Sunday, May 7, 2017

Movie #404: Maverick

Maverick is a Western/comedy starring Mel Gibson, James Garner, Jodie Foster, Alfred Molina, and James Coburn. It's one of those "this movie is really funny and it's Mel Gibson before he went publicly crazy" movies.

Brett Maverick (Gibson) is a gambler trying to get his hands on the last $3000 he needs to enter a high-stakes poker championship. He keeps getting stymied, though; people who owe him money stiff him, and he runs afoul of a hired gun and fellow gambler named Angel (Molina), who attempts to hang him. However, he also makes the acquaintance of a thief named Annabelle (Foster) and a Marshall named Cooper (Garner) who help him get where he's going, and of course he wins the championship and it's revealed that Cooper is actually his father. Good times had by all!

Maverick was a TV show in the late 50s, also starring James Garner, but I've never watched it and I don't know how closely it relates. The movie is a good time: It's basically a road movie, culminating in a poker game, which is hard to film with any real tension for any protracted amount of time. I think they could have milked the early stages of the poker game a little more, but that's mostly because I think it would have been nice to see Foster's character winning a bit.

I think my favorite bits of this movie are with Graham Greene (playing Maverick's Native buddy Joseph), scamming the Russian Archduke (Paul L. Smith) out of a bunch of money. Joseph kinda flips the Magical Indian stereotype; he's clever but he's not magical, and he's not shy about telling Maverick what assholes white people are. Plus, of course, the Archduke was the loose inspiration for my Deadlands character Nikolai, so there's that.

My Grade: A-
Rewatch value: High

Next up: Meaning of Life, The