A few weeks ago, Warners came out with "Sam Peckinpah's Legendary Westerns Collection", dvd set that includes "The Wild Bunch", "The Ballad of Cable Hogue", "Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid" and the movie I really want to recommend to you (all five of you) "Ride The High Country".
This movie stars Joel McCrea (who rules in Preston Sturges' "Sullivan's Travels"but mainly wanted to do Westerns) and Randolph Scott (the Wayne to Budd Boetticher's John Ford and so associated with Westerns in general, his name alone was enough for a great punchline in Mel Brooks' "Blazing Saddles") as two ex-lawmen out to do one last job protecting a mining payroll (and Mariette Hartley!) in the Sierra Nevadas.
Peckinpah loved making eulogies for the West, and the Western. Especially in "Wild Bunch" and "Ride", men are always completing one last job before retiring. But the earlier "Ride" has a strong moral sense what's right and what's wrong that helps to ground the film in the audiences heart. As much has I loved "Wild Bunch", the bloody chaos at the climax of the film, even though it is justified as revenge that's being taken for the Bunch's friend having his throat cut by Mapache, doesn't ring as true to me as much as McCrea wanting to "enter his house justified", as he puts his moral code.
Maybe "bunch" is a younger man's film and "Ride" is an older man's film. Which is weird because a younger Peckinpah made the earlier film and and older Peckinpah made "Bunch".
Rent or buy this one if you haven't seen it.
Currently listening to...
1) "Piano Jazz: Costello/McPartland"- Elvis Costello and Marian McPartland. Listening to this episode of the NPR series on CD is like hearing a conversation between a cool friend and your British aunt who plays awesome jazz piano. "Almost Blue" (natch), covers of "You Don't Know What Love Is", "At Last", and discussions of Chet Baker, Georgie Fame, and Costello's dad, who was a big band singer. Great stuff.
2)"Get Away From Me" - Nellie McKay. Yeah, I know I'm getting on the band wagon for this singer-songwriter/prodigy a little late... but wow, is she good. Like a cross between Harry Nilsson and Rickie Lee Jones ( a description that mystifies me even as I write it), no track on this CD is the same as the one that proceeded it! Anyone who makes one CD, and then is cast in a revival of "The Threepenny Opera" with Alan Cummings and Cyndi Lauper, has to be amazing. And she is.
3) "Hunky Dory"- David Bowie. Or Bowie when he was folky-ish. Contains "Changes" and "Life On Mars" and funny liner notes. Made in the sixties, man.