December 5, 2014, - 4:13 pm

Wknd Box Office: The Homesman, The Better Angels

By Debbie Schlussel

Nothing to recommend, this weekend, in new movies at theaters. The big holiday movies start coming at you next week, so stay tuned for my “Exodus” review and so on.


* “The Homesman“: Tommy Lee Jones–who stars in, directs, and wrote the screenplay for this godawful, horrible movie–calls it a “feminist western,” as does his fellow star, Horse-ary, er . . . Hillary Swank. I just call it crap. Or rather, great Gitmo torture material. They should force the few Gitmo detainees who remain, to watch this over and over again. I struggled to get through it once and fell asleep several times, missing absolutely nothin’.

The story: Swank is an older, single homestead and farm owner in the Nebraska territory, sometime in the 1800s. She asks any available single farmer in town to marry her. None takes the offer, telling her she is too ugly (the word “plain” is the one they use in this movie) and too bossy. So, because no one wants her and she’s desperate for something to happen, Swank reluctantly agrees when her church drafts her to transport three of the mentally insane wives/mothers in the area to take them to Iowa via horse carriage (and is promised to be paid a few hundred dollars when she successfully completes the mission). The women’s husbands and kids can no longer put up with these three women, and apparently, in Iowa, there is a pastor who can cure them.

As she is about to go forward on her transport journey, Swank runs into and saves the life of Jones, who is a lowlife squatter and petty criminal that was about to be hanged. She saves his life in exchange for Jones accompanying her and helping out on the journey. But soon she is also asking him to marry her. He also tells her she is too “plain” a/k/a ugly. Then, she begs him to have sex with her. He repeatedly declines but finally gives in and reluctantly lays there while she has sex with him outside in the wilderness as the three crazy wives/mothers watch. The next morning, Jones finds that Swank has hanged herself. So, he buries her and takes the women the rest of the way.

Along the way, Jones encounters James Spader, playing an Irish hotel owner, who refuses to let them stay and eat at the hotel, claiming he is expecting a large company of guests that night, so Jones takes the food and burns down the hotel. Then, he gets to Iowa with the women, where they are greeted and taken in by the pastor’s wife, Meryl Streep. Jones then spends the reward money on a hotel room, hookers, alcohol, drinking, and a young girl he’s trying to pick up. Soon, he is told that some of the money he has is drawn on a defunct bank and is worthless. So he drinks some more and dances a jig at the dock while he awaits a ferry to take him part of the way back to Nebraska. The end.

Believe me, I’m making this horribly boring, long, slow, depressing waste of time sound far better than it is. I would never recommend seeing this to anyone except my most wicked enemies. It’s just that bad. It’s the kind of movie liberal phonies and pseudo-intellectuals would fawn over for hours. Yuck.

“The Homesman” has at least one syllable in it that bears some resemblance to what its real title should be: “Stay Home.”

Who knew that “feminist western” was code for high-quality Gitmo torture material? Well, actually, it’s kinda obvious, isn’t it?


Watch the trailer . . .

* “The Better Angels“: Anytime you see the name Terrence Malick in the credits of a movie, it’s a loud message: run like hell! The full name of this movie is, “Terrence Malick Presents The Better Angels.” He’s one of the producers of this movie, and it is completely in his long, boring conceit of a “style.” Malick movies are pretentious, aimless movies with no discernible plot and barely any story (see my review of his “Tree of Life”). Any attempt to watch them feels like a hipster time bandit is sticking a gun to your head as it steals valuable, unentertaining time from your life that you’ll never recover. And this is no exception.

Parading as a story about Abraham Lincoln’s childhood, it has a few of the basics right: that Lincoln’s family was poor, that his mother died from drinking milk from cows who ate poisonous weeds, and that his father married a stepmother whom Lincoln loved and who raised him. But that took me one sentence to tell you. This movie takes 1.5 hours that seems like eternity and tells you nothing in addition to that. The rest is just stream of consciousness, imagined scenes from the life of a kid who lived in the 1800s.

Yes, it is beautifully shot in crisp black and white and looks like an Ansel Adams photography montage or better. But it’s a total waste of time. This morning, when I was doing my weekly movie reviews on SiriusXM Patriot Channel’s “Mike Church Show,” I was feeling generous and gave this movie A QUARTER TO A HALF REAGAN. But I was outta my mind in being so nice. This really deserves at the very least . . .


Watch the trailer . . .

Don’t forget to hear my movie reviews first thing every Friday morning on “The Mike Church Show” on SiriusXM Patriot Channel 125 after 7:05 am Eastern and on “The Pat Campbell Show” on KFAQ 1170 AM Tulsa at 7:35 am Eastern. I do my movie reviews on both, as well as some discussion of current political issues and pop culture topics on both shows.

8 Responses

I believe the term is, “hanged herself.”

gizz on December 6, 2014 at 11:37 am

That’s two more must-skipped movies. Thank you Debbie for once again seeing and enduring crappy movies so that we don’t have to.

I want to ote one thing that appears in the trailer for “The Homesman”. At 1:38 of the trailer appears the following blurb: “‘Hillary Swank’s best role since “Million Dollar Baby”.’–Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter.” How fitting since that movie also sucked as the movie was fraudulent. Debbie explained as to how this was so.

JeffE on December 7, 2014 at 5:11 pm

That should be:

“I want to note one thing…”

JeffE on December 7, 2014 at 7:12 pm

If I saw TLJ choking on a piece of chicken in a restaurant, I’d give him more chicken.

DS_ROCKS! on December 7, 2014 at 11:36 pm

Tommy Lee Jones does two things well—his wrinkles worsen while he is on screen in actual time, and he was Algore’s College Roommate.

Nothing said about his acting skills? Right.

Occam's Tool on December 8, 2014 at 1:15 am

For the record, Malick made two very good films in the 70s…(Badlands, Days of Heaven).

Vivian on December 8, 2014 at 2:59 pm

Can’t stand looking at TLJ. Too many wrinkles. What happened to the attractive actors of the 1930’s, 1940’s, and 1950’s? It is still a pleasure looking at attractive actors not the wimps of today.

Look at this guy who used to play in Cheyenne TV Show of the 1950’s. No one like him around today:

Fred on December 10, 2014 at 8:05 am

What did I just read? I’m speaking of DS’ review of the Hillary Swank/Tommy Lee Jones flick? I like very dour films (they are my favourite!!) but that one is even beyond me! I can’t even wrap my brain around the retarded plot. The weirdest plot I ever heard of. It sounded “feminist”. No wonder it was such a bummer. Tommy Lee Jones is like 9,000 years old! What a whack flick.

(One of my all-time fav movies is “Back Roads”. Tommy Lee Jones and Sally Field. I love it so much. When I see old TLJ now I just think about how that little gem was made a billion years ago in 1980. Anyway, it’s a guilty pleasure of mine but maybe not a real GP because I dig it so much and am not embarrassed by it).

DS is right about that crashing bore Malick. I tried to get thru’ “Tree Of Life” and just couldn’t. Cement walls are more exciting.

At least I saw the Isis-freak-beheader. Guaranteed LOLOL!

Skunky on December 10, 2014 at 7:23 pm

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