CELEBRITY SHOT: Tombstone Movie Review by Kyle Altomare

Zach: Salutations, friends! Today we have a special treat! This has been in the works for some time now, and after working out the kinks, I am proud to debut what I hope becomes a reoccuring series: Celebrity Shots! My friend, Sir Kyle Altomare, gratefully accepted his duty as tribute to be the first guest writer on Shut Up Zach!

A little background on Kyle: He is exactly who you think of when you hear the name “Kyle”. He once attempted to light my scalp on fire with a blow torch. He is one of the only human beings I have ever met that can go blow-for-blow with me at a buffet, which is the reason why I have dubbed him a “Sir”. He is a major advocate for all foods that come in a can. He frequently takes naps underneath his bed for reasons I still can’t quite comprehend. But before you think he is all meme, know that he is also an alumn of Florida State University where he double majored in Biology and Chemistry, which likely qualifies him as the king of all Kyle’s everywhere.

This is what Kyle looks like when he’s eating

Enough of my ramblings. Please enjoy Kyle’s ramblings about the film “Tombstone”.

“TOMBSTONE” REVIEW (The movie, not the pizza– I’ll leave that one to Dave Portnoy)

I’d like to start by thanking the man who once ate 127 shrimps in a single sitting, Lord Zach Vecker, as he has bequeathed me the honor of a review for this piece of cinema. 

*Spoiler- this ain’t as refined as Zach’s writing that y’all city folk may be used to, so bear with me on this one!

Allow me to preface this review with a complete admiration for the facial hair in this movie.  Throughout this quarantine, some of us have been lucky enough to see what kind of beards and mustaches we are able to grow, some are borderline feral.  I am not one of these people, as I struggle with growing hair on my face as well as on the top of my head, BUT I DIGRESS.  The mustaches in this movie are second to none, with most of the characters sporting a ‘stache reminiscent of a cross between Ron Swanson and Waluigi–truly impressive.  And better yet, almost EVERY character has one. 

Anyways, on to the meat and potatoes…

Our story begins in the Western town of Tombstone, Arizona near the Mexico border in the late 1800’s.  Known for its silver deposits, it was a crucial city in the culmination of the pursuing Gold Rush.  Shortly after the Civil War, Western expansion exploded, further driving the growth of these small prospecting towns.  With the influx of people, came a sea of opportunities, whether it was through an honorable profession or more dubious means.  All this opportunity brought with it crime, and a higher murder rate than modern day New York or Los Angeles.  

While some tried to set up shop in the new towns, bandits preyed upon the weak, striking fear into all.  With a gun on one hip, and a red sash on the other; they called these bandits… “The Cowboys” (Cue Western music).

The feud between good and evil is a dynamic that transcends many cultures over the centuries.  It is in this film that we get to experience the classic tale, based on true events, but from a different perspective.  Good and Evil, right and wrong, blue dress or white dress; these are some of the debates we constantly find ourselves returning to as we ponder the inner machinations of our minds (an enigma some would say).  On the backs of stallions, our main characters ride in on a blaze of glory.  Ok, it was a lame horse drawn buggy for their arrival but still, horses ‘n stuff.  Retired lawman Wyatt Earp and his 2 brothers embark on a journey to Tombstone with their friend Doc Holliday.  Three brothers walking down the road, with a gambling dentist.  It’s just 3 brothers fighting their way out, 3 brothers.  Why isn’t this movie called “3 Brothers”? It’s just 3 brothers.

Hoping to strike it rich along with countless others, they arrive in the town only to see first hand the debauchery that ensues.  Shootouts, which are a daily occurrence, are just a single piece of the charm of Tombstone.  Since the town is still young and growing, they are able to set up shop in an attempt to make a name for themselves and retire with a fortune.  However, not everyone is a fan that our mustachioed lawman is in town (This time we cue dramatic music)! 

Kurt Russell stars as Wyatt Earp, the main protagonist. Once an infamous lawman, he is now retired and wishes to live a quiet life out West trying to avoid getting involved in the town chicanery.  However, he cannot resist his innate urge to uphold justice wherever he goes.  As he continues to forge his path in the town, he starts getting some pushback from the cowboys who have made Tombstone their home.  The conflict eventually escalates to where Wyatt is at gunpoint, seemingly helpless, until a man named Doc Holliday shows up.  What unfolds is a part of history that you don’t want to miss.

