One of my favorite recent movies is Rango, a kids movie in which a lizard finds himself through a fevered Spaghetti Western dream. The key moment in the spiritual journey occurs when he treks across the highway to meet The Spirit of the West, who looks a lot like some guy with no name. The Spirit of the West cut an imposing and testosterone-fueled vision. In fact, I’m so in awe of the character that I have a confession to make. Forgive me, Spirit of the West. For I have sinned.
In 2007, I corrected a major error. I was 31 years old, and yet I had never seen The Man With No Name trilogy- Sergio Leone’s trio of films featuring Clint Eastwood. I started ass-backwards by watching The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly (1966), the final film in the trilogy, first. Granted, the films are only tied together by two characters, so there were no key plot points missed. It was approximately 60 seconds into the film’s opening sequence when I realized I was about to witness greatness. Then I ripped through the two other films in the trilogy, went on a little bit of a Clint Eastwood bender, and I was a bona fide Eastwood fan in no time. I had left something in my wake.
Now it’s 2012, and I’m 36 years old. When people bring up the Spaghetti Western genre, I beam about how much I love it. But the sad truth is that I haven’t seen all that much. Other than the Man With No Name trilogy, here is the complete list of Spaghetti Westerns that I’ve seen:
-Duck, You Sucker (1971)
-10 minutes of Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
-A crappy, barely audible copy of Death Rides a Horse (1967)
-The opening credits sequence of Edgar Wright’s first film, A Fistful of Fingers (1995), which doesn’t even count anyway
That’s it- two full movies, and only one in which I could even hear what the hell was going on. I’ve been lying all this time about loving the genre. In reality, what I should have been saying is that I love Eastwood Westerns, a micro-genre that includes some Spaghetti Westerns. Of course, you realize this means war. My New Year’s resolutions have either been conquered or petered out by now, so I might as well tack on a new one for the rest of 2012. With Quentin Tarantino’s pending Spaghetti Western nerdgasm just a few months away, now seems like as good a time as any to go full bore into the genre. That way, when there’s some mildly inconsequential scene, I can accurately say “That’s just like what happened in that Mario Lafranchi film I saw in October!”
I can only hope that my offering to the Spirit of the West appeases the angry, dusty, squinting God.