The Highwaymen (2019)

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April 12, 2019, 02:57 AM
The Highwaymen (2019)
I saw it tonight and enjoyed it.

Did anyone notice the sound? Seemed to be the gunfight scenes were LOUD, more so when it was unexpected. Dunno if intentional but added to the movie to me.

Strive to live your life so when you wake up in the morning and your feet hit the floor, the devil says "Oh crap, he's up."
April 12, 2019, 07:59 PM
I really liked it. I love how the focused on the good guys, even though they weren't "cool."

Getting sick of movies focused on "cool" bad guys. Killing innocent people isn't cool.
April 13, 2019, 01:13 AM
Nice and positive review of The Highwaymen on PJ Media, refuting trash talk about Hamer’s reputation. Seems the SJW’s accuse Hamer of being for Jim Crow. Per this review the exact opposite is the case.

Kevin Costner Rehabilitates a True American Hero in 'The Highwaymen'—and the Social Justice Warriors are Furious
The Hollywood elites are circling the wagons to keep Netflix out of the Oscar race, and customers chained to their old business model—as though masses of people still plan their night out by wondering who is nominated for what.

But Academy Award-winning Hollywood icon Kevin Costner won’t have to worry about Oscar consideration for his fine Netflix original, The Highwaymen, as it flies in the face of Hollywood liberal convention and restores the reputation of an American hero that Hollywood lore slandered as a vengeful, murdering buffoon way back in 1968.

Screenwriter John Fusco has been shopping his script to set the record straight about famed Texas Ranger Frank Hamer and his hunt for Bonnie and Clyde long enough that Paul Newman and Robert Redford were originally considered for the parts (Newman died in 2008).

But really, how could you possibly do better than Kevin Costner playing a legendary lawman who was a combination of Wyatt Earp and Elliot Ness? Couple that with Texas native Woody Harrelson’s laconic turn as Hamer’s best friend and partner, Maney Gault. It’s hard to think of anyone else in the roles.

Like recently hyped Netflix big-budget originals Bright, Bird Box, and Triple Frontier, The Highwaymen has the feel of a major motion picture, with a big-name director (John Lee Hancock of The Blind Side and The Rookie) and big stars. Unlike those films, The Highwaymen has a terrific adult script—and something to say.

In a nutshell, The Highwaymen tells the story of a retired legendary Texas Ranger Frank Hamer, who is pressed back into duty in 1934 to hunt down Bonnie and Clyde as their crime spree enters its third year. (This is probably where a zillion fiction writers got the idea for what now has become a thriller cliché.)

Before newfangled things like two-way radios for police cars and communication between departments, Clyde Barrow exploited backroads, state lines, and jurisdictional confusion to keep his gang on the road. Frank Hamer, a seasoned manhunter, decided to hit the road just like the Barrow gang and dog them, learning their patterns—and driven by the conviction born of experience that “outlaws always return home.”

He is joined by his ex-partner and best friend, another famed Ranger, Maney Gault. (In one of the film’s few artistic liberties, Gault joins Hamer early in his quest, when in reality Hamer worked with a few other cops and recruited Gault later.)

Sure, the film is deliberately paced in the middle, as it’s basically a road picture of two old men talking in a car—but it’s really good talk, with cogent points about celebrity worship, the changing world, and the meaning of justice.

But the climax, actually filmed on the road where Bonnie and Clyde were ambushed by Hamer’s posse and shot to pieces, and the aftermath as mobs of hero-worshippers mob the shot-up car with the bodies inside scrambling for souvenirs, are chilling moments that will linger in the viewer’s memory.

But reaction to the film is almost as interesting as the film itself.

On both Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, the movie clocks in at mid-to-high 50s scores, generally signifying a mediocre effort.

But a closer look reveals something different: Reviewers who actually reviewed the movie are mostly positive. Reviewers who reviewed their perception of the movie's politics account for more than half the negative reviews.

Check out this column in the Washington Post, which purports to add a “Made by History Perspective.”

