AICN EXCLUSIVE!! MORIARTY Reviews The DANCES WITH WOLVES Sequel Novel!!
Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab.
You ever have one of those weeks?
First there's the little tussle with Ebert over PEARL HARBOR and the maniacs who harangued me that I owed Roger some bended-knee-and-flowers apology for merely posing a question.
Then I see TOMB RAIDER on Friday night and taste bitter, bitter disappointment that I'll be sharing more about as soon as the press embargo is lifted.
And now I'm about to eat shit over just how wrong I was when I first mentioned Michael Blake's THE HOLY ROAD.
But you know what? I don't care that I was wrong. I was gloriously, deliriously, achingly wrong, and I'm going to shout it from the rooftops. If I owe anyone an apology, it's Blake, who did the impossible: he wrote a book that not only lives up to the first one, but actually enhances it and enriches our understanding of the characters and the world.
I'll admit... the idea sounds heinous when you first hear it. "A sequel to DANCES WITH WOLVES? Wasn't there a closing crawl that pretty much summed up anything of interest that might happen to these characters? Wasn't three hours enough to tell the whole story?"
And you'd be wrong. Just like I was.
This is not Winston Groom cashing in on the success of FORREST GUMP with the abysmal and agonizing GUMP & CO. This is not someone who is out of ideas retreating to the safety of a commercially established title. This is not any of the things I was so desperately afraid it would be.
Instead, THE HOLY ROAD is a lyrical, well-researched, moving look at the death of the Indian nation as seen through the eyes of the various members of the tribe of Ten Bears. Dance With Wolves and his wife Stands With A Fist are indeed characters in the book, but it is not their story. If anything, they're supporting characters, anomalies who somehow straddle the world between the Comanches and the Whites. The book is about more than just filling us in on what the characters are doing a decade later. It's about the slow and terrible death of a culture, the way the various tribes were all crushed out of existence, the fragmented remnants of these once-proud people herded together like animals onto reservations, where their relationship with The Mystery faded, then passed like night into day.
One of the things that made the film version of DANCES WITH WOLVES so great was the supporting cast of characters like Kicking Bird and Wind In His Hair and Smiles A Lot, characters who all return here, older, changed, and still fascinating. There are any number of new characters this time who prove equally interesting, including Owl Prophet, a White warrior known as Bad Hands, Lawrie Tatum the Quaker from Washington, the children of Dances With Wolves, and a girl named Hunting For Something. The thing Blake does so effortlessly here is plunge you directly into the daily life of the Comanche, allowing you to feel the gradually building pressure that is brought on the the never-ending expansion of the Whites. At first, it's a small thing, something almost at the edge of awareness, but it grows. Events begin to unfold that bring great misery and heartache on the tribe of Ten Bears, and on the larger Indian nation as a whole.
Even amidst the suffering, and there is a great deal of suffering in this book, there is light, and there is love, and there is hope. Smiles A Lot was a boy when we saw him in DANCES WITH WOLVES, and he's grown into a dreamer here, a master horseman who has never been able to distinguish himself as a warrior. He watches Wind In His Hair and the other Hard Shields, the elite cadre of fighters who represent the tribe's best defense, and he wishes he could be like them. Until he falls in love, though, he has no real motivation to become one of them. He's still a boy, and it takes the right look at the right moment from the right girl to start him on the path to becoming a man:
It was on such a day that Hunting For Something had come in with a bowl of pemmican for her grandfather.
Greeting Ten Bears, she dropped to her knees on the opposite side of the fire and with a single look that lasted no more than a second or two, turned Smiles A Lot's world upside down. It was nothing more than a shy glance, delivered under lidded eyes. But it was directed squarely at Smiles A Lot and carried the power of a mortal blow. In that instand she changed from a skinny girl of barely fifteen summers to a woman of profound mystery whose spell was paralyzing.
