Saturday, January 17, 2015

Goin' South (1978)

Director: Jack Nicholson

Writers: John Herman Shaner, Al Ramrus, Charles Shyer, Alan Mandel

Composers: Perry Botkin Jr., Van Dyke Parks

Starring: Jack Nicholson, Mary Steenburgen, Chritopher Lloyd, John Belushi, Veronica Cartwright, Richard Bradford, Jeff Morris, Danny DeVito, Tracey Walter, Gerald H. Reynolds, Luana Anders, George W. Smith, Lucy Lee Flippin, Ed Begley Jr., Anne Ramsey

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Saved from the hangman, for a fate worse than death!

Plot: Henry Moon is captured for a capital offense by a posse when his horse quits while trying to escape to Mexico. He finds that there is a post-Civil War law in the small town that any single or widowed woman can save him from the gallows by marrying him. Julia Tate needs a man to help her work her mine and marries him. The sheriff makes it very clear to Moon what the consequences of his leaving Julia will be. The two begin to try to form a relationship based on necessity in which they have nothing in common.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again? Hmmmmm.  Maybe.

I haven't seen this in nigh on 35 years.  I half liked it then.  It's not a bad film. Hell, it's the very likable lead performances in Nicholson and Steenburgen that make it worthwhile.  They about carry the film.  I really dig how their relationship somewhat grows.  It doesn't mature as quickly and (I'm hesitant to say) predictably as most movies would allow.  There's always a level of ambiguity and distrust that lingers through the picture.  I like that. I also liked the very colorful and flavored old western slang that's all over the picture.  Belushi fans are going to be disappointed.  He's barely got anything to do and he's not bringing much funny. The same can be said with DeVito.  The highly recognizable faces in the cast are fun.  It's not a home run but it does have a lot going for it even if you're not entirely satisfied when the closing credits begin.  Hell, I wasn't exactly convinced I understood the motivations of Henry and Julia (Nicholson and Steenburgen (in her film debut, by the way) but it far from hurts the picture.  Oh, wait.  Then there's the subplot of Deputy Towfield saying he was in love with Julia early on and the story not doing much to act on that and follow that thread through. The Paramount DVD has a nice anamorphic widescreen print with not a single extra. 

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