Monday, January 18, 2010

Are You Garrett or Bill? I Really Don't Know

I watched Sam Peckinpah's "Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid" again the other night. A classic movie, this, unknown by most, which ruined my mind at an impressionable age and made life a lot harder than it should have been! (I should say "lol" there, but I won't.) In my favourite scene--it's my favourite because of the way it's shot, and the Bob Dylan music attached to it, and the Christ imagery Peckinpah chose to use--Billy is arrested by Garrett on the latter's first day as Sherriff of Lincoln County.After he's surrendered, Billy says, "You're in poor company, Pat," and Pat replies, "Yeah, I'm still alive, though." "So am I......," says Billy, with a challenging grin on his face.

Garrett, of course, rode with Billy once upon a merry moon, but took the job of Sheriff and dutifully obeyed the Sheriff's true masters, the local cattle barons (not much changes, does it?), when they ordered him to kill Billy. The story, and the movie, are all about what happens when that time in your life comes when you're sick and tired and you're faced with the temptation to conform to mainstream expectations and secure an easy life for you and yourn. Which is not a quandary for those who've never been out on the margins, but for those of us who have, it's like wrestling the Devil.

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