WATCHING F%$KING “YELLOWSTONE” ON NETFLIX – A SPICY LITTLE REVIEW

ANOTHER FLASHBACK WHERE SATURDAY IS FRIDAY BUT DOES ANYONE CARE?

When talking about movies, one thing just seems to lead to another. Marleen mentioned Yellowstone and remembered writing this post, but not what I wrote. I went back and it just made me laugh. So it’s a double whammy double trouble Flashback Friday on Saturday because I don’t catch up with my week until Saturday and sometimes, not EVEN then.

Garry really wanted to watch Yellowstone. He was being his own special kind of nag. Every time we watched something else, after it ended he would say: “NOW can we watch Yellowstone?” Subtle. Very subtle. I had wanted to watch a couple of movies, “Black Beauty” among them. “Black Beauty” (Disney+) was nothing like the book. Even though I adore horses, it was super treacly. Maybe someone thought the original story, set in London in the late 1800s, would not “speak” to the current generations. Or as Hollywood frequently does, felt they wanted the name of the book, but not story. I find that very annoying. If you’re going to write something entirely different, call it something else. 

By then I was ready to watch “FUCKING YELLOWSTONE!” This series was produced by none-other than Kevin Costner, He has made a couple of great movies, a lot of mediocre movies, and some really awful movies including his version of “Wyatt Earp.” I’ve tried to watch it, but haven’t gotten through the first 10 minutes. It was released at the same time as “Tombstone.” Costner did his best to try to prevent Tombstone’s release. Costner was a top dog in Hollywood those years and thought he could do anything. He couldn’t, but he tried hard.

He was unsuccessful. Over the years, “Tombstone” has become many people’s favorite or nearly favorite western. It’s definitely my favorite. I can do dialogue with it. On the positive side of giving the show a try, he made “Bull Durham” and “Tin Cup,” both of which I like a lot, especially “Bull Durham” which has a great script, cast, and they can all act. Even Costner acts and currently, he has become just a bit wooden. He’s good at “small, personal” roles. Not as great at “big” movies. Think “Water World,” (1995) for heroic movies where he wasn’t.

Thus going into this series made me twitch. It might be okay. We had just finished the last two seasons of “Longmire.” I love the original books by Craig Johnson, a writer from Wyoming. The series is smart and intelligent. The series has wandered far from the books in terms of script, but the characters are more like the characters in the book. A bit more “roughed up” to make them more violent (of course) and more energetic. In the books, there’s a lot of sitting around with witty dialogue. The series is more shoot’em up and tense. I like the show anyway. You get to see nuanced characters who learn something from previous episodes and don’t always do the same thing every show. Sometimes, top-quality scriptwriting.

“Yellowstone,” or as we have come to call it “Fucking Yellowstone,” is like Longmire on steroids, meth, and cocaine. “Yellowstone” may be the show which uses the “fuck” most often. Garry looked up the reviews. There were a handful of people who objected to the obscene language, often because it is gratuitous where fuck is used to replace commas. We start counting “fucks” as soon as opening credits are finished and are disappointed if they don’t hit a full dozen three or four minutes into the show. Sometimes the fucking use of fuck in every paragraph is like a magic act. Where can I fit the word fuck? Oh, how about here?

It’s a violent show which fortunately does not show actual blood and gore. It was shot in Montana, possibly on Costner’s land. I’d have to check this out because I could be wrong. It’s about a particularly brutal rancher and his equally violent, dysfunctional family. They are trying to hold on to their enormous ranch and cattle and horses in the face of mobsters and corporate degenerates (who also say fuck every third word). All these “city folk” want to destroy the land by building casinos, hotels, and power plants while drilling for oil or are they already drilling? The opening credits suggest it, but so far, I haven’t seen the oil rigs. They did dig up a dinosaur, though. That was cool. I know a lot about the dinosaurs up in Montana and Wyoming. I think Wyoming gets the big prize for the best ever set of Tyrannosaurus bones. You’d have to research this, but that was the last I heard.

So every night, the show goes on. Lots of murders and shoot-outs. All the cowboys look alike. It’s a bit weird because I watch the show and I’m not sure who is who. They all have the same kind of beard, 10-gallon (or however many gallon) hats and they swear constantly. These days, when Garry’s had enough of the previous night’s Colbert and Seth Meyers, Samantha Bee, and John Oliver, he turns to me and says: “You want to watch “Fucking Yellowstone”?

“Fuck yes,” I reply.

Then we watch the fucking show. It’s a good time for me to catch up on email being as the plot is pretty much the same as every “big ranch” movie you’ve ever seen, albeit the language is a lot more raw. Do you think they talk that way they do so they will seem “tough?”

It’s a lot like Dallas with family intrigues, mob money, corporate angst, and a lot of people with significant attitudinal issues. Their family dinners are about as bad as you might imagine. They are just a fucking tragedy.

If you’ve seen “Rustler’s Rhapsody,” this is a similar story except “Yellowstone” lacks the humor and wit of “Rustler.”

