

The best part is
The orchestra cutting things short
Speeches long on wind
Thanks to e-ver-y sort
And their accountant, Mort.

It's a goddamn meat parade
High ratings for the TV set
We sit with our cheetos bags
and watch mi-ll-i-o-naires sweat.

It's a goddamn meat parade
A big waste of time, I fear
As boring as it can be
(Can't wait until next year)

And the winner is....

Walking the Walk and Talk
Every Man His Alcatraz (or That Obscure Object of Film-Making)

Riggan Thomas (Michael Keaton) is an actor who's been on a stale streak for awhile after making a name for himself in a string of superhero movies (as an act of integrity he didn't do the fourth one) and is now trying to make a forthright comeback of sorts by ambitiously staging a play on Broadway that he has written, is directing and is also starring in.  The play, based on a Raymond Carver story* is as far afield from "Birdman" (the superhero character he played) as one can get, and the staging of the play proves to be problematic what with difficult actors, difficult material, and that the lead may be a bit crazy—cuckoo.  Left alone, which he rarely is, Riggan hears the voice of "Birdman" in his head berating him for past failures and current insecurities and, then, every once in awhile, Thomas displays a knack for telekinesis—moving objects without touching them.

Or more accurately, smashing objects without touching them.  Riggan is a bit out of control, mercurial, and seems more than a bit unstable, all the while he's trying to keep his vanity project together.  An accident (or is it?) on the stage one day eliminates the actor he's having the most problems with and replaces him with an improvement—Mike Shiner (Edward Norton), one of the better actors working, but also one of the most annoying, for his insistence on "truth" in performance.
Is Thomas rolling his eyes, or is he willing something to happen?
Complicating matters is the presence of Riggan's daughter (Emma Stone) recently out of rehab, Shiner's wife (Naomi Watts), also in the play, a crusty theater critic (Lindsay Duncan) who is determined to trash the play sight unseen for Riggan's impertinence for trying to prove he's an actor instead of a celebrity, and Shiner's narcissism that hogs the limelight (and is in conflict with Riggan's narcissism). Through it all, Riggan's friend and lawyer (Zach Galifanikis) serves as buffer and punching bag.
Those who've followed the movies of Alejandro González Iñárritu (Amores Perros, 21 Grams, Babel, Biutiful) know that Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) is as close to a knockabout comedy as he can get.  The self-possessed tribulations of actors amid the various roles they play are the stuff of both comedy and tragedy—tragedy in the intimate conflicts they struggle with within and without, and comedy in the lack of perspective they can possess entangled in those struggles.  We're all actors. We all play roles, and sometimes we get lost in the performance of our lives--our self-made traps, self-imposed prisons.  Every bird-man his Alcatraz.

Now, here comes Thomas, in the performance of his life, confined to a two-block radius of Broadway, trying to achieve more than he might be able to, and performing a dialogue with more than himself, trying to stretch himself in a flight of fancy while his past tries to sabotage it.  He wants to soar, but the Birdman of his past keeps pushing him to the ground. 
Michael Keaton has never really retired from movies—he's been doing small parts here and there—but he hasn't top-lined a movie since his own fine directorial debut, The Merry Gentleman. But, it is good to have him back in something with a bit of substance. And, of course, he's perfect for this—an odd semi-meta-performance (at one point he says "I had a dream that I died in a plane-crash, and the picture they had in the paper was Clooney."). But, Batman never really held him back—fact is, he was always a better Bruce Wayne than Batman, a performance too still and cossetted in black rubber—it just didn't show him at his manic, quirky best. He's also better, like here, in an ensemble: in The Other Guys, one of his small parts of late, he has two scenes—one where he's playing off Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg, where he is funny and exceptional, and the other—a monologue—where he falls flat. He is a character actor, at his mercurial best, bouncing off the talents of others, and he and Norton have great scenes that are joys to watch for how good both are, in completely different styles. The part is tailor-made for Keaton, and he rises, literally, to the challenge.
At one point, Iñárritu stages an action set-piece that looks like the chaos
of every CGI superhero movie ever made
And the director doesn't make it easy for him. The thing is about theater and Iñárritu keeps the locale focused in and around New York's St. James Theater (you get to know every nook and cranny of it) and shoots the movie in a seemingly seamless stream of long "takes," where the actors have to really act and for quite a sustained while, then migrate in steadicammed transitons of "walk-and-talks" that Scorsese used frequently and became famous as a fast, busy way to throw out exposition on TV's "West Wing"—it's just that nobody's tried this so steadfastly since Hitchcock's Rope—not even the supposedly continuous Cloverfield could resist interruptions of static to cover the gaps.   