There's a directness to Blake's prose in this book that is powerfully effective, and in some ways, it lends a sense of authenticity to things. There is a simplicity to the philosophy of the Comanche that we hear, and it's reflected in the no-frills way the world is described here. The chapters are short and succinct, each one telling a small story in its own right, and the power comes from the way these simple moments mount, one after another, until the weight of them just becomes devastating.
The initial description I read of this book made it sound like the whole thing would be about Dances With Wolves searching for his wife and children after they are captured by Whites and returned to society, and that's what I was most afraid of. It sounded like an action/revenge story, and that seemed to go directly against what made the original so special. There was something almost random about the way Lt. John Dunbar went from a battlefield in Tennessee to the wide open plains of the west, something very natural and organic about the way he was introduced to the Comanches and the way he became one of them. I was concerned that this time, it would be a much more routine storyline. Blake is sneaky, though, and he's just using the story of Dances With Wolves to lure the reader in here. He's got so much else that he wants to do that it's easy to forget that Dances With Wolves was ever the focus of things.
When I was reading about Kicking Bird or Wind In His Hair or Ten Bears, it was impossible not to picture Graham Greene and Rodney Grant and Floyd "Red Crow" Westerman, and that's a testament to both the performances those actors gave and the evocative way Blake has brought the characters back to life. I didn't realize what sort of lasting impression they had made on me until I started reading about them again and found myself aching for Wind In His Hair and the loss of his eye or found myself impressed by the spiritual path that Kicking Bird finds himself on or moved by the way Ten Bears approaches his final days and his ascent into The Mystery.
Right now, there are no plans to adapt this into a film, but I'm sure this book's monstrous success - and it will be a monstrous success, no doubt about it - will spur discussions to bring it to the screen. If that happens, the pressure is going to be put on Blake to turn this into a Kevin Costner vehicle, and there's only one person who can keep that from happening: Kevin Costner. If there's a shred of story sense inside him, he'll see just how wrong that would be, and he'll refuse to let anyone ruin the delicate narrative balance of what Blake has constructed here. This is an epic, sprawling and messy and alive, and any attempt to shoehorn this story into something like a conventional movie plot would only break its spirit the way the spirit of the Comanche is broken by General Sherman's men over the course of the book.
On the other hand, if someone wanted to try and bring this to the screen without refiguring everything, there is a great, great movie to be made. I know that it's popular to say that Blake's original piece was apologist, or that it was politically correct, but I don't think that's the case. I think DANCES WITH WOLVES was a great way to allow us, the modern whites, to see into this lost tradition through the eyes of someone who was also being introduced to it. Now Blake has written something that is sadder and angrier, something set in the waning years as the idea of the reservation was first introduced. Once again, he puts us in the position where we have little or no choice but to identify with these wonderful characters as they go about their daily lives, determined not to let anyone strip them of the freedom they were born into.
My favorite film of all time is LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, and as a result, I have a definite weakness for the sprawling historical epic that also tells a personal story. Unfortunately, we've seen the law of diminishing returns over the past decade. DANCES WITH WOLVES was wonderful in every way, and it was followed by BRAVEHEART, a film I find flawed but still powerful and entertaining. Then we start a rapid decline with SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, an amazing short film wrapped in two hours of twaddle that was followed by the inferior THE PATRIOT, which was occasionally decent with a few good moments, but which never resolved itself into something satisfying, finally leading us to this summer's achingly mediocre PEARL HARBOR. At this point, one would be justified in thinking that there's no way we're going to get good versions of these films again, but Michael Blake has somehow managed to create something here that wipes the slate of any and all pretenders, re-establishing the genre and viable and vital.
The action in this book is thrilling and terrible all at once, because there is a doomed quality to it all. These characters still believe that if they fight hard enough or believe in The Mystery with an open heart, they will be able to drive the Whites back and stop them from killing the buffalo, and they will be able to live on their lands forever. We know differently, though, and there are places in this book where it hurts to turn the page, where you don't want to see what's coming next because of the love you feel for these characters. Great prices are paid here, and hearts are broken left and right. Blake doesn't seem bound by any sense of what the market wants. Instead, he lets events unfold the way they really would, and the book is better for it.
