Wild Wild West

July 2, 2001

At the video store Saturday night I decided we should rent something really bad, try to find something to join Exorcist II et al in the Pantheon of Bad. We settled on Wild, Wild West. It wasn’t Bad, just bad; but it was a Bad Mistake to rent that sucker. First of all, everyone involved in that movie should have known better. Well, except maybe Salma Hayek. It was jaw-droppingly bad. The writing, directing, acting, pacing, special effects, score, sound design, lighting design, costume design – all bad. So bad I kept having to rewind the tape because I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The opening sequence – the sequence that is supposed to suck you in and set the tone of the movie – SUCKED. That’s not a good start at all. And it was downhill from there.

Does it have rewatchability? Hell no. We shut it off after 45 minutes and went to bed. We never even bothered to finish it on Sunday. It was just so damn sloppy. Personal favorite bad moment: Will Smith stops a horse-drawn wagon full of nitroglycerin just as it skids up to a cliff. He’s, of course, hanging off the edge of the cliff. He gets the horses to back up and turns around to face the deep ravine he just nearly plummeted into. He looks across the chasm at the saloon, spots his nemesis, and then walks straight toward the saloon. As in straight across the chasm? Is he Wiley Coyote all of a sudden? You can hear his footsteps as he leaves the frame, proving that everyone involved cared so little about the movie that they forgot that there was a cliff, apparently. And that they didn’t care enough to Foley the sounds of boots walking on dirt. Yes, his footsteps are hardsoles walking on a tile or other hard surface. It’s very very jarring. If you don’t care enough to ensure a little continuity why should I care enough to finish your movie?

Director Barry Sonnenfield should have known better. Before you point out that he was Executive Producer of the short-lived Fantasy Island remake let me point out that he was also EP of the fabulous and short-lived show Maximum Bob. He should have known better.

I was really worried I wouldn’t be able to get through this entry without typing the word “ergo”, but I made it.

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