Cowboy on horse with lantern at dusk

The American West was even wilder than we think

Historian and author Mark A. Lause contends the cowboys of the mythic American West were more diverse—and downtrodden—than we realize

How the Western has waned

Westerns once ruled the movie theatre. But a remake of ‘The Magnificent Seven’ shows just how far the genre has fallen.



Unless there’s a big surprise in the next month and a half, I think Sony/Columbia’s Budd Boetticher Collection will wind up as the DVD release of the year. It really should be called the “Budd Boetticher and Randolph Scott Collection,” because all five films in the set have Randolph Scott, the rugged, easy-going Western hero, as the star — but it’s Boetticher, and his cult following among filmmakers, that was the impetus for this set; Sony had never released these films on DVD before and most of them hadn’t even widely available on VHS, but Martin Scorsese, Clint Eastwood and other bigshots got together and talked Sony into releasing obscure classics on DVD, starting with these Westerns. (Boetticher and Scott made seven Westerns together; the first, Seven Men From Now, is available in an excellent and inexpensive special edition from Paramount.)


Sitcoms = Westerns

Earl Pomerantz does, among other things, the absolute best posts about the decline of the sitcom form. (His words have extra authority, of course, because he was there helping to make some of the best examples of the form, including The Cosby Show, which saved the form when it was near death two decades ago.) Today’s post contains a great insight about why it’s becoming harder and harder to revive the multi-camera sitcom format: the fewer examples there are of this kind of show, the less audiences can accept its built-in conventions: