The Sons of Katie Elder looks epic in the sweeping vistas of its Mexican locations and its large cast of characters, but it doesn’t feel epic in the scope of its story. Its two-hour length is more than enough to contain its narrative, with a solid twenty minutes to spare. It’s not a bad movie so much as a decent one that takes its sweet time getting to the point.
Picture this: three friends are taking in the 1998 comedy Free Enterprise. We represent about half the audience in the theater. The film, which deals with a pair of lifelong science fiction geeks facing their 30th birthdays, has a dream sequence that begins with a very specific, recognizable throbbing noise. The three friends collapse in hysterical laughter while the other half of the audience sits in confused, stony silence. The difference between the two parties is that the three who are laughing have seen Logan’s Run, probably more than once.
Major Dundee is one of Sam Peckinpah’s early works, a highly stylized Western that fits perfectly the outsized performances of its stars, Charleton Heston and Richard Harris. Neither the story, the dialogue or the acting can be called realistic, but it is what it claims to be, a rousing entertainment.