Projections - Movie Reviews

The Newton Boys

I remember when western were exciting.  The Newton Boys is the slowest and dullest bank and train robbery story to ever grace the screen.

After 123 minutes, the best part of the film comes on the screen.  A series of questions and answers between Johnny Carson from The Tonight Show and one of the surviving Newton boys provides the highlight of the film as the credits run.

The Newton boys, Willis (Matthew McConaughey), Joe (Skeet Ulrich), and Jess (Ethan Hawke), robbed over 80 banks from Texas to Canada between 1919 and 1924.  They capped their work with a $3 million train robbery.  The boys considered themselves businessmen who were stealing from the businessmen who were stealing from the people.  Not quite like Robin Hood - they kept the money!  They never killed anyone and initially only used bird-shot in their rifles when they went out on a job.  They all lived to be old men.

The script, however, doesn't survive.  The repetitive arguments about money and how Willis keeps his business a secret from his common law wife Louise Brown (Julianna Margