Best of… Series – 1980 – Bronco Billy
This was a perfect lazy Sunday afternoon movie. Bronco Billy is a nice slice of Americana with a perfect setting and a great cast of characters. The film’s rural setting really makes the movie what it is. The atmosphere, mood, and locations give the film a very calming tone. When Eastwood’s character states he never wants to go back to the city, it’s easy to see why. Even as these people struggle financially to get from day to day, it doesn’t feel like a struggle as they really have fun with what they have. The characters, mostly a group of reformed criminals, are doing their best to make their second chances right. They are still very flawed, but they look out for each other, and they make a genuine family. The film’s plot centers around a rich girl from the city who finds herself accidentally involved with the group, and even she seems to fit in naturally (for the most part).
The film does suffer ever so slightly from an overused love plotline. The rich girl from the city comes along and is the polar opposite of the rough, poor cowboy. They hate each other but, of course, as they get to know each other, sparks fly and they fall in love. It’s an extremely tired storyline, but it’s covered up rather nicely by the aforementioned strengths. I believe Eastwood has called this one of his favorite movies, and it does feel very personal. He gives us characters that look like a sad bunch of losers from the outside, who at times do some strange things, but they live life as best they know how, and they do a lot of good along the way. 10/10
9/29/11 Update: I’m not sure I’ve stopped thinking about this movies since seeing it. I’ve decided this is some sort of strange masterpiece of perfection.