Friday, June 02, 2006

Robert Duvall's "Hub " McCann & "Gus" Mc Rae...The Former a Mere Shadow of the Latter

I'm not a big movie buff. It's not an elitist thing. I hardly ever watch PBS or listen to NPR radio. I prefer the "Law & Order" series on the tube and my rather eclectic collection of music stored on my laptop and piped through my stereo system for listening pleasure. Right now I'm listening to "The Eagles" as I type this. Did I just say "type this"? I did. What do you call it when you compose something on a computer instead of a typewriter. "Keyboard this"? "Compute this"? I'll stay with"type this".

Last night I watched the 2003 release"Secondhand Lions" on DVD. That's how current I am in my movie viewing. Number 1 Son has already seen "The Davinci Code". Anyhow, my Mom had gotten it from a friend and thought I may enjoy it. I did, but throughout the movie I had a feeling of "deja vu".

Watching Robert Duvall's portrayal of Uncle "Hub" McCann with Michael Caine's playing Uncle "Garth" McCann was reminiscent Duvall's character Ranger Augustus "Gus" McRae with Tommy Lee Jones's playing Ranger Woodrow F. Call in the classic 1989 T.V. mini-series, "Lonesome Dove", based on the novel of the same name by Larry McMurtry. (Sidebar: Now that is an example of a run-on sentence if there ever was one.) It was not that the names of the characters were so similar. I wonder if that was intentional, an inside joke, because the characters were so similar, the same.

But, not really the same. Lions's "Hub" McCann's character paled in comparison with that of Dove's" Gus" McRae. I will never forget many of the "Gusisms" so skillfully delivered by Duvall. (Example: Gus to Woodrow during the cattle drive north: "If we don't know where we're going, how do we know when we get there?") The Duvall/Jones pairing and banter also bettered that of Duvall/Caine. Who, if they have seen "Lonesome Dove", can ever forget "Gus" going to see "Lori, Darlin" for a little "poke".

"Lonesome Dove" is one of the few things I preserved on video tape in the pre-DVD era, and the only one I have watched several times over the years. It's that good. I confess, I never read the book. Could it be better?

So, for all my young readers out there (all 3 0f you), I suggest you rent it some weekend and sit back with a lot of popcorn and Coca-Cola and enjoy a true classic. I don't recommend beer, only because I don't want you to miss a thing in this wonderful mini-series.


Anonymous George said...

I just watched Secondhand Lions and found your post after searching to see if anyone else noticed the similarities to Lonesome Dove. I really liked the movie, but of course it can't compare to Lonesome Dove, one of my all-time favorites. I don't think it's really trying to compete, but I think the parallels are deliberate -- the old adventurers settling down on a Texas ranch and finding it not quite satisfying, the hand-painted signs leading into the place, Duvall's character's name, and the pig.

The Lonesome Dove book is excellent too. Definitely worth a read.

January 03, 2009  

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