WARNING: This post contains spoilers and explicit language. Reader discretion is advised!
I want you to imagine you are watching a film. The final scene is playing out. The last word is uttered, the characters smile/cry as the sun rises/sets on the day/week. The credits start to roll and you’re left with this feeling that you can’t quite understand. You feel empty. Let down. Disappointed.
No? You can’t imagine it? You lie like a cheap rug, my friends! Of course you can! We’ve all been there. Now imagine years later, you think to yourself, “Maybe I judged that film too quickly.” Maybe you were having an off night; you weren’t at top performance. So you decide, “Okay, I’m gonna call this movie and ask to see it again.” Perhaps this time there will be sparks and you’ll feel satisfied.
That’s what I am here to do, nerds. I’m here to give those once ugly films a second chance at impressing me.
The Blind Date:
I first met 3:10 to Yuma a few years ago. It was a different time for me. I was what you call a “looker.” So while I was spending time with 3:10, I was thinking about the other movies that were out there. What they were wearing (i.e. sci-fi, horror, and the one that really gets me hot, political thriller! YOWZA!). Yet here I was, spending time with a new young thang who was wearing an old, dusty dress that reeked of New Mexico.
My first impression was not comfortable. She took time to tell her troubling story, and at moments I found some interesting highlights but I found myself hung up on one small detail: the bad guy, Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) grows a conscience in literally five minutes and turns his back on everything he was built up to be!
For those of you that don’t know, 3:10 to Yuma is a remake of the 1957 Glenn Ford film that brought the western film back to the forefront of modern audiences. It tells the story of the Dan Evans (Christian Bale), a Civil War vet with a missing leg who is a joke to his family. His son William (Logan Lerman) believes his father is gutless and unable to follow through with anything. William also idolizes the outlaws in the pulp novels, especially those of Ben Wade.
Dan is behind on loans to a local money man, and is on the verge of losing his land. Yet when Dan is offered the chance to take Wade to catch a train to Yuma prison and be hung, Dan jumps at the chance to not only get the money to buy his land outright, but also show his son and his family that he can be hero.
As 3:10 is telling me this story, I find myself saddened by this man who is seen as an underachiever to his family. I want to comfort 3:10 with a hug. However, that’s when she keeps talking and she explains that in the finale, Ben and Dan are in a hotel room. They are biding their time until the train comes around the corner. Ben’s men, specifically Ben’s number two man Charlie Prince (Ben Foster), are just waiting for Ben and his “captors” to come on out. A shoot-out is imminent, and I am rock-hard and ready to call for the check and take her back to my place. Ben is telling Dan that he’ll pay him off and they can go their separate ways. William is thinking Ben is right. Take the money and run.
I am seriously about to explode in my pants.
Dan tells William that he is going to take Ben to the station, and getting him on that train. There is a silent exchange between William and Dan; it’s a moment that’s long been coming and it’s touching. It’s at this point, I am now less aroused and wanting to give 3:10 another hug and some ice cream, but still think of propositioning sympathy sex.
Dan sends William off and takes Ben. It’s the showdown. One of the best shootouts since Wyatt Earp. Ben and Dan make their way through the town, guns firing. Charlie looks to get his boss freed. Dan and Ben make their way into a small room and then this is when it takes a weird turn. Held up in a room, Ben says it’s over.
“It’s over Dan!”
“I’m getting you on that train.”
Ben knocks Dan to the ground. They wrestle. Ben gets the upper hand and starts to choke Dan. Here it is! The bad guy wins in the western, this is new and I have never wanted 3:10 more. Then all of a sudden, Dan says that he was never a hero to his son. The leg was blown off from friendly fire as he was retreating from battle. Ben takes a moment and agrees to help Ben get him to the train.
HOLD THE FUCKING PHONE!
ARE YOU SERIOUS!
Ben Wade, has literally killed people with no remorse and just because Dan is looking to change the image of himself to his son, this… THIS is what stops the cold blooded murderer! Now I’m feeling cheated and flaccid.
After our dinner, I gave 3:10 the usual “I’ll call you” and I went home to find myself alone, in the dark and searching the internet for something to cure my loneliness, and no I am not talking about QVC.
The 2nd Date:
A few years have gone by. Now a bit older, I think about 3:10. I remember her telling me the part about the amazing shootout and how well Bale and Crowe performed. I remember how much conviction she has as she tells just how the kid from Flash Forward is one of the best things of her story. Maybe I was too harsh. Maybe she deserves a second chance.
I gave her a call, expecting her to reject me and tell me to take a long walk of a short pier. To my surprise, she wishes to see me again. She’s willing to give me a second chance. I can tell she has some excitement in her voice. I think she’s missed me more than she’s letting on.
The date begins as it did before, small talk about coming attractions in our lives. It’s the same conversation, but I find myself entranced by it. It’s then I notice that she is wearing the same dress (dusty, old, and that same New Mexico smell), yet this time I notice something different about it. It seems more fresh, more inviting, more engrossing. 3:10 is more captivating this time; she tells the same story but with a different cadence. What was once slow and dry, is now strong and deliberate.
The night’s going well, and I start to feel a twinge in my stomach. Here comes that same ending again. The old me steps in, ready to call this dinner off and say:
“Fuck you! Don’t feed me that bullshit!”
I hold my tongue. I wait it out. A funny thing happens: that feeling never comes. I never feel angry, because as I am listening I find that what I missed the first time was that what changes Wade, is that he doesn’t want William to be like him.
HOLY SHIT! A REVELATION!
Prior to the massive shootout, Wade admits to being rotten to the core and being left by his father. It’s this moment that we find the truth behind Wade’s need to help Dan complete his task and get on that train. Just like that, 3:10makes sense to me. She’s poignant, beautiful, and wonderful.
As she tells the final scene of Dan dying, William seeing his father as a hero and Wade riding off to a prison he’s once escaped, I find myself asking for the check and wondering if she wants to have “dessert.”
As I say goodbye to 3:10 the morning after (mad props over here!), I tell her that I’ll call later to hang out. I mean it this time.
In all seriousness, the second time around provided a better experience, where I would actually place 3:10 to Yuma on my top ten of favorite movies. If you haven’t seen it, I implore you to. It’s the western we’ve been waiting for.
Verdict:Will watch it monthly when I need to get that old west fix.
Until Next Time…