Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Dark Times Out West

Began a lovely, sunny day with breakfast and Laverne & Shirley. I still haven't gotten around to watching more than half of the third season episodes. Having enjoyed running through Happy Days, I figured it was finally time to finish these off, starting with "Tag Team Wrestling." Laverne's more than happy to do a wrestling event for charity with a friend of hers...but when the friend doesn't show, Shirley takes over. And then, Laverne realizes they're wrestling the woman she'd insulted when she cut her off on the road earlier...

Spent most of the morning writing. The residents of the Cottage have begun preparing for their Block Party and the end-of-the-summer surfing contest. Sabine designs posters. Those who own businesses, or know business owners, display them in their windows. Luke and the Rogues make "stop motion" commercials for the community bulletin board and the local drive-in with Poe's toys and a borrowed camera. Ezra and his Ewok kid buddies from the Endor Estates development hand out flyers. Hank and Charlie work on their idea for the Boat Pageant.

Leia is busy leading all this and pestering the City Council into looking at Empire Industries' plans. Hank finally corrals her as he and Charlie help her repair the damages the Imperial Gang did on Jyn and Cassian's cottage. He wants to take her out to dinner. She tries to turn him down. She doesn't have the time. He wears her down by suggesting they discuss the Boat Pageant. All right, she long as it's just business.

Broke at 1 for lunch and to get ready for work. Laverne's in a bind when the handsome, rich man who is dating Shirley also asks her out. She turns him down flat, but doesn't know how to explain he's a rover. When Shirley sees him trying again, she jumps to the wrong conclusion. They have an argument, before Shirley finally realizes what a sleaze the guy is. They make "The Pact" to never let a man come between them again.

Work was absolutely no problem whatsoever. I briefly took a look at the bathroom when I got in and gathered baskets, but I was mainly outside. Just as well. It was too nice to be inside. The weather was sunny, warm, and dry, probably in the lower-mid 80's, with a nice breeze. Actually slightly cool for this time of year. It was on-and-off steady all day, though never really overwhelming. I dodged the guy painting the yellow stripes on the curbs around the store and rounded up carts. Went home via Audubon Park, the development across the street, just to enjoy the day.

When I got in, I changed and had leftovers for dinner while continuing with Laverne & Shirley. A dubious lawyer encourages Laverne to put out a "Robot Lawsuit" on a toy company when their new robot attacks her and hurts her neck. Her neck recovers in time for the trial, but the lawyer wants her to ask for $100,000 anyway. The toy company ends up counter-suing.

Played more Lego Star Wars: Clone Wars after dinner. Redid "Defenders of the Peace" first. Held out long enough to pick up a ton more studs and a minikit piece. Did even better with "Storm Over Ryloth." I was able to get two more minikit pieces and more than a hundred million studs!

Finished the night with The Searchers. Ethan Edwards (John Wayne), just home from the Civil War, is living with his brother and his family. He helps his neighbor Lars Jorgenson (John Qualen) search for cattle, only to discover that the theft was a ruse. A Comanche tribe has burned his brother's home, killed most of his family, and kidnapped the two girls. He, the girls' adopted brother Martin (Jeffery Hunter) and Jorgenson's son Brad (Harry Carey Jr.) go after the Indians, only to find Lucy dead. Brad tries riding into the Indian camp and gets killed as well. They follow the trail for several years, discovering that a now-grown Debbie (Natalie Wood) has been taken into the Nawyecka band by its chief Scar. She's one of his wives, and to Ethan's horror, she'd rather stay with them. Martin protects her from Ethan's rage. Ethan's determined to bring Debbie home, whether she wants to go or not.

Whoa. An intense and beautifully shot western. One of John Wayne's finest performances. Despite my stepfather's love of Wayne, I don't remember seeing this one as a kid. He generally preferred Wayne's knockabout 60's comedies to his darker western dramas from the 50's. The treatment of the Native Americans here is interesting. They do terrible things...but so do the white men, and they have a dignity that makes it entirely easy to understand why Debbie wants to stay. Amazing cinematography, too. The stark desert vistas really stand out in the VistaVision widescreen format.

If you're a fan of Wayne or classic westerns, or only know Wayne from those later comedies like Dad, you owe yourself to see this one. Very highly recommended.

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