According to this young activist Brown University professor, Frank Hamer was a guardian of Jim Crow and “racial terror,” and the film is a “whitewash.” Mostly, just because he was a Ranger and had words with one of her heroes of the past.

But this would be news to the at least 15 Texas African-Americans that Frank Hamer rescued from lynching in his war against the KKK in West Texas. (This takes about 30 seconds to find on Google.) Or the KKK lynch mob leaders Hamer shot in a confrontation with a 6000-person mob in the only time he lost someone in custody because the courthouse was burned down around him. (And despite the governor’s order not to fire on the crowd.)

It would really be news to legendary bluesman Mance Lipscomb, who was plucked out of the cotton fields by the new 24-year-old Navasota, Texas, marshall, Frank Hamer, and hired to drive his buggy around town for him. Hamer took the job of taming the rough town after a veteran Ranger turned it down. Lipscomb adored Hamer and told his biographer that not only did Hamer stop the lynchings in the area, but that he regularly checked that blacks in the field weren’t being mistreated.

Yes, these are the kinds of stories you get when you start researching Hamer, whose life would be good for about ten movies.

Then there is this dolt, who calls The Highwaymen “revisionist history” because it changes “history” as set down by a movie worshiped by the Left (even though he admits that Frank Hamer’s widow successfully sued Warner Brothers over the depiction of him in Bonnie and Clyde).

Even this reviewer for the website Decider, after giving the movie a positive review, decided she better get her SJW cred in order by saying the movie “whitewashed” Hamer’s “sexism.”

This thin premise is based on Hamer’s terse comment over his resignation from the Rangers to protest the election of Ma Ferguson as governor of Texas. “When they elected a woman governor, I quit,” she wrote.

Again, it would take a few minutes to learn that Governor Ferguson campaigned on being the surrogate for her indicted and impeached former governor husband and that between the two of them, Texas law enforcement became a cash-cow and patronage outfit.

But hey, when you make the mistake of being politically incorrect, virtue signaling is the remedy.

But this does lead us to one of the reasons that Frank Hamer’s legacy needs rescuing. The man hated publicity, unlike other prominent lawmen of his era like Earp, Ness, and Melvin Purvis. He turned down huge fees for interviews after putting down Bonnie and Clyde, and earlier in his career, was run out of Houston by the powers that be for pistol-whipping a reporter.

Everyone in this film seems to have cared deeply about restoring Frank Hamer to his proper place in American history. Like Hamer himself, they have accomplished this mission deliberately, efficiently—and when it calls for it, brutally—and to the great benefit of us all.

And when it’s over, you’ll know how to say “hands up” in Spanish—and the limitations of such a command.


“We seem to be getting closer and closer to a situation where nobody is responsible for what they did but we are all responsible for what somebody else did.”--Thomas Sowell
May 08, 2019, 09:27 PM
Watched this last night and enjoyed it. Focused on the good guys and had a great ending.

Frank Hamer retired in 1949 and in 1955 the lawman who had survived being wounded 17 times died of natural causes. He was laid to rest in Memorial Park Cemetery in Austin, Texas next to his personal hero, his son Billy, who was a Marine killed in combat on Iwo Jima.

Donald Trump is not a politician, he is a leader, politicians are a dime a dozen, leaders are priceless.
May 08, 2019, 09:39 PM
I liked it quite a bit. The remorse of gault was telling. His coming to terms with it like hamer did at a youg age was very well done.
June 30, 2019, 11:45 AM
Finally got through my list to watch this, very good. Not sure how accurate it is, as I'm not up on the Public Enemy Era other than notable names, Dillinger, Nelson, Kelly, etc... That was a ton of driving back then, given the era of autos, can see the reasoning of Gault getting water from the pump at the Okie encampment.