I'll leave you with a passage from late in the book, when Kicking Bird and Ten Bears and representatives from the Cheyenne and the Kiowa and the Arapaho and the Comanche all journey to Washington DC to meet with the Great White Father and figure out what role they can play in the world of the Whites. As he does in so many ways, Blake makes you look at things through fresh eyes, including the horror of a slaughterhouse as seen through the eyes of someone for whom killing an animal is a sacred part of life. Here, Blake offers up an observation I have made in less elegant language many times before:
After receiving a brief explanation regarding the function of steps, the warriors started down. Waiting at the bottom of the steps were several open wagons, all drawn by sleek, fine horses. They climbed into the carriages and set off through the streets, stopping traffic and turning heads, until they arrived at their place of residence, something the white men called a hotel.
Here they were shown the room where white men filled their bellies and were casually informed that the white man had a machine that told him when to eat. It turned out that the device, which the white men mounted on walls, erected in streets, and even carried in their pockets, told them far more than when to eat. The machine told them when to wake and when to sleep. It dictated the moment at which one man could visit another, when he could perform duties, when he could relax.
No one could understand the necessity of such a thing. Ten Bears put it most succinctly when he remarked to Kicking Bird, "How can a man be a man when he enslaves himself to a circle of glass and metal?"
This isn't being published until September of this year, and it's a shame you'll have to wait through the summer before you can get a copy. It's worth the wait, though, and I can't stress this strongly enough: ride THE HOLY ROAD with Michael Blake and his wonderful world of characters this fall. It's a journey you'll cherish, and one I plan to take again in the near future.
Readers Talkbackcomments powered by Disqus
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June 4, 2001, 5:11 a.m. CST
by Buscemi 01
Costner needs another hit.
June 4, 2001, 5:15 a.m. CST
by Cardiff Giant
This will suck sooo hard.
June 4, 2001, 5:16 a.m. CST
June 4, 2001, 5:17 a.m. CST
by Mighty Ostrich
...isn't this a film site? bout, you know, films? :) P.S. I HAD to post that. You know someone would have soon. I hope they do make this into a film, give Costner a go at directing it - but NOT a Costner vehicle. I definately agree there.
June 4, 2001, 5:52 a.m. CST
I agree with Moriarty about PH, Braveheart, Private Ryan, and the like, however, I think Dances with Wolves the movie is seriously overrated. I mean that is a long three hour movie. I could tell that it would make better reading than viewing, and the second book sounds even more so. I mean, really, that movie was one of the most depressing and slow movies I have ever seen. Certainly it was quality work and no one will deny that, but...God help me I don't want to see a sequel to this thing on the screen. I'll pass...
June 4, 2001, 6:02 a.m. CST
by Studio Lackey
I mean, the guy's career arc at this point looks a little bit like Christa McAuliffe's. Give him another five years of flops and he'll sign onto a "hip-hopera" version of Dances With Wolves starring Busta Rhymes as Ten Bears.
June 4, 2001, 6:06 a.m. CST
ok, Mori, nothing personal but did you ACTUALLY state that the patriot was a better film than saving private ryan? Jesus Christo, man, what are you smoking? I'll be the last person to say that Private Ryan was without flaws, but referring to it as "two hours of twaddle" and the Patriot as a film the merely "failed to gel" is pretty steep, doncha think? Especially if we're talking Film in context to historical accuracy. The Patriot was the stinkiest piece of apologetic bullshit I have seen since I was forced to watch "birth of a nation" oh, I forgot, there were actually no black people in "birth of a nation" but in the patriot there were plenty of black people....in the background. and mel was a sympathetic land owner who had "freed his slaves" yeah, right. I kept waiting for old mel to put on the blue face paint when he went out to kill Redcoats, but I digress. I think you really missed the mark on this one, man. But we still love you.