Also, I’ve begun to think of Yellowstone as perhaps the real backstory to the Ponderosa. This is what happened behind the sweetly g-rated show. Forget all that nice, friendly family fun on the giant ranch. This is the way it really was. No one is nice. No one is kind. There’s no “soft side” to “dad” or ranching. Or even any hope that things will get better because just running the ranch means everyone is deeply in debt.

I think maybe last night was the end of a season. Not sure. We haven’t been keeping track and I’ve missed a lot of parts of each episode because this is also the time of night when I realize I’ve got nothing ready for tomorrow’s post, so I start putting posts together. This is a show for people who want violence, horses, the new old west, with more violence, thuggery, and guns, Native Americans are behaving only half as badly as the White People around them, but I have a feeling they will catch up. Just give the show one more season. The mob is moving in. Uh oh!

Also, I should mention that in terms of style, especially the way visuals are used, the design of the credits, and the brilliant way they are using music. The music really IS excellent and might be the highlight of the series along with its cinematography. It reminds me (a lot) of the HBO series “Tombstone.” Whoever is directing it worked for or was heavily influenced by that earlier show. It certainly has the cinematography and pacing down perfectly.

For Western fans, if you can cope with the violence and foul language, go for it. Just don’t take it too seriously. Fucking right!



Categories: Entertainment, Family, Hollywood, horses, Western movies

Tags: , , , , , ,

9 replies

  1. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I loved all the Spaghetti Western films. My favorite was https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Fistful_of_Dollars. Italian/Spanish/West German production. The Man With No Name, a mysterious drifter (Clint Eastwood) arrives in a small town controlled by two warring gangs of smugglers. He plays one side against the other to make money, but is found out when he helps the captive Marisol (Marianne Koch) and her victimized family to escape.

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  2. I’ve very much enjoyed your write-up on this — Fucking Yellowstone 😂 — to begin a fine Saturday morning. I’ll take your word on “Wyatt Earp.” There’s another western series a little like this booming one, but starring Pierce Brosnan. I have to admit it’s not quite as good (by a teensy bit), or maybe it just feels that way because it didn’t last as long. In some ways, it might have been better… now that I think of it. It aired on AMC, maybe (I don’t remember for sure): The Son.

    I haven’t seen Tombstone or Rustler’s Rhapsody, but shall check into them. I, myself, liked Longmire; as did you. By the way, I agree with you that Costner is uneven in his performances throughout his career. And there’s a recent different show he did with bad reviews, not that I even looked at a minute of it or read the reviews… but I read a comparison that Yellowstone was sort of a sleeper in views and reviews at first, when I was already into it. (Oh, and, yes… Costner is a bit of an egotist.)

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    • I think describing Costner as “a bit of an egotist” is like suggesting Cecil B. DeMille was “a bit of an egotist.” Some actors manage to maintain a sense of reality, keep their feet on the ground and remember that they are mortal. Where IS that court jester?) Others – and Costner is one of them, have a very extended skull. Lord only knows what size hat he wears.

      He seems to have always wanted to be a Heroic Super Star. The thing is, he is at his best as an actor when he is doing smaller roles. He doesn’t make a great hero, but he makes a wonderful, confused guy trying to find his way out of a tough spot and somehow managing to get the girl to love him. Both Tin Cup and Bull Durham were that kind of movie — and of course everyman’s four-hanky special, Field of Dreams. I have yet to meet a guy who is even nominally into sports who doesn’t weep through it. The novella from which it was taken is also interesting. It’s not exactly better but it’s unusual. It’s hard to describe. The writer was very quirky and all his work is unique.

      I would like Costner better if he would get a better jester and remember that he is mortal and like everyone else, doomed to die. He really blew his wad trying to keep “Tombstone” from being shown. In the end, it was so much better than his Wyatt Earp, Tombstone has kept gaining audience while no one plays Costner’s version. Actually, Mel Brooks’ Men in Tights was a pretty good send up.

      GREAT comments! Glad you aren’t a fan.

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  3. I’m into season 4 (on the Paramount Network) of “Fucking Yellowstone” and it’s still as you described it. I remember Costner as a young buck in the western “Silverado.” He was in it Scott Glenn, Kevin Kline, Danny Glover, and Brian Dennehy. I enjoyed that movie and I thought Costner was really good in it.

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    • I have watched Silverado many times and while I enjoy it, I STILL don’t understand the plot. Does it have a plot? Did they edit out significant piece of plot? I couldn’t figure out what or why anyone is doing whatever they are doing, but the cast is great and it was nice to see a real western on the screen. I only wish I could figure out what the scriptwriter was trying to say. Garry just shrugs. He loves westerns and unlike me, he isn’t looking for “meaning” or even continuity. He just likes them.

      Personally, I love the horses. In fact, I ADORE the horses.

      Liked by 1 person

      • According to IMDB, “In 1880, four men travel together to the city of Silverado. They come across many dangers before they finally engage the ‘bad guys’ and bring peace and equality back to the city.”

        That’s good enough for me. Plus, the horses.

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        • That’s pretty much Garry’s take on it. He can’t understand why I keep looking for a plot. Why should I care when obviously the studio didn’t? Oh, right. I’m a writer, so I’m always looking for a plot because when I write, I can never FIND my plot. No great novel coming from THIS source.

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