Production quality and story type definitely non-big studio, good for Netflix. Given it's singular view-point and showing small glimpses of B&C, this would've been an independent film at best in a not too distant era of film making. Big Studio or, Production house would've overwhelmed this movie with overbearing audio, script would've been saturated with clumsy, hand-holding dialogue and shaky-cam/quick-cut camera work. This was nice.

With the premium cable networks and streaming services getting deeper into making original content, better stories and a wider variety can be brought to life. Interesting stat I heard on a podcast: 70% of Emmy nominated comedy and dramas were NOT on add supported TV. Netflix, Hulu and Amazon combined for 123 Emmy award nominations this year — a healthy jump from the 72 nominations the three services had last year.
September 21, 2019, 12:48 PM
Originally posted by cslinger:
Is that a Colt Monitor.....bad ass.

I know they used BARs amount other high powered rifles to take down Bonnie and Clyde but is the Monitor significant or just a Hollywood choice.

I did not see the Netflix movie, but I'm reading about the Colt Monitor in Stephen Hunter's fine "G-Man" as Bob Lee Swagger (now 70) studies his grandfather Charles (Earl's dad).

More on the Monitor, with a firing demonstration near the end of the video:

November 06, 2020, 07:04 PM
I only got around to watching it this week. Really good flick, highly recommend.
November 07, 2020, 12:34 AM
I’ve seen it twice and would gladly watch it again. I’m surprised to say I think Harrelson and Kostner were terrific in their roles.

“We seem to be getting closer and closer to a situation where nobody is responsible for what they did but we are all responsible for what somebody else did.”--Thomas Sowell
November 07, 2020, 11:23 AM
Sjtill I agree. Both actors did a terrific job making these men human. Thanks also for posting the thoughtful review. I noted the source and put it in my bookmarks for further reference.
November 07, 2020, 01:35 PM
Timely thread. I watched the film at my nephew's house (he streamed it from a free source) and it was very enjoyable.

"I’m not going to read Time Magazine, I’m not going to read Newsweek, I’m not going to read any of these magazines; I mean, because they have too much to lose by printing the truth"- Bob Dylan, 1965
November 12, 2020, 10:45 PM
For those interested in a story about the Colt Monitor--it's kind of the protagonist of the story--you owe it to yourself to read Stephen Hunter's G-Man.

Hunter's Swagger books have slowed down as Bob Lee has aged, IMO, but this one is hot as a Hot Springs whore.

It's fictionalized history as opposed to pure fiction, but Hunter does a terrific job of making Bob Lee's granddaddy the meanest, killingest G-Man of them all. Supporting cast includes John Dillinger, Baby-Face Nelson, Pretty Boy Floyd, and Melvin Purvis.

“We seem to be getting closer and closer to a situation where nobody is responsible for what they did but we are all responsible for what somebody else did.”--Thomas Sowell
November 18, 2020, 08:06 AM
I mistook the Monitor for a BAR initially. Visually, the Monitors differ from the Browning Automatic Rifle with its use of a pistol grip, different compensator and different handguard. Internally, the Monitors are identical to the standard BAR. All Monitors were assembled from commercial BAR receivers. ... The compensator is not present on the R 75 and R 75A.

“Well, God give them wisdom that have it; and those that are fools, let them use their talents.”
November 18, 2020, 08:14 AM
Originally posted by sjtill:
I’ve seen it twice and would gladly watch it again. I’m surprised to say I think Harrelson and Kostner were terrific in their roles.

Yep, one of the best things either of them were in.

November 18, 2020, 09:05 AM
Originally posted by CQB60:
I mistook the Monitor for a BAR initially. Visually, the Monitors differ from the Browning Automatic Rifle with its use of a pistol grip, different compensator and different handguard. Internally, the Monitors are identical to the standard BAR.

Most every country besides the US who adopted the BAR in the interwar period did so in a pistol gripped configuration. This included Belgium, Sweden, Poland, and China, as well as some smaller countries like Ethiopia and Chile. Further pistol gripped BAR models were also used after WW2 by Luxembourg, Egypt, and Israel.