At times, as is the writer-director's way, the film is very obtuse, trying to communicate something while not being obvious about it to the point where it's obscure and slightly unreachable. Throughout the course of the movie, he also makes no distinction between reality and fantasy, between inner and outer dialogue, so it's often not easy to trust the image or the sound on-screen: does Riggan have telekinesis or is this all in his head and just some manifestation of control that he thinks he has over his Universe? Why does the film resolve the way it does, with a self-inflicted act of violence, for the visual joke of the Birdman's costume, or is it being precious with a well-worn cliche about self-defeating actions? Sometimes the deflection doesn't quite work, but just as often, as in the film's final shot, it makes for a sublime moment, not too obvious, and a fine melding of fantasy and reality.

* I don't know whether it's interesting or significant or not, but Riggan's adaptation is taken from the heavily edited version of Carver's story and even includes a monologue not written by Carver, but by his editor Gordon Lish.

Still-life Superhero:  Keaton's Batman never moved much and had his
performance cossetted by leather.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Don't Make a Scene: Silverado

The Set-Up: "Tell Me a Story." During the month of February, (and beyond, as it turns out) we'll be showcasing scenes that feature a story in the midst of the narrative. That story may couch the plot in a new light; it may illuminate themes or present a back-story. It may be just a distraction. It may be a side-story that resonates throughout the film and casts its teller (or its subject) in the affections of the audience, making him immortal no matter how short his amount of screen-time...even (as in this case) they're not even seen.  

Man, the things you do for a dog.

"Man's best friend," they say. But in The Wild West, it's every critter for itself.  Except for some men. Lawrence Kasdan's homage to all things Western, Silverado, tears a page out of the scripts of many horse operas and saddles them together to make an uber-western about the taming of one corner of The West. It's got everything: good guys, bad guys, bad good guys, cattle rustlers, corrupt cattlemen, Laws of the Land and bad law-men, buffalo soldiers and British sheriffs, short saloon-keepers and tall drinks of gamblers, every kind of gun-fight you can imagine, and a jail-break or two.

And a shaggy "dog" story.

But it's a story with a purpose.  Because it's really about loyalty.  William Holden's "Pike" in The Wild Bunch gives voice to "The Sam Peckinpah Credo" of the Western: "If you ride with a man, you stay with him, or else you're just some kind of animal." Loyalty, in a word. Truth to your Word. But, the story of Paden and the dog has been mentioned many times—often tauntingly—previously in the story Silverado, and it's only now, like so much of Paden's shady past, that it comes out after the fact, to explain away (if one can) the one member of the loose quartet of gun-men that one is not sure of where he stands. The loyalty of the others, and to whom, is not in question.

But Paden, former gambler, saloon habitue and outlaw, who we first meet in his long underwear staked out in the desert (like he dropped out of the sky) no one knows on what side of the line he stands. And which side of the line he's going to choose.

And as "it's the singer, not the song," it is also the story-teller, not the story; The story reveals more about Cobb than it really does about Paden. For Cobb, it's a story about Paden's lack of loyalty and dependability, and it is a warning to Stella to be wary of how Paden can turn like a wild horse. For this Sheriff with a tarnished star, loyalty is more important than morality—Cobb never mentions what "business" he and his crew were involved in, but it can't be any good. And Paden sacrifices his loyalty to the alleged outlaws to save an unfortunate, even if it's fool-hardy, something that makes him a target of derision. Something that makes him a wild card, someone to be wary of, in a town without pity. It's a story of warning to the saloon-keeper from her duplicitous Boss, but depending of the listener, it might also be an assurance.

