Tuesday 29 Jul

Escape from Tomorrow

With Escape from Tomorrow, one fears the story behind the movie would loom larger than the movie itself. Luckily, that is not the case. After all, it opens with a decapitation on Disney World’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster.
05/06/2014 | Comments 0


William Friedkin spends a lot of time in his 2013 memoir discussing why Sorcerer didn't click with critics and audiences even though he believes it to be better than his previous film, The Exorcist. Now that Warner Home Video has reissued Sorcerer on Blu-ray, we can see what Friedkin's fuss is all about.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Broadchurch: The Complete First Season

Welcome to the coastal resort of Broadchurch, population … oh, who can keep track, what will all the corpses? Yes, Broadchurch is yet another British television procedural involving the search for a murderer in a quaint little town, just like the limited series The Fall and Top of the Lake.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Essentially part five in the ridiculously profitable horror franchise, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones continues the found-footage conceit of the other films. The difference is instead of the scares taking place in rich white suburbia, they do so in a junky apartment complex on a largely Latino side of Oxnard, Calif.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Holy Ghost People

Holy Ghost People examines two sisters whose bond is torn — but by what? After her sibling has been missing for more than a year, Charlotte (Emma Greenwell, TV's Shameless) intends to find out.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Movies · Features · ‘Buck’ stops here

‘Buck’ stops here

Horse trainer Buck Brannaman’s ordinary life is the subject of the extraordinary documentary ‘Buck.’

Rod Lott June 29th, 2011

We’ve all witnessed that one scene in a Western — or, at the very least, one iconic Del Rancho commercial for the Steak Sandwich Supreme — where the cowboy enters the room, often through swinging saloon doors.

He’s cast in silhouette, looking alien for a split-second until your brain registers the outline as a man wearing a hat. The room falls to an intimidated hush. Spurs clank menacingly as he steps purposefully inside, each boot heel hitting the wooden floor as a harbinger of crap about to hit the fan.

Only the night of June 21, it wasn’t like that at all.

When Buck Brannaman entered the theater at AMC Quail Springs Mall 24 just after a preview audience had screened the new documentary about him, “Buck,” he was unmistakably the man they had witnessed over the previous 88 minutes: a friendly vision, a tall glass of water — only this one life-sized — wearing a crooked smile and a too-short tie.

His boots bore no spurs that jingled jangled jingled, nor was his entrance accompanied by a whistle- and-harmonica lick courtesy of Ennio Morricone. Instead, AMC’s slideshow played on; theater employees had failed to kill the sound immediately, but the wave of enthusiastic applause took care of that.

The packed house wasn’t on its feet yet — perhaps they couldn’t believe that the star was actually there, as if some cruel PR stunt were being pulled — but in less than an hour, they would be.

Brannaman took one of the two chairs that had been positioned under the screen — nothing fancy, mind you, which was appropriate — with myself taking the other, to field questions from the audience.

Ask Buck a simple question, you’ll get a cowboy’s answer: wide as the day is long. With his “aw, shucks” manner and utter humility, void of ego, the audience lapped up every word, just as they did every minute of the movie (which you should see at AMC before it tumbles away). Without trying, by just being himself, the man has a magnetic pull, which has to be why director Cindy Meehl decided to follow this unassuming equine trainer for nearly three years, filming him at work  breaking horses — and sometimes their owners.

Our time up — after all, whoever attends a 10:45 p.m. screening of “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” soon would be shuffling in — I took the mike from Brannaman and told him I had one last ... well, not a question, really, but a request.

“I noticed in the film that there was some footage behind the scenes of ‘The Horse Whisperer’ where Scarlett Johansson was touching your shoulder. So, if you don’t mind, I’d just like to —” I said, reaching out to let my hand touch brush his right shoulder, leaping me but one degree away from the über-sexy ScarJo.

Brannaman exhaled a laugh and announced, “It felt better when she did it.”

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