1991’s big hit Billy Crystal comedy about nostalgia for old westerns is this weeks episode! Featuring an oscar-winning supporting turn for Western legend Jack Palance, this beloved family comedy explores what it means to be honest, to be masculine, and to be happy in the modern age while looking back at the genre that defined many of our expectations regarding those things. A light comedy set in the world of adventure tourism, the film is a high water mark for pretty much everyone involved, from Palance and Crystal to character actors Daniel Stern and Bruno Kirby. Dad and I have a good old time revisiting a favorite from twenty five (!) years ago, reminiscing about the dollar theater and reflecting sadly on the passage of time, that has brought me up to speed with the mid-life crises the film characters find themselves in. Topics of conversation cover Palance’s oscar shenanigans, the recent unpleasantness at the Miss America pageant, a mutual love for the ice cream magnate brothers, the jankiness of the music, the motivations of the one dimensional drunk cowboy villains, the potential of a Deliverance-themed adventure vacation, and of course the sad and demeaning failure of the sequel, City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly’s Gold. There are Palance impersonations, for sure.

We’re a bit all over with the tangents this week, but I think it works. At the end, we discuss the greatness of the Lord of the Rings trilogy a bit, and also reflect on a few Russell Crowe movies, including his latest. The next episode of Westerns With Dad will focus on the all time Western classic, Shane. Also starring Palance!

City Slickers stars Billy Crystal, Daniel Stern, Bruno Kirby, and Jack Palance. It was written by Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel and was directed by Ron Underwood.



In this episode, Dad and I take on the 1956 Bud Boetticher picture Seven Men From Now. The first collaboration between Boetticher and Randolph Scott, this set the tone for a series of formalist westerns and featured a memorable, star-making supporting turn from none other than Lee Marvin. It tells the story of a sheriff looking for justice running up against a pair of tenderfoot settlers and a man of questionable motives from his past. Along the way, you get Indian battles, river fording, box canyon shootouts and sexual obsession! Dad and I also take the time to explore such interesting sidebar conversations as what animal Randolph Scott most resembles, the conflict between impossibly noble stoicism and messy human pragmatism, goofy John Wayne anecdotes, the soft racism of Native American tribes used as window dressing, and as always, the impressiveness of acts of physical prowess in a muscular adventure yarn like this. It’s a good episode all around, and I think gets close to the stated purpose of this show; we’re really starting to look under the hood at what makes westerns tick.

Afterwards, we discuss last year’s Best Picture nominee Brooklyn, which Dad had a hard time making sound exciting, and Captain America Civil War, and especially who Black Panther is. Next week, we’ll be venturing for the first time into the modern time period to the Billy Crystal comedy City Slickers. We’ll se how that goes.

Seven Men From Now stars Randolph Scott, GaiL Russell and Lee Marvin, and was directed by Bud Boetticher. It was released in 1956 and is available in its entirety on YouTube. We both liked it, you should check it out.