Jonah Hex

Have y’all seen this movie? I’m going to assume most of you haven’t because I know I have quite a few historians who read me and I have heard none of you screaming. And believe me, I would hear you screaming.

So, I think the elevator pitch for this movie was “We’re going to just let Josh Brolin shoot things and sound like he’s in the middle of taking a painful shit for ninety minutes.” And for some reason, having Josh Brolin talk like he’s in the middle of taking a painful shit for ninety whole minutes seemed like a good idea. And then, poor Megan Fox, who I like despite myself, has to spend almost all of her scenes in either a bedroom or a doorway, for some inexplicable reason.

Oh, and if you are a gun nut, you should definitely not watch it because, for some reason, Hex is all the time armed with awesome weapons that he then leaves behind when they empty, as if guns are all single-use.

But no, the most hilariously baffling part about the movie is that Hex is a Civil War veteran who, of course, was a Confederate and, of course, didn’t like slavery and got along with Indians (even married an Indian gal), but for some reason, just also didn’t think there should be a United States. And he has the audacity to tell a guy who used to be a slave that he thought both sides were just as bad. And the actor playing the guy who used to be a slave somehow kept a straight face through that whole scene.

But that is not the funny part, no! No, indeed, the funny part is that, though Hex is a Southerner, and though much of the action takes place along the South Carolina/Virginia coast, yes, the ocean coast, and the whole movie is supposed to be taking place in some ridiculously short amount of time, like ten days, Hex seems to be regularly traipsing out to Montana. I guess. I mean, I think it’s Montana.

Otherwise, the Crow Indians are hanging out in Alabama? I guess? I mean, people, dude has a confrontation out in Charleston South Carolina. He dies or nearly dies. His horse takes him “home.” Where they run into a bunch of people living in tepees who then, of course, heal him.

And then he’s able to ride angrily back to the coast of South Carolina/Virginia to take up with the bad guy.

All while the clock is ticking on this “ten days ’til the 4th” nonsense.

And no, people, I don’t know what the fuck happened to North Carolina, but it’s pretty clear from the plotting of this movie that, in Jonah Hex’s America, there is no North Carolina. I think we also have to guess that the Great Plains start at the Georgia border and that much of Alabama is a sandy white beach-like desert.

So, yes, I was willing to buy a character that talks to dead people and a character who can fight in a corset without passing out and Eli Whitney being some kind of proto-Einstein, but god damn it, I could not buy a movie in which they clearly had no idea about the very basic map of the United States they should be working from and some  basic history of the era. I was also hoping to see the centennial flag with the stars in circles, but alas, I did not.

So, it was pretty terrible, but I think it would be entertaining to watch with the historians in your life, just to hear them holler and sputter through the whole thing.

9 thoughts on “Jonah Hex

  1. Wow. I’ve never even heard of this, but yes, it sounds astounding. And like it would give apoplexy to historians. (And, you know, the rest of the population with an IQ above room temperature.)

  2. I look forward to your next post about how astrophysicists would take issue with the destruction of the planet Krypton.

  3. Don’t overestimate the intellectual rigor of the average movie audience. I was at a firehouse once where a group of the fellows were watching an alleged comedy. There was one scene where a character was running from a driver-less car that was going in a straight line at oh, however many MPH was just fast enough to catch the character when he got tired. First of all, never mind that a car with no driver holding the wheel is bound to hit a bump (it was off-road) and veer off. But the fleeing character was apparently so stupid that he couldn’t run to the side to escape a relatively slow-moving vehicle?* I watched this scene for several seconds, noticed that some of the fellows were either staring rapt or chuckling, and I said “why doesn’t he just run to the side?” The peevish answer I got was “it’s a movie.”

    *I realize this meme is apparently common enough to have been skewered in the first “Austin Powers” movie. Sad.

  4. Sam, thanks. Now I’m going to notice that whenever I watch movies.

    Sarcastro, if you can get you a deal on a 48 star flag and want to tell your kids North Carolina isn’t actually a state, more power to you.

  5. We watched part of this the other night on HBO. Terrible! The “southerner with a heart of gold thing” was ridiculous. Some kind of tea partier masculinity nonsense where he can fight for the South but still have a black friend (from The Wire) who says “You don’t believe in slavery, what are you doing fighting for the confederacy?” And he’s all “I just believe the government should leave us alone,” despite the fact that Obamacare might’ve been able to fix his gross face injury.

  6. Shoot, I didn’t get any further than “If the government had not left the guy who killed your family alone, he would have been in prison instead of killing your family!” with that whole train of thought. I really wanted the The Wire guy to just laugh full-on in his face.

    I wish they’d have just given him a line like “I thought it was my duty to my dad” or something. The movie already had daddy issues. “I fight for a cause I don’t believe in so that I can appease my dad” would have fit right in.

  7. I think that movies made from comic books suffer because I imagine the authors assume that the viewing audience will have read the book and thus bring a different kind of suspension of disbelief to the movies. Also they assume fans will come no matter what so who cares if it’s a good movie?

  8. I think that’s true. But I liked the premise of the movie a lot–a guy who can talk to dead people looking for revenge. And it wasn’t that hard for me to imagine a slightly different movie where he was unapologetically a Confederate during his lifetime and he was spending his sort-of-afterlife in this new world where he realizes he used to be the bad guy.

    I wonder how a person might come to terms with that. Maybe you do become a bounty hunter because you’ve lost faith in your ability to tell right from wrong, so you just do what pays.

    Maybe you do try to atone.

    Maybe you don’t give a shit.

    I don’t know. But I know that would have been interesting.

    I also wondered if, in the comic books, he was experienced as more unsettling and grosser (there was kind of a hint of that in the movie, when he drank and it dribbled out his cheek) and less part of society.

    I had a hard time not being bothered by the scaring. I mean, I know it’s supposed to be horrific, but, eh, I got used to it really fast and then it was like, “Oh, there’s Josh Brolin.”

  9. Found mention of your site on WordPress. Loved the name, so I absolutely HAD to come take a peek. I could barely contain myself! Especially the John Brolin comments! You had me laughing til I was in tears. Thank you for the lift… it was really needed.

Comments are closed.