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The A.V. Club - TVDec 13, 2017
'Hell yes,' Rian Johnson wants to see more diversity among Star Wars directors
The Star Wars franchise is one of the biggest in film history, which means the opportunity to helm one of its installments is both quite a boon, and a significant show of confidence in the filmmaker''s ability. Unfortunately, those chances have, to date, been offered exclusively to white male directors. This, despite …


“Hell yes,” Rian Johnson wants to see more diversity among Star Wars directors (AV Club Films)

Roger Ebert Movie ReviewsDec 13, 2017
A New Frontier: Bill Pullman and Jared Moshe on 'The Ballad of Lefty Brown'

The opening scenes of 'The Ballad of Lefty Brown' will no doubt seem familiar and comfortable to any viewer with even the slightest working knowledge of the Western film genre. In them, we see legendary lawman Eddie Johnson (Peter Fonda) dispensing his own brand of justice to yet another outlaw. With him is Lefty Brown (Bill Pullman), his longtime friend and sidekick, and while the 65-year-old Lefty isn''t much good at most things, Eddie is nevertheless loyal to him, even going so far as to considering leaving his ranch in Lefty''s care while he goes off to Washington to serve as the newly elected Senator from the state on Montana. This is a decision that Eddie''s wife (Kathy Baker) does not approve of at all, fearing that Lefty, good-natured as he may be, is not cut out for such a responsibility and will run the entire thing into the ground. Like I said, you have seen this kind of setup before in any number of Westerns populated with larger-than-life heroic types like John Wayne and cantankerous goofballs like Walter Brennan or Gabby Hayes alongside him—but all of that ends just a few minutes into the movie when putative hero Eddie is shot dead and Lefty determines that he will assume the heroic role and bring his friend''s killer to justice, no matter how ill-equipped he may be for that duty.

Written and directed by Jared Moshe, who also helmed the 2012 Western 'Dead Man''s Burden,' 'The Ballad of Lefty Brown' is a solidly entertaining film that starts off as a sort of intriguing commentary on the beloved genre tropes (what would happen, after all, if Gabby Hayes was forced to take center stage instead of remaining in the margins throughout?). As Lefty gradually transforms from sidekick to hero, the movie transforms itself into a straightforward example of the Western genre that hasn''t been seen in a while—exciting, funny, sincere, and beautifully filmed in the great outdoors of Montana on 35mm. Moshe's film is also filled with nifty performances from a supporting cast that also includes Jim Caviezel and Tommy Flanagan as former colleagues of Lefty who want to track him down before he gets into too much trouble and Diego Josef as the young man who eventually steps into the role of Lefty''s own sidekick. Best of all, however, is Bill Pullman, whose performance as Lefty is right up there alongside his work in the cult favorite 'Zero Effect' as one of the very best of his entire career. He may be a goof but you can instantly understand what a man like Eddie would see in him and when Lefty is forced by circumstances to finally grow up and assert himself, his transformation is both endearing and absolutely convincing. 

While visiting Chicago in order to present 'The Ballad of Lefty Brown,' at the Chicago International Film Festival, Pullman and Moshe sat down with me to talk about the film, playing with genre conventions and the elements that go into making a great Western sidekick.

I have noticed that for the most part, Western movies tend to fall under one of two particular approaches. For a long time, you had the classic take in which the stories were told in a straightforward and direct manner—something like 'Stagecoach,' for example. In recent years, on the other hand, you have had Westerns that are oftentimes films that are about Westerns

The Ballad of Lefty Brown (Metacritic Movie Reviews)
A quirky Bill Pullman lights up the ho-hum Western The Ballad Of Lefty Brown (AV Club Films)
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