Drunken Misconduct: 7/10
If you’re like me, then you are extremely good-looking and have an appetite for Molson Canadian(made with that pure and clean Canadian spring water). You also probably saw this title and immediately thought about The Simpsons episode where Homer and Bart are caught completely by surprise when they rent Paint Your Wagon and find it to be a musical with Clint Eastwood. I’ll admit, I didn’t think it was a real movie back when I saw that, but a couple of years ago I found it and tried to watch it with my friends. If I recall, I was asleep within 20 minutes and missed the next 2 hours and 20 minutes (It’s a long one!) as a result of some drinkin’, so I never had the full experience….until now!
Lee Marvin, playing the character of Ben, stumbles upon Clint Eastwood and his dead brother in a ravine. He kindly buries Clint’s brother, and in the process discovers that there is gold in that thar grave! Claiming his stake in the land, Ben makes Clint his partner, and their relationship begins. As the town of “No Name” begins to fill up and become a total sausage fest, Ben and Clint (known only as “Pardner” throughout the entire movie) prosper well enough to stay put, and they form a bond through mutual respect and understanding(Clint gets money for taking care of drunken Ben). When a Mormon comes to town with 2 wives, the townsfolk go ballistic and the Mormon decides to sell one of his wives to the highest bidder. Ben, in his drunken drunkiness, doubles whatever the bid is and then passes out cold, waking up a man married to the only woman in 90 miles.
After the pressure of being the only guy getting it daily nightly and ever so rightly gets to Ben, the town has a meeting to decide what to do about his violent behavior. Since giving up the drink is out of the question, the town decides to kidnap some prostitutes and transform “No Name” into a boomtown(a place of drinking/gambling/fun). Meanwhile, Clint falls in love with Ben’s wife, and she suggests that they can live happily as man and man and wife. After all, she’s a polygamist. They agree, and their partnership continues to thrive as much as the town around them does. With winter quickly approaching, though, they need to find a way to continue mining so that they have enough money to last them. They come up with the brilliant plan of mining tunnels underneath the city to collect the gold dust that people continually drop, and guess what? It works!
While the men are busy digging an elaborate system of tunnels under every shop and house in No Name, a group of Christian farmers are found in the woods and are taken in by the town. Ben and Clint’s wife, Elizabeth, takes in a family to care for during the winter, but suddenly is ashamed of her double-matrimonial lifestyle(as if she is not the one who suggested polygamy in the first place). Tensions grow between Ben, Clint, and Elizabeth until Ben gets kicked out of his own house, and being the good partner that he is, Clint follows. To get their minds off of their female trouble, they decide to dig a tunnel under the arena where the local “Bear vs. Bull” match will be, and the real trouble soon begins. As a priest is condemning the town for a whole bunch of reasons, he claims that God is going to swallow up the town, and wouldn’t you know it? All of the tunnels begin to collapse (aided by an angry bull) and the town of No Name sinks into the ground, building by building. Ben decides its time to move on, and gives his wife to Clint for realsies. Everybody is happy except for the countless people who probably died in the cave-ins. Yee-haw!
I really didn’t think I would enjoy it as much as I did, but it was entertaining enough to keep invested for the whole thing. If fact, the only parts that really lost me were the songs, most of which are out-of-place or unmemorable. I did like one song called “Gold Fever”, as sang by Clint, and any song Lee Marvin did was pretty funny, but on the whole they distracted me from the movie. I will say that I wish there was a more involved story, as everything just sort of drifts from one plot line to the next, but I understand that the comedy of the ridiculous situations was the main goal, so it’s forgiven. If you like western musicals, then give it a try. If not, then this will only serve to ruin your perceptions of Clint Eastwood.
Thanks to Giorgio for the non-Prince related suggestion, as well as for his continued support. Have a good one and keep watching those bad movies…they are where the flavor is.