June 4, 2001, 6:10 a.m. CST
He's got a special kind of love for that story.
June 4, 2001, 6:33 a.m. CST
by Rollo Tomassi
untill you made that utterly ludicrous statement about "Saving Private Ryan". It's the midesction that makes that film great. Ever hear of something called character developement?
June 4, 2001, 6:45 a.m. CST
If I hear that tired lame cliche about Birth Of A Nation one more time Im gonna scream. Just because it has dubious overtones undertones and allovertheplacetones, does not stop it from being a fascinating milestone in social history. Quit regurgitating the latest liberal rag you picked up and THINK for yourself (can of worms: open) The very fact that it IS a technical milestone in cinema is why it is so fascinating. If it was some shoddy cranked out racist propaganda peice then - fuck it - but it's not. It comes from a time of intrinsic social tumult that laid the fabric for the reform you lot over the pond saw througout the 60's and is still spilling it's bileful gut today. Small minds can work on either end of the racial argument. Rise above it with informed opinion not just blurted, tired rhetoric. That said, book sounds great, Patriot was...patriotic, ball bashing frenzied fun and PH wasn't as bad as all that. Mediocrity isn't a crime. If anything, it's good to put such failings (if you can call orchestrating such high octane, balls to the wall, hugely canvassed ariel combat scenes such as these 'failings' - Im sure B + B are not losing much sleep over the pantie twistings of a bunch of jumped up wanker fan boys anyhow) into such perspective so that we can see quality for what it really is and how seldom we seem to be blessed with it. Which is a good thing. I think.
June 4, 2001, 7:11 a.m. CST
by Brother Putney
Welcome to another edition of Thunderdome! Let's put Moriarty in the cage with Ebert, and Ben Affleck in the cage with Roeper! I know I'm off the topic, but did anybody see Ebert & Roeper yesterday, with Rope's little "Parting Shot" at Ben Affleck's penchant for on-screen crying. "... and most of the time he's crying over the loss of a MALE friend!" Last time, he waxed poetic about Marisa Tomeii (Cos-tan-za!) now he picks on Affleck? Ebert needs to stop worrying about Moriarty (who raised a valid point but might've posed it a little differently) and watch what's going on across the aisle. When all else fails, "My name is Dances with Wolves. And I do not acknowledge you!"
June 4, 2001, 7:13 a.m. CST
I have been mislead...once again...I thought the Holy Road film had been made (without my knowledge, hence, why I clicked on the link) and Moriarty had reviewed it...be more specific next time please! And Dances with Wolves was a good movie, but Costner was about as bland as usual. The guy just can't act!! The monotone voice doesn't help either....
June 4, 2001, 7:15 a.m. CST
Costner doesn't mind taking a backseat to the story once in a while. One of his better performances was supporting Elijah Wood in the flawed, but touching "The War."
June 4, 2001, 8:04 a.m. CST
For the record, I don't think Costner wasn't too egomanical in Thirteen Days. And on a related topic, my favorite scene in the Postman has to be six hours into the movie, when Tom Petty shows up as the leader of a town in an apocolytic future. The kicker? HE'S PLAYING HIMSELF.
June 4, 2001, 8:21 a.m. CST
Especially if it's film-related, and it's a pretty sure thing that it will be made into a flick. So well done. I have to say though, as soon as I read the phrase "with a single look that lasted no more than a second or two, turned Smiles A Lot's world upside down" and other uninventive phrases, I knew I'd never read this book. I'd likely see the flick though; I also thought DwW was a bit overrated, but still a decent film nonetheless. And as a topic, the history of Native American peoples is one that interests me greatly. I think Americans need to know more than they generally do about the history of their country and the events that built it. America is a stolen, conquered country, which was then declared a land of the free; but how many of us look back on our own history, both recent and distant, with critical honesty? We're certainly not learning about these things in our public schools... straying off-topic, Syr.
