With A Million Ways to Die in the West, is Liam Neeson picking up where he left off in The Lego Movie?
The New York Post’s Kyle Smith didn’t change my mind about giving A Million Ways to Die in the West the skip. For one thing, I don’t believe Seth MacFarlane can demonstrate “a wider comic imagination” than Mel Brooks did in Blazing Saddles. I don’t believe MacFarlane believes it either. Got to say, though, it was gutsy of him to invite the comparison by making his second big screen directorial effort a parody Western. But Smith’s review did make me consider changing my mind and who knows what the weekend will bring.
At his best, MacFarlane delivers funny new takes on the strangest aspects of frontier life — the weirdly stiff photos, the constant accidents, the shoddy medicine, the dances — and the movies about same. The score (by Joel McNeely) is a ringer for ’60s cowpoke epics, and MacFarlane has a brilliant tip on how to survive a saloon brawl. Through the eyes of a comic master, even boredom can be funny: In olden days, “there’s only, like, three songs, and they’re all by Stephen Foster.”
I’m curious about that tip on surviving a saloon brawl which I hope doesn’t involve breaking through the wall of the set and having the whole cast spill out onto a sound stage where Dom DeLuise is directing a Busby Berkleyesque musical.
And A Million Ways to Die in the West features Liam Neeson as a comic bad guy. After what he did with Bad Cop/Good Cop in The Lego Movie, I’m thinking he may have taken his career in yet another surprising direction.
Plus, I’m still not sure I made the right choice skipping Ted.
Read Smith’s whole review ‘A Million Ways to Die in the West’ is a worthy Western sendup at the New York Post.