Tag Archives: James Garner

GOOD RUN OF BAD LUCK: FRONTIERADO SONG

Recently I reviewed the 1994 movie Maverick since Frontierado is coming up on Friday, August 3rd. Here’s the Clint Black song and official video for Good Run of Bad Luck complete with scenes from the Maverick movie. 

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MAVERICK (1994): MOVIE REVIEW

MASCOT COWBOY 2FRONTIERADO IS COMING UP ON FRIDAY, AUGUST 3rd! As always the Frontierado holiday (now celebrated on 6 continents) is about the myth of the Wild West, not the grinding reality. It’s just like the way medieval festivals celebrate the era’s romantic aspects, not “the violence inherent in the system” (for my fellow Monty Python fans).

MaverickMAVERICK (1994) – Richard Donner directed and Mel Gibson starred in this excellent tribute to the 1950s and 1980s Maverick television series. The original series starred James Garner as slick-talking gambler/ gunslinger Bret Maverick AND, in old-age makeup, as “Pappy” Beauregard Maverick, the gambler and con-man patriarch of that family of rogues.  (No relation to the real-life Maverick family of Texas, for whom “maverick” cattle were named.)

Maverick was just as often comedic as dramatic and nicely anticipated the many deconstructions of Old West mythology that were to come in the decades ahead. Sometimes the program was daringly farcical as in episodes like Gun-Shy, a spoof of Gunsmoke, and Three Queens Full, a Bonanza parody set on the Sub-Rosa Ranch (as opposed to Bonanza‘s PONDErosa). The storyline featured Maverick encountering a Ben Cartwright-styled rancher and his three less-than-straight sons, hence the episode’s title.

The original series centered on Garner’s Bret Maverick (and later other Maverick family members) vying in cardplaying and con-games with assorted rival gamblers, gunslingers and con-men. Elaborate schemes and multiple double-crosses often kept viewers guessing who would come out on top til the very end, since Bret sometimes ended up on the losing side. 

The constant betrayals and double-crosses were part of the charm of the television series and were perfectly captured by the 1994 big-screen adaptation of Maverick. This thoroughly enjoyable film is often dismissed as just another of the pointless movie adaptations of tv shows that began to flood theaters back then, but that is far from the truth.

Maverick 2Mel Gibson portrays Bret Maverick since by 1994 James Garner was too old for the role. Jodie Foster co-stars as rival gambler Annabelle Bransford and the iconic James Garner provides memorable support as a lawman. 

NECESSARY SPOILER: Many people that I’ve discussed this movie with said they avoided it or stopped watching it once they realized Garner was not portraying a member of the Maverick family. In reality – as we learn near the very end – he IS. He may have been too old to play Bret this time around but he reprised his role of Pappy Beauregard from the original series. Pappy is just POSING as a lawman and his son Bret obligingly plays along without blowing his Pappy’s cover. Continue reading

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JAMES GARNER: R.I.P.

James Garner 2The one and only James Garner (1928-2014) passed away yesterday. Best remembered for his portrayal of slick-talking gambler Brett Maverick and Westlake-esque private detective Jim Rockford, Garner inspired the term “marshmallow macho”. That description perfectly captured Garner’s special place in the history of male role models (as much as I usually hate the expression “role models”) in the larger culture.

James GarnerFor so many American males James Garner and the characters he brought to life represented a happy medium between psychotically macho Clint Eastwood types and the hopelessly femmey Alan Alda types. Garner’s film roles are often overlooked but Balladeer’s Blog will make a point of examining them in the months ahead. In addition Garner served in the Korean War and won two Purple Hearts.

This man was a true original and with his passing he may finally receive all of the acclaim that he always deserved.  

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