I really enjoyed Kurt Russell’s performance in this.  It was very interesting to read about how much input he had on the film.  The original director, Kevin Jarre, was replaced by George P. Cosmatos soon after filming started which opened the door for Russell to really embrace a hands-on role in the overall direction of the film.  Individual monologues from both Russell and Val Kilmer (Doc Holliday) show off how well they truly embraced their role, nailing the accent and the vernacular consistent with the times.

Doc Holliday, played by Val Kilmer, is a dentist, gambler, drinker, and a smoker; but most importantly a southern gentleman.  Doc’s actions seemingly place him in the same realm of morality as the cowboys, as his day-to-day consists of robbing and gambling.  But, it is when he is with the Earps that he shows his true colors. Armed with a thin mustache and charming smile, he is a smooth-talking, pistol-slinging gambler who will do anything for his friends.  Unfortunately, Doc has a severe case of Tuberculosis.  His days are numbered, ever adding to his brave and seemingly reckless choices.  Self-proclaimed as one of the fastest shots in town, he is able to take control of situations most would shy away from. And while Russell has many incredible and gripping scenes, it is Val Kilmer who really steps up to the plate and shines throughout the whole film.

Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp, along with the 2 other Earp brothers played by Sam Elliott and Bill Paxton are some of the Red-blooded Americans that gives this movie its charm and bravado.

The director does a great job in viewing both sides of the coin several times throughout the movie.  Arguably the most notable is showing Doc Holliday on the top of the world seemingly untouchable in battle, while simultaneously on his death bed sick with Tuberculosis.

The cowboys are a rowdy bunch, with little regard for the consequences anyone would try to impose on them.  Constantly brandishing their weapons, some may say they are – uh – compensating for something. They ride around bending and breaking the law wherever they go, “persuading” the dealers to replay a hand.  In the end, it’s just robbery but with extra steps. Led by William “Curly Bill” Brocious, played by Powers Boothe, the gang of cowboys travel in packs with a flash of red from their sashes as they ride by on horseback.  Johnny Ringo, played by Michael Biehn, is Curly Bill’s right-hand man who is known as the fastest shot in the West, but is he as fast as Doc?

I hate to deal in absolutes, since I’m not a Sith Lord, but this movie was absolutely badass from start to finish.  A bit of poetic justice to finish it off with redeeming character arcs coming full circle makes for a captivating story.  Dare I say it, this movie is one of the best Westerns I have ever seen (Yes, better than John Wayne at the first Thanksgiving, Pilgrims).

Great movie, quotable, and badass all at the same time.  The music in the final scenes is a near perfect finish to the adventure the film takes you on.  Epic, to say the least.  It’ll make you want to move out west before it’s finished.

“I’m your Huckleberry”

Cast: Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, Sam Elliott, Bill Paxton, Powers Boothe, Michael Biehn, Charlton Heston, Jason Priestley, Jon Tenney, Stephen Lang, Thomas Haden Church, Dana Delany, Paula Malcomson, Lisa Collins, John Philbin, and Billy Bob Thronton
Director: George P. Cosmatos, Kevin Jarre
Final Score: 8.7/10
Run Time: 2 hours 14 minutes
Rating: R

Thank you for getting this far, I appreciate you sticking with this one!  Special thank you to Zach for letting me do this, now he has to watch it ☺

Oh and one last thing—- Shut up Zach!

–Kyle Altomare
P.S. – go watch the trailer and the music will instantly teleport you back to the 90’s, no Delorean needed

Zach: I’d like to thank Kyle for being the Neil Armstrong of this website. He is a good friend and his review made me laugh an unhealthy amount. He is braver than all of you! But if this inspires any of you to want to review a film or tv show or video game or any piece of entertainment that you hold dearly, I would be honored to be given the opportunity too publish your work!

Published by Zach Vecker

Follow my film blog ShutUpZach.com

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