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May 7, 2011

Movie Review: The Last Rites of Ransom Pride (2010)

Sometimes actors make indie features because they need the money. Sometimes they make indie features because they believe in the project. And sometimes they make indie features because the director has photos of them engaged in coitus with some sort of farm animal or a dead body. I prefer to think that's how director Tiller Russell was able to get such marginal Star Power as Kris Kristofferson and Peter Dinklage to make (ultimately) pointless cameos in his pet project "The Last Rites of Ransom Pride".

Buy The Last Rites of Ransom Pride on DVD or Blu-ray

I picked this one up on the cheap due both to the blurb on the back - something I never do - and the cast list. In addition to Kristofferson and Dinklage, the film "stars" Dwight Yoakum, Scott Speedman, and Jason Priestly - although I have to admit I don't recall seeing Priestly in the film at all. To be fair, I was pretty numb about halfway through the film, so for all I know there could have been a scene where a circus elephant sodomizes a hippie and I probably wouldn't remember. 

Like I said, it sounded good on the back of the box. Ransom Pride is gunned down in the street, and his girlfriend has to enlist the help of his brother and a circus troupe to get his corpse from the witch who's stolen it. Meanwhile, Ransom's father, who is an ex-gunslinger/outlaw-turned-preacher, gets drunk and chases them down to kill the girl. At the same time, Kris Kristofferson, who's only personality trait seems to be that he likes naked hookers sitting on his lap, sends a couple of buffoons who hate each other to kill the girlfriend as well. At least, that's what I think happens. It's kind of difficult to remember everything in this film because there came a point, about 7 or 8 minutes after the opening credits, where I just didn't care. 

Honestly, the idea of the film isn't too terrible. The main problem with it is the direction and the writing. It's an over-saturated, jerky, hyper-stylized mess with terrible dialogue and bizarre scene choices. For instance, as soon as a scene is over we are assaulted by a bunch of quick moments edited together from the scene we JUST WATCHED, but they are all in reverse like the scene is unwinding. But it's on every scene. It gets old very very quickly. Then there's the bizarre choice of focusing on two characters having pointless discussions as they ride together to kill the girl, but she guns them down, and one of them hates the other so much that, instead of shooting back at the girl, he kills his "partner" just before he dies. It's not a bad gag, but it takes way too long to get to and is just boring. 

Which brings us to the script. It plays like a first draft. Tiller Russell and Raye Wylie Hubbard needed another few rewrites before this was even ready to be read by an actor, much less filmed. It's full of cliches and banal conversations, and most of it goes nowhere. And the more regrettable the dialogue, the more gravitas the "actors" have in delivering it. 

There really is no reason to ever see this movie. The performances are bad, the direction is bad, it's uninteresting to look at, it's not even fun, and it's instantly forgettable. In fact, I'm doing something with this movie that I've never done before - removing it from my collection. Yes, it's that bad.

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