May 17, 2021
On the podcast this week, Steven and Sean are… murdering everyone who crosses us because we’ve got a taste for that sweet seductress known as gold and no one’s going to stop us from getting all that we can? We’re talking about Sam Peckinpah’s film from 1969, The Wild Bunch.
Safe to say that introduction went off the rails pretty dang quick. However, I think you could say the same thing about this film. You think you’re going in to watch a fun western, maybe it’s like any other western you’ve seen, and then suddenly a firefight explodes, civilians are being senselessly murdered, and the good guys are actually the bad guys! It’s crazy and it doesn’t let up.
The film does present a peculiar dilemma for an audience, though. Our main characters, led by the brilliant William Holden and Ernest Borgnine, are not the type of people that usually lead a film. We’re so accustomed to rooting for the central characters in a film, and then this one turns that habit on its head. They’re brash, violent, and greedy men. They’re also addicted to big scores. These qualities make for some pretty despicable human beings.
It leads us to a strange conundrum: do we dare root for the outlaws who are willing to use innocent people as human shields in their quest for glory and riches? That’s a hard question to answer. You’ll reach the end and wonder about what the hell you just watched. I mean, we were a little bummed about the fate that befell these aging criminals by the time the credits rolled. We’d just spent nearly two and a half hours with them. That’s a long time to spend with someone, and then you remember that they’re unapologetic murderers.
It’s surely one of the earliest antihero films, and paved the way for many similar stories that have been told since this one’s release. If you’ve ever watched something like Breaking Bad or Taxi Driver, then you can witness the indelible mark on film history that The Wild Bunch has left (even if it is a tough watch at times).
(Recorded on March 29, 2021)
Links to Stuff We Mentioned:
(For your viewing pleasure, here’s funny man/podcaster, Matt Gourley, living out his lifelong dream of being gunned down in a hail of fake machine gun bullets while squibs are exploding all over his body.)
(Need further proof that Jeff Bezos is an asshole? In fact, that all billionaires are basically villains of the highest caliber? Give this fascinating visual a look. This sort of unimaginable wealth is shocking and contemptible.)
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