Directorially, it's a simple set-up for director Kasdan: he follows the talkers into the bar, elegantly frames Cobb between the Mutt and Jeff combination of Jeff Goldblum and Linda Hunt. Then, when Cobb tells his story—a bit ruefully, a little ticked, still—Kasdan makes Brian Dennehy the sole focus, until the line "Paden's off his horse and holding the dog..." at which point in the slightly hazy distance, Paden swings in, gradually sidling up to the bar, taking the long way, looking a might hurt that Cobb is telling stories out of school. As Paden gets closer, Kasdan moves back into the group. Very neat, that shot, during the story we see Paden enter, recognize him and anticipate a reaction. There's a lot going on for something so simple.

One thing I've always admired about Silverado is its precise screenplay.  Things are there for a reason, and if they're not the primary focus, then they're there as sub-text, rattling around.  The words "he left (Paden)" are used quite a bit in the script, accentuating the character as a lonely drifter, but words will not be used to complete his character arc; it will be one silent image.

Silverado is a lot of fun to watch and analyze, and although a Western may seem trivial next to other things Kasdan has done, this is is one of his best movies.

The Set-Up:  Things are shaking up the little frontier town of "Silverado:" Under the baleful glare of Sheriff Cobb (Brian Dennehy), things are mighty cozy with the business interests and ordinary citizens have to watch their backs...and their land...and their cattle. Into town ride four strangers (Kevin Kline, Scott Glenn, Danny Glover and Kevin Costner) and they're already disturbing Cobb's peace. But tonight, Cobb is in a reflective mood, so he tells his diminutive saloon-keeper Stella (Linda Hunt) and the newly-arrived gambler, Slick, (Jeff Goldblum) a little bit about their mutual friend and partner Paden (Kline).


Cobb and Stella come out into the saloon, which is not yet crowded. Stella moves up her ramp behind the bar as Cobb walks along in front of it.
STELLA From what I've seen, Paden doesn't care much about money.
SHERIFF COBB He says he doesn't care about anything, but he does.
SHERIFF COBB There's just no telling what it's going to be.
Slick is standing at the bar. Cobb settles in next to him. They nod at each other.
SHERIFF COBB Howdy, Mr. Slick.
SLICK Sheriff...
Cobb turns to Stella, who has put a bottle before him and is pouring Cobb and herself drinks. Cobb seems to be including Slick in the following story, though he addresses Stella.
SHERIFF COBB Let me tell you about your friend Paden. Me and him and Tyree and a few other boys did a good bit of riding together a few years back. Business, you know, and business was pretty good.
SHERIFF COBB We were moving around a lot, the way you have to in that work, and somewhere along the line we picked up this dog.
SHERIFF COBB One of the boys took to feeding it, so it followed us everywhere.
SHERIFF COBB Anyway, this one time we were leaving a little Missouri town in quite a hurry, with a bunch of the locals on our tails.
SHERIFF COBB The dog somehow got tangled up with Tyree's horse and Tyree went flying. Tyree was pretty mad when he jumped up, and Tyree being Tyree...
SHERIFF COBB...he shot the dog. Didn't kill him, though.
SHERIFF COBB Before you know it, Paden's off his horse and holding the dog.
SHERIFF COBB He'd gone all strange on us. Said we should go on without him.
SHERIFF COBB I thought he was kidding at first. But he wasn't.
SHERIFF COBB Tyree was ready to plug 'em both. And all this with the posse coming down on us.
SHERIFF COBB Here I thought we were pals after all that riding. And suddenly he's more worried about a mutt.
SHERIFF COBB So we did like he asked and left him.
SHERIFF COBB He went to jail for a dog.
Stella has been listening intently. Now her glance shifts: Paden has walked up beside Cobb. Cobb lifts his glass to Paden with a grin, but speaks to Stella.
SHERIFF COBB And you want to hear the funny part?
SHERIFF COBB Paden didn't even like the damn dog.
Paden gives Cobb an odd glance but smiles.
PADEN It evened out in the end. They locked me up, but the dog sprung me.
Cobb and Slick laugh, but Stella just watches Paden.
STELLA Where's the dog now?
PADEN He left me.

Words by Lawrence Kasdan and Mark Kasdan

Pictures by John Bailey and Lawrence Kasdan

Silverado is available on DVD from Sony Home Video.