Movie Report: Maverick (1994)

Book coverAfter we watched Horse Soldiers, I thought I’d show the boys a slightly more modern Western, this one a comedy from the mid-1990s (released a year after Tombstone). When you think about modern films mining old properties for material, remember that this movie was an update of James Garner’s television series from the late 1950s.

In the film, Mel Gibson plays Bret Maverick, a gambler looking to make enough to stake a place in the first world championship of poker. He’s a little short, but he tries to gamble and grift his way to St. Louis. He meets the Jodie Foster character, who is also a poker player and bit of a con artist, as we come to know. James Garner himself is introduced as a well-known lawman. Someone is trying to stop Maverick from getting to the card game, and the movie goes through a number of set pieces where Maverick tries to collect old debts only to encounter some trouble or another. He finally makes it to the card game on a riverboat, and when he wins the pot, the lawman steals it, so Maverick goes to hunt him down and finds the lawman was partners with the organizer of the tournament.

So it’s a pretty fun romp filled with outlandish situations and featuring numerous cameos by Western movie stars, country singers, and Danny Glover as a bank robber who is getting too old for this shit. My boys didn’t understand a lot of the references and the “Hey, there’s that guy!” element of the movie, but the oldest did recognize Waylon Jennings (good boy!) but only from being in The Highwaymen (well, it’s something).

So I enjoyed it, and I was pleased to see that the problems I’d experienced with the picture in Tombstone was because that VHS was so worn; this one looked good, which means it’s not in the electronica again.

So I might watch this again sometime, and I have the physical media to make that possible for as long as the lights stay on.

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3 thoughts on “Movie Report: Maverick (1994)

  1. I appreciated the look of “Tombstone” (and the presence of Ms. Delany) but I agree it felt like they filmed the last half more like a series of scenes than a story. But I also liked “Maverick” a lot better and I thought it did what it wanted to do better than “Tombstone” did. I can watch clips of some of the top scenes from “Tombstone” on YouTube and be satisfied with no desire to revisit the whole movie, but doing the same with “Maverick” puts me in a mood to watch it again start to finish.

  2. Well, I am pretty sure they wanted to have fun making Maverick, and it looks like they did all throughout. Tombstone has just a touch of self-consciousness about its Art, taking itself very seriously in a way that people don’t whilst living their lives. A touch cinematic, perhaps?

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