Thursday, January 17, 2008

Review: Of Doves, Lonesome and Not

Over the last three nights was another (Comanche Moon) in a long line of Lonesome Dove sequels and prequels that followed the 1989 masterpiece.
For those who haven't been fascinated by these gritty representations of mid/late 1800 Texas, Larry McMurtry's series focuses on the life long relationship (but not in a Brokeback Mountain way) between two Texas Rangers Gus McCrae (originally played by Robert Duvall) and Woodrow Call (orig. Tommy Lee Jones).
McMurtry is among America's most prolific and successful authors, having won a Pulitzer and a few Academy Awards for his scribing.
The Lonesome Dove series is close to my heart, it really brings to the emotions the hard and often tragic lives led by those only a few generations before I was born. It also exudes what "manning-up" (as commonly used by light-loafered city hipsters today) really means.
McCrae and Call do what their superiors tell them to do to open up a new frontier, they endure whatever hardship is necessary, they don't countenance rudeness or mean-ness, especially to women and they put their lives on the line for a bigger cause. They also have fun (at least McCrae does) where and when they can find it.
It also reveals the pain of native Americans as they were participants in being swept away by more technologically advanced immigrants.
Comanche Moon is not what Lonesome Dove was - nothing could ever be. No one could replicate Duvall's and Jones' performance. But Steve Zahn does do a passable imitation of Duvall's McCrae, but fails in the good humour category.
All in all, any Lonesome Dove event is a big one (even when a dotty James Garner played Call in one of them). This was a great watch and stirred memories, even if it didn't spark new enthusiasms.
(Out of Four)

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