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The AlamoThe Alamo

Starring: Dennis Quaid, Billy Bob Thornton, Patrick Wilson, Jason Patric, Emilio Echevarria, and Jordi Molla.
Directed by: John Lee Hancock


Bluntly speaking? In this case, forget The Alamo…buy a Ken Burns historical film instead. This bloated bore of a film has the audacity to call itself an epic? Poodle poo I say! Fancy costumes and a barrage of actors in American iconic roles does not a masterpiece make folks.

And for those of us non-card carrying members of the American Historical Society — but whose blood flows a brilliant shade of red-white-and-blue none-the-less — this film treats us like the "special" students in the back of the room. It plops us down mid-way in heated turmoil over the city of San Antonio and the future of Texas' state of union, with a kind of "You have to know all about our fine feathered past to play" attitude...um, no. That's why we paid to see the film bucko.

We stretch to follow the rants of Sam Houston (Dennis Quaid) and his roomful of angry men…We meet oodles of characters whose names are a bit familiar but there's so many non-secular, uninteresting, plots running at once even Charlie Kaufman would get confused!

Story goes…The Mexican army big cheese, Santa Anna (Emelio Echevarria) wants San Antonio, Texas as his very own (and Mexico's). Still don't know why exactly. The small booming town, all too familiar with Santa Anna's attempts at domination, decide to hide in the old missionary, The Alamo, for his latest attack. Wait. We all know The Alamo's tale…too few men against an army and they fight till the end rather than surrender. There's also a bit of historical-style penis envy 'tween Santa Anna and Sam Houston. It's the usual territory shaping brouhaha.

The problem with this lollygagging tale is the lack of anything really interesting leading up to the end. I mean there's all this droll dialog, rude men and blasting triumphant music, but no soul. Nothing stands out. Which is truly odd because of the real men that had a part in this great American tragedy. Of note? Well, there was that semi-scoundrel James Bowie (Jason Patric) who is infamous to this day for that huge "Bowie" knife they sell at Wal-Mart. In the film he's little more than a loud drinker, who quickly gets bed ridden with consumption - his scenes usually involve him gurgling lung blood and begging for booze…then they give us this plastic annoying gosh-golly-willickers version of Lt. General Travis (Patrick Wilson). The film's comic relief (and I use that expression wafer-thinly) is left to Mr. Non-Humor, Billy Bob Thornton, as Davy Crockett. After we settle in to the deadpan comedic persona The Placidman conjured up, his dialog gets all serious and smashes the Crockett myth with cruel (unnecessary) truths - down to Crockett's dark past of noshing on American Indians. Well, potatoes roasted in American Indians. It's just too gross to type the scene for you - sorry. But then when his tale of the inordinately creepy disclosure is done - and you're sitting jaw-dropped and nauseous - you're right smack back in the middle of the snorefest, rechecking for the welcome illumination of the theater's exit signs…

They've also wasted Dennis Quaid. The tasty portion of Rocky Road flavored man is just bouncing about half cocked and dressed like a misplaced Dapper Dan as the egotistical Sam Houston. We're told Houston wouldn't budge to help The Alamo till he was granted separate territorial power, or something, for Texas - oh and he wants to "wait" till he's gathered a few thousand men to bring to The Alamo's rescue. So what? Houston basically let hundreds die for his convoluted beliefs? Argh.

What promised to be a manfest extravaganza complete with vintage attire, and Texan setting, quickly became a hodge podge of boredom, bent on smelling up of our patriotic legends, and ultimately, making the American forefathers who held The Alamo look a bit like Asses.

Cowardness, bravery and honor all merge, and for the last thirty minutes of the film you're vested - dare I say riveted (hence the two star rating….). It just took too long to get to that momentum. And worst of all? The Alamo never really lets us know what in the h-e double hockey sticks was going on over there in the first place.

Snack Recommendation: Whiskey and Bowie knifed beef tar tar.


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