Cincinnati Babyhead

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Flick : Guest Take – The 3 Burials Of Melquiades Estrada

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There’s more to music with my fellow travelers and J at Vinyl Daft Dad proves that. He has taken time out of his busy life to do a guest take on an absolute fantastic film. Reading the take has me inline for a re-watch. So I hand the projector over to J as he runs a great flick. Warning. He’ll have you searching for or re-watching ‘The Three Burials Of Melquiades Estrada’. Thanks again J for spreading the word on ‘3 Burials’. Good job. See ya at the Burials.

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The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada is one of those movies that comes along every now and then and demands that you pay attention to what’s happening. To focus on the goings on… the interplay between the various characters and what they’re saying to each other.  This isn’t one to sit down to if you’ve had a bit of a day – forget it (reach for Happy Gilmore if that’s the case).  It’s also not one to get confused with Four Weddings and A Funeral.  There is no Hugh Grant here and there are no weddings.
Instead, what we have is a Peckinpah flick written by McCarthy, but from the pen of Guillermo Arriaga and directed by one grizzled Tommy Lee Jones.  And old Tommy Lee is perfect as Pete Perkins; a cattle rancher who forms a bond with his employee, Melquaides.  It’s brilliant watching the two and their exchanges.  Like how we made pals when we were kids, I guess.  That awkwardness… those first steps to making pals that weren’t our immediate family and forming an unwavering loyalty.
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That loyalty is a huge part of the movie.  See, as the title suggests, Melquaides dies; killed by a right mean spirited and “beyond redemption” Border Patrol agent (Barry Pepper).  The sheriff (Dwight Yoakam) isn’t all that fussed cause, well, Melquiades is an immigrant.  An illegal one at that.  From Mexico.  So it’s all just a bit of an inconvenience to them.  Like spilt milk.  Or beer.
I love Tommy Lee here.  These kind of characters fit him.  Or he fits them.  It’s how he pursues justice for Melquiades that elevates this one from fine flick to damn fine flick.  It’s poetic, yet, at first glance, seems absolutely bonkers.
Barry Pepper is brilliant too as the horrible Border Patrol Agent who doesn’t appear to have boundaries.  He’s a horrible bastard and I was wondering from the start how this would pan out for him, but I couldn’t have imagined the road trip he and Pete would take when, eh, Pete kidnaps him and takes him to dig up his friend so he can be buried at home.
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On their way to the village they encounter some broken landscapes and incredible people and they learn a lot about who they are, what makes a man, and what makes them tick.  I don’t want to say too much else, cause that would spoil the soup, but everything’s connected and the journey that Pete’s on is really quite something.  The ending… that realization…
Anyhoo, this is a classic western for the modern times.  It’s tense.  Loads of lingering shots and telling dialogue.  It’s as much a study of the mundane yet tense day-to-day of this border town USA and the roles and prejudices of the occupants, as much as it is about those burials of Melquaides.
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I guess when you strip back the layers, you can see that that each of the men here (Melquaides, Pete and Agent Norton) represent the changing values of the people who occupy those border towns and the ending being the struggle to grasp onto your ideals in such a climate.
But then, what do I know?  I don’t live in a border town USA.
At the very least, this is just exceptional filmmaking.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpQsgSBEaQY

 

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22 comments on “Flick : Guest Take – The 3 Burials Of Melquiades Estrada

  1. Chris
    February 24, 2019

    New to me. Just added to my “Yet to watch Westerns list”. Thanks J for the guest take.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      February 24, 2019

      J did a great job on the workings of the film. It’s a story that takes place in Texas and you feel like you’re there . That’s one of the things I like about film, being taken to the environment. The landscapes play such a big part in the story. I think it will be a welcome addition to your list. A hidden gem.

      Liked by 1 person

    • J.
      February 24, 2019

      Glad to throw this on your radar, Chris – I hope you like it when you get to it!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. hotfox63
    February 24, 2019

    Western is not really my type of movie, but this one looks interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      February 24, 2019

      Not a traditional western Fox. J pretty well nails it and it looks like he got your attention. Take a chance. An hour and a half out of your life. Hey who knows you might even go buy a cowboy hat after you watch it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • hotfox63
        February 25, 2019

        Thanks for your recommendation CB. I always liked “Getaway”. This one could be something for a lazy sunday evening.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        February 25, 2019

        It’s like taking a vacation to South Texas.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Jim S.
    February 24, 2019

    I remember hearing about this one but never saw it. I like Westerns and my wife digs Tommy Lee so it should be an easy sell. And hey. CB has hit on a winning formula. Why should I, he doubtless says to himself, write these posts when I can sit here, smoke a stogie and have others do it for me? Next thing you know we’ll be paying him to do it. I like his style.

    Liked by 2 people

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      February 24, 2019

      You were the first of (i hope many) the guests. J continues CB’s “formula” and you’re absolutely right “I like his style” also. He really caught the whole vibe of the film for me. If your wife and you both like Jones you won’t be disappointed. Levon Helm even makes an appearance.
      J and you (and others) always have good comments on CB’s movie takes. No brainer that you are in the balcony loving film and wanting to share a few just like the music. I’m sitting here enjoying a Sunday “stogie”

      Like

      • Jim S.
        February 24, 2019

        I keep thinking CB was or is somehow involved in the movies. Did you by any chance work the concession stand at that indie theater you used to haunt?

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        February 24, 2019

        No I didn’t work at the “concession” but I dropped a fortune on munchies. Nowadays they serve booze at the concession. Things are just getting to civilized.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jim S.
        February 25, 2019

        That movie you were touting a while back that I figured three people would see at an indie theater won best picture. How about that? CB’s instincts are good.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        February 25, 2019

        I heard. Viggo is a pretty good gauge. I don’t even know what the competition was. Sometimes people get it right. Good stuff.

        Liked by 1 person

    • J.
      February 24, 2019

      One of the great Tommy Lee flicks, Jim. He’s brilliant in it. As he normally is, but with a wee bit extra on the top.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Yeah, Another Blogger
    February 24, 2019

    I remember when this flick came out. Haven’t seen it. It’s now on my see-it-pretty-soon list.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. J.
    February 24, 2019

    Man, I love this flick.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      February 24, 2019

      I’m going to strap in for a watch real soon.
      In the same vein that we were talking about with musicians we like getting together and the directions they go. Melissa Leo from ‘Burials’ did another similar film called ‘Frozen River’. Same vibe but colder. ‘Winterbone’ like. She is very good in it. You might dig. Lower budget Indie but still worth a watch

      Liked by 1 person

      • J.
        February 25, 2019

        I hadn’t heard of that one, so I just looked it up… sounds very interesting. I like Melissa Leo a lot, too… she’s always picking good roles. I take it you’ve seen Prisoners? That’s up there as one of the best movies I’ve seen over the last 10 years.

        She was also great in Welcome to the Rileys. She’s generally great.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        February 25, 2019

        Noted on the Leo flicks. Will search those out. Especially ‘Prisoners’

        Liked by 1 person

      • J.
        February 25, 2019

        I have a feeling you’ll dig Prisoners. Great cast and they all deliver.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        February 25, 2019

        On the list. Thanks

        Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on February 24, 2019 by in 2005 Film, American Movie, Modern Western, Tommy Lee Jones, Western and tagged , , , .

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