I have mixed feelings about historical movies “based” on a true story. I’m not really a purist when it comes to adapting novels or comics to films. But some distortions of history I can’t stomach. Disney’s Pocahontas for example. On the other hand, other distortions I rather enjoy. Such as tonight’s guilty pleasure. I’m no expert, but I’m fairly certain that the only similarity Young Guns II has to actual historical events are some names. That doesn’t stop me from loving it.
Maybe it’s because I first saw it when I was too young to know better. Maybe it’s because it’s not a period/geographic area of history on which I’m an expert. Maybe it’s because it’s fully of attractive men. … Yeah, that’s definitely a factor.
All I really know is there is something about this movie that’s like a can of cream cheese frosting in the back of the refrigerator. I know it’s no good, but I can’t help myself.
I definitely prefer Young Guns II to the original. Strange, I know, since sequels are generally regarded as inferior. It might simply be because I saw the sequel first, but I suspect the real reason is Christian Slater. He’s not in the first movie and that is a sad, sad thing. I have a theory that nearly every movie can be improved with the addition of Christian Slater. (An old roommate and I once came to the conclusion that the only thing that would make the Lord of the Rings trilogy even better would be if it had included Christian Slater as Aragorn’s skeezy roommate from college. Think about the prospect and try not to smile.) Much to Cammy’s amusement, I’m kind of in love with George Strait’s song about Arkansas Dave, just because it allows me to picture Slater’s character from this film.
But it’s not just Christian Slater. This movie falls into a category with a handful of films (The Outsiders, School Ties, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy) for being so full of hot men that it’s almost painful. Kiefer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Philips, Emilio Estevez, Balthazar Getty… Look for Aragorn himself in a small part and Jon Bon Jovi in a bit part. And they’re all riding around on horses and shooting things. Could it be hotter? Also, I love the score. I mean I like the Bon Jovi music from and inspired by album, but I love the score.
How much do I love this guilty pleasure? I own the DVD, the Bon Jovi CD was one of the first I ever purchased and I can sing all the songs. I can recite Chavez’s entire speech about his family being wiped out (and I get misty eyed every time).
But yeah, I do it all with a bit of guilt. Because on some level I do recognize that this is not really a good movie. But that won’t keep me from watching it.