As a seventh-grade movie fan, I was about as sophisticated as Joe Bob Briggs, but without the irony. All a movie required was bullets, blood or boobs. Beautiful cinematography and complex characters were mere distractions. An interesting plot meant the screenwriter came up with some novel killing method. Trying to wean me off my cinematic diet of bloodlust, my mom suggested I try a Western. I couldn't imagine anything hokier than the VHS boxes featuring the likes of John Wayne, Gary Cooper and other old dead dudes. At least The Good, The Bad and the Ugly was in color. Of course, I loved it. Clint Eastwood's archetypal badass, his ambivalent partnership with Eli Wallach's oaf of an outlaw and Lee Van Cleef's heartless but intriguing bounty hunter were fascinating enough to hold my interest between shootouts until the classic Mexican standoff ending. I wondered how "Blondie" could be so cold to his frienemy Tuco yet take pity on a wounded soldier and marveled at Leone's panoramas of stark, desolate landscapes, finally realizing that maybe all that characterization and cinematography stuff wasn't so pointless after all. Take a seventh-grader to The Good, The Bad and the Ugly at midnight Friday or Saturday at the Inwood Theatre, 5458 W. Lovers Lane in Dallas. Call 214-764-9106.
Fri., Dec. 28; Sat., Dec. 29, 2007