Wyatt Earp

Dennis Quaid would like a word.

One of the most underrated actors of his generation, he’s been knocking it out of the park for 45 years, while never nabbing a single Oscar nom.

Which is a freakin’ crime.

While The Right Stuff is his best pic, Quaid’s work as Doc Holliday in this leisurely three-hour-plus ramble through the Wild West stands tall.

He approaches the role differently than Val Kilmer did in Tombstone, but, hey, we can appreciate both performances.

Kevin Costner is this film’s lead, doing his usual stoic thing, but it’s Quaid, gaunt and dangerous, who steals the show.

Hang ’em High

It’s not the kind of job you leave half-finished.

But the dumb cowpokes who string up Clint Eastwood fail to dot their I’s and cross their T’s — or at least properly tighten the rope — and come to regret it.

Mistakenly marked as a cattle rustler, he returns the favor, all guns blazing, in this American answer to the success of spaghetti westerns.

Eastwood’s dead man walking snaps on a badge, but, even as a card-carrying member of the law, is prone to delivering frontier-style justice in the form of a swiftly-propelled bullet or two.

Would we expect any less?

 

Far Alamo

Come out all guns blazing.

A who’s-who of cinematic gunfighters, from Clint Eastwood and John Wayne to Charles Bronson and Richard Widmark, line up to do battle with the kill-happy bugs from Starship Troopers in this memorable mashup.

Edited with precision, the short film has the outer space marauders launching an attack on the Alamo, only to be met by tons o’ firepower.

The human fighters hail from a whole ton of movie classics, with everything from Once Upon a Time in the West to The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly represented.

Let the bodies hit the prairie.

 

Maverick

Always bet on Jodie Foster.

I firmly believe the two-time Oscar winner is the best actress of her generation — a woman who wowed as a child and an adult.

While this lighthearted comedy adventure in the Wild West might not be her deepest movie, it remains frothy fun a couple of decades after it hit the silver screen.

And yes, I get that a lot of people have a different opinion on Mel Gibson in 2020 than they did in ’94.

But for me, this was always about Foster (and the forever-charming James Garner), so I shall allow my love to abide.

Hombre

He lets his bullets do the talking.

John Russell, a white man raised by Apaches, doesn’t have a lot of dialogue.

Instead, Paul Newman relies on blazing blue eyes and soulful stares to do most of his emoting, ambling through an Arizona desert where he doesn’t really fit in on either side of the cultural divide.

The same folks who look down on him come begging for his help, however, when oily bandit Richard Boone absconds with their money and women.

Based on an Elmore Leonard novel and shot by the great James Wong Howe, Hombre remains an often-overlooked gem.