Friday, January 27, 2012

Movies I've Never Seen #6: The Gundown

The Gundown

In which I fully describe the plot of a movie I've never seen and know nothing about, based solely upon its Netflix picture.

Screenwriter Mikey McCaffernathy had a problem. He'd just polished up the last draft of his new feature-length script, The Shootout. It was a Western, something he'd always wanted to write.

But it just wasn't working.

He hit all the right points: the reformed ex-gunslinger, the hooker with a heart of gold, the ranch under threat of bandits & foreclosure. But it was boring. It lacked heart. It lacked the edge that would make it stand out from a pile of scripts on a producer's desk.

Mikey took a long walk one evening, thinking about anything but his script, hoping inspiration would strike from the ether. And friends, strike it did. "What if," said a ghostly voice from the back of Mikey's brain, "gunpowder had never been invented?" Mikey fell to his knees. He knew he'd found his answer. His edge. And his tagline: In a world with no bullets, the man with the heaviest gun is king.

The Gundown is an alternate history of the classical Western. Slim Hopkins is a champion gunslinger who's turned his back on his gunslinging ways. But in this world, with no gunpowder, he's literally a gun slinger. Gun fights here are fast, furious, and short, because it's just a bunch of guys throwing guns at each other.

"But why invent guns? Wouldn't they all just carry swords?" you ask. Well, stop asking so many questions kid, you're bothering me.

The Gundown only grossed $53 domestically, but fortunately Mikey McCaffernathy didn't stick around to see its abysmal failure and resultant rash of suicides. Turned out that strike of inspiration was a massive stroke. Mikey went home, revised his script & sent it to his agent, then dropped dead.

Friends, let this be a lesson: sometimes that voice in your head is The Muse, gifting you with an artistic vision. And sometimes, it's a blood clot in your brain shutting down the activity in your prefrontal cortex.

Colin Fisher is many things to many people, but mostly he's an actor and writer.

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