June 4, 2001, 8:55 a.m. CST
by Crisp One
I also think it's supposed to be Sioux. I know that Costner was adopted as an honorary member of the Sioux nation after making the flick, and they were speaking Sioux in the movie.
June 4, 2001, 8:59 a.m. CST
...is to get it DivX and into your hard disk... then use Adobe Premiere or something to get one hour - at least - of beautiful sunsets out of this flick... then, you'll get a movie that really is worth seven Academy Awards. Sequel? Well, but don't let Costner direct it.
June 4, 2001, 9:08 a.m. CST
by Uncle Jay
It was a good film. Gorgeous to look at and very nicely put together. But c'mon, it wasn't a masterpiece, as it was and has been called since its release in 1990. Definately did not deserve the Best Picture and Director Oscars! C'mon, "Wolves" over "Goodfellas"?! Costner over Scorsese? I THINK NOT!! A sequel is not necessary.........
June 4, 2001, 9:12 a.m. CST
If anyone would have read the book, Dances with Wolves, they would have known that they were Comanche in the book, not Lakota. And I hope and pray to GOD, that Costner doesn't have anything to do with this one, (nothing like a white man saving the Indian nation once again), that guy was good in one movie...the Big Chill.
June 4, 2001, 9:13 a.m. CST
Yeah, they were Sioux in the movie,(why they changed it beats the crap outa me), but Comanche in the book. Whether they'll be sticking with this is a point of some interest. The history of those specific nations' downfall by the government will be different, and necessitate a rewrite if they're gonna get any assistance from the Lakota nation like they did with the first one.
June 4, 2001, 9:58 a.m. CST
That was a beautifully written piece on THE HOLY ROAD by Moriarty. This movie has to be made and seen, if it is done effectively. The book seems to have the prose, lyricism, action, and cultural significance, detailing the eventual dissipation of the culture and life of the Native American. If Kevin Costner is smart, he'll pick this one up, and give himself a juicy,supporting role, as he did in the underrated THIRTEEN DAYS.
June 4, 2001, 9:58 a.m. CST
The article mentions that the main characters of the new book are Comanche, while in the movie Dances With Wolves they are Sioux. Is this an error or the part of the reviewer, or did the movie change it from the original book from some reason or other. Anyone know?
June 4, 2001, 10:05 a.m. CST
Michael Blake wrote "Dances With Wolves" as a wedding gift for Viggo Mortensen and Exene Cervenkova. All three of them used to perform out of a space called The Iguana Cafe in North Hollywood in the early 1990s. I've seen all three of them on stage there, but, alas, the Iguana went the way of too many great performance spaces.
June 4, 2001, 10:16 a.m. CST
But when Costner doesn't have his egotisical head up his ass, he's proven to be one the most amazing directors of Americana cinema since Redford. The Patriot wasn't nearly as bad as the critics said and there were parts of it that were rousing, patriotic and astounding. The movie only really fell short when Costner let his head get too big and tried to make grand spectacle out of throwaway scenes (like Costner's Postman taking the letter from his son's hand, the same scene played twice in the same movie). If they get him to direct and he has the good sense to leave Dances with Wolves as a supporting character, then I believe this could make a damn good film.
June 4, 2001, 10:16 a.m. CST
by General Idea
Sounds like something I wrote in 5th grade. Nice post Syrinne. I agree, a good historical drama showing some of the atrocities committed against Native Americans would get me out to the theater. I'm sure that there were some good non-biased films about the Indians in the past, although none are coming to mind at the moment...(Major League 2 aside). Last of the Mohicans maybe? Little Big Man? Other than documentary type films, there hasn't been much done in the past few decades. Keep Coster's character in a supporting role, that's step #1. He's not a bad actor, just not interesting enough to lead an audience through 3 hours.
June 4, 2001, 10:22 a.m. CST
by The Killer-Goat
The first movie doesn't need a sequel. It was a perfect slice of isolated fantasy out of transitional western history, before the nationwide native american struggles. It's a wonderful story focused exclusively on this tiny tribe, DDWolves and Stands, etc... all entirely oblivous to the western events surrounding them, when the land was still considered somewhat wild and "free". I agree it was not a grand masterpiece (nor was Glory --another unmentioned film), but it was a great film to watch and the final impression was uplifting -- the audience conveniently did not have to fully witness the foreboding "whiteman encroachment". This book Holy Road could lead to a very depressing and controversial follow-up that could belittle the first film's message.
June 4, 2001, 10:32 a.m. CST
Sorry but no way. I watched SPR all the way through on Saturday for the first time in a year and was absolutely wiped out all over again. The collapsing wall in the village to reveal the Nazis, where Spielberg spins out 10 seconds into an eternity. Wade drawing his last breath in close-up. The sniper in the bell-tower watching the flash from Jackson's rifle, his own death rising to meet him in a split second. The sheer terror so movingly evinced by Jeremy Davies as he abandons Mellish on the steps. The German soldier almost tenderly stabbing his Jewish victim in the heart. The squad using the dog-tags as poker chips, ignorant that every one of them represents a death. Edward Burns' quiet nod to Matt Damon, wondering what the hell is going through his head.I simply fail to see how a film containing so many strong moments APART from the opening sequence could ever be described as 'twaddle' . 'Twaddle' means 'Joe Dirt' or 'Tomcats'. When Ryan was originally released, i saw it three times in a week. Each time the audience were unable to speak upon exiting. Any film that can pack such a fierce punch on such a scale worldwide must be a great one.
June 4, 2001, 10:34 a.m. CST
Personally I thought that DWW was even better when the extra what 4 hours were added in when they showed the director's cut on television, what with the further background on various characters and the fact that it gave more depth to the setting. Also it says Moriarty reviews sequal novel in the heading for the post, unless it had been changed by the time I read it, and books have been reviewed here before.
June 4, 2001, 11:32 a.m. CST
Thanks, Moriarity, for an excellent review of what sounds like a truly moving novel. I loved DwW the novel and DwW the movie (though they are different, but how could they not be?). My only complaint is saying that Holy Road the novel is going to rescue the decline of the epic movie (declining from LoA, DwW, SPR, The Patriot, to PH, in your estimation). Isn't saying this novel will rescue epic film a bit of an apples/oranges comparison? There are many brilliant epic novels out there ignored by movie makers. None of them are considered to be saviors of the historical epic--is it fair to label The Holy Road (novel) as something different? I'd just argue we'll have to wait to see if a movie is made from that novel, and judge *then* (and judge on the movie's own merits) whether or not it's the savior of the declining epic movie. My tuppence. --edmj
June 4, 2001, 12:16 p.m. CST
by Some Dude
...just compare the trimming of a novel to fit into a manageable screenplay to the decimation of an entire race? Hmm. Then he goes on to address us, the dear reader, as "modern whites." Hmm. Aren't there any geeks of a darker persuasion reading this site? Or do they have to go to www.Aint-it-colored-news.com?
June 4, 2001, 12:27 p.m. CST
#1 This site would do well to review books. They should do so more often. Even books that aren't already films should be looked at. Maybe some of the illeterates out there would get off of their asses, out from in front of the TV and READ. If that happens these talkbacks could become really interesting instead of a bunch of numb brains banging out rude language and the occasional Kevin Smith catchphrase. #2 As for the Birth of a Nation arguments. That film is foul no matter how you view it. I grew up in the South. I attended film school in the South and I studied this film almost frame for frame with my mentor. While showing some interesting technical advances in film the content is the worst kind of racisist propaganda...in fact it was used as a model for Gobles and the boys in the Third Reich when they made anti-jew films. It is a horrible film that is looser with history than Oliver Stone, and includes the worst possible racsial sterotypes obviously created to incite white audiences to kill blacks. #3They should make a film about pre-white history in America. Very few people realize that America was not a vast wilderness populated by savages but a cultivated landscape populated by spiritual, eductated, cruel, just peoples who were killed off by the numerous plauges brought to the new world by Western Eruopeans. Make a film about that time in history and I would watch it over and over.
June 4, 2001, 2:23 p.m. CST
Be more specific next time please??! I'm sorry, but what part of "sequel Novel" didn't you understand? Maybe "Novel" is too formal a word for you to pick up on in between grabbing mighty morcels of Cheeze Sticks and abusing yourself to American Singles online pictures. Before morons like youreself start complaining and criticizing, make sure what you're complaining about is actually the case.
June 4, 2001, 3:37 p.m. CST
Yes, a Dances With Wolves sequel would be nice indeed. Scrumptuous in fact, something could sink my teeth into. However, trailing off into talking of "Saving Private Ryan" as a plate of shit, doesn't sit too well with the old cannibal here. Nor does "The Patriot" or "Braveheart" deserve to be downed to size. One thing I always find amusing on this site is how it seems to be cool not to like the movies that the populus doesn't rush to see. So easy on the independent films, hard on the big ones. "The Patriot" especially was an awesome movie, and I don't know any American other than you who would watch such an amazing piece of film and go "Oh it's Inferior." Switching tracks to "Pearl Harbor," sure it has it's flaws, what movie doesn't? Hell, even "The Matrix" has flaws. However, although long in time and the romance fucking of poor old Benny Affleck sucked, it was not a disappointment whatsoever. The only thing I'd wanted at the end was the bombing of Nagasaki or Hiroshima, either or and I'd of been appeased. Yet,looking at it from another angle, I liked how it actually led into the future events with the very beginning of what would be the war on Japan. I must depart now, I'm having an old friend for dinner... And another thing, is the word "digress" the new thing to say now days? What the hell, did I miss a fucking meeting or something?! (Jabs a knife into the cold liver on his plate) Ahhhh....
June 4, 2001, 3:54 p.m. CST
I've some news for KabouterPlop, the Comanches, Sioux and Ojibwas (a tribe I happen to be a member of) are not "savages," noble or otherwise. In addition, like Chief Seattle's speech, whites also invented the Trail of Tears, the assassination of Crazy Horse, the massacres at Sand Creek and Wounded Knee and Indian reservations. During the wars, it was a capital crime for an Indian to leave the reservation to hunt Buffalo to feed a family the Bureau of Indian Affairs was happy to let starve. To put it in terms KabouterPlop might understand, leaving the reservation was like a Vietnamese leaving a "protected hamlet" (Vietnamese reservation) where they were at the mercy of people like former Sen. Bob Kerrey. (I guess Santayana got it right) If anyone is interested in a look at moden native life on film, try "Dance Me Outside" or "Smoke Signals."
June 4, 2001, 5:06 p.m. CST
by Mr. Impossible
there was a documentary a few years back called In Search of the Noble Savage which addressed some of that what KabouterPlop mentions. What pisses me off about attitudes towards tribal peoples is that we either get the screaming indian on horseback or the Dances with olves noble savage. They are HUMANS--meaning they can be as good or bad as any other racial group. Look at the smug attitude of the Makah tribe when they went after whales for "tradition" when it was really about money. They used to keep slaves and force them to the do the most dangerous tasks ina whale hunt(tying the fins). The unfortunate thing about humans is that even those that are among the most victimized have their bad qualities too.
June 4, 2001, 5:08 p.m. CST
But I got REAL sleepy during Heat.
June 4, 2001, 5:23 p.m. CST
... whatever happened to the deal Matt Damon had going with FOX to produce a 10-hour miniseries based on Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States" (a book I recommend rabidly and unreservedly)? After Damon and Affleck won their Oscars for "Good Will Hunting," I read a couple reports that Damon had managed to suck FOX into that deal; everyone wanted a piece of those boys at the time. I have no idea how such a miniseries could be made from that book effectively, but I'd at least be curious to see the effort, if it ever happens. Anyway, Gen. Idea - Major League 2! Sweet film. Most people say the first film of that trilogy - depicting the plight of the Indians with a clever juxtaposition of heavy melodrama and farce - is the best; but like you I think, I've always felt the second one stood out as a masterpiece. Of course the third was a bit weak, but as a trilogy it's a great, timeless testament to the Indian mythos.
June 4, 2001, 6:51 p.m. CST
by Harvard Towne
In Blake's novel, Dunbar joined the Comanches, which worked fairly well historically (Ten Bears really was a Comanche chief, who was also portrayed by Will Sampson in "Outlaw Josie Wales"). The Comanches were pretty much based in the Staked Plains of the Southwest, and prior to the Civil War had dealt with the Spanish, the Mexicans, the Texans (during the era of the Republic) and U.S. dragoons and rangers, mostly from the South. It wasn't until after the War that they began to encounter Yankees. When they got around to making the movie, they decided to change the tribe to the Lakota Sioux because it was easier to have the Native characters speak in Lakota (I'm not even sure the Comanche language has even survived). This led to two big problems with the historical basis for the film. First, the Sioux had been interacting closely with the whites for over a hundred years before the Civil War, so the unfamiliarity of the tribe with white customs, etc., was ridiculous. Secondly, the scene where Ten Bears tells the history of the tribe's interaction with whites ("First the Spaniards, then the Texans" etc.)made me laugh out loud in the theater. Where did he come up with a conquistador's helmet in Montana or the Dakotas? So if anyone tries to film Blake's new novel, hopefully they'll go back to the original premise and forget the first movie.
June 4, 2001, 7:33 p.m. CST
Watch that shit cowboy! I swear when I posted my talkback (way earlier than you I might add) the link didn't say sequel novel....but I was tired too...so maybe I ignored the word novel... but I'm pretty sure it wasn't there earlier...can anyone verify that I'm sane or crazy?
June 4, 2001, 8:32 p.m. CST
by David Manning
DANCES WITH WOLVES II IS A SHEER DELIGHT! KEVIN COSTNER IS WONDERFUL! BETTER THAN THE ORIGINAL! SPELLBINDING!
June 4, 2001, 9:50 p.m. CST
June 4, 2001, 10:13 p.m. CST
It's been a year and people are still talking about it. It sold more video cassettes and DVD than The Perfect Storm, which won over it at the boxoffice, the latter having disappeared into obscurity. A good movie just lives, you see, don't you learn the lesson. The Patriot will be remembered. Gosh, we're talking about Dances With Wolves here an The Patriot just keeps on popping up. I for one, loved it. It is obvious that I am not alone. :)
June 4, 2001, 10:37 p.m. CST
Braveheart happens to be one of the most important films ever made! Seriously, can you really name a lot of movies that affected social behavior as much as Braveheart, e.g. inspiring Scottish nationalism, Scotland having to build a statue under the image of Mel's character, etc., AND AND AND, still be entertaining? This is what a great movie is about, isn't it? You can't touch that, and whoever thinks otherwise is running some jealousy over anything or anyone accomplished. The same goes with Saving Private Ryan, although I am not a fan of the film, I cannot deny the fact that it is a great film.
June 5, 2001, 8:41 a.m. CST
I don't know about this new sequal to "...Wolves" book...but if you are interested in another semi-anthropological, yet character driven fiction book about the Sioux (why do you say Comanche?) then read "Waterlily", by Ella Cara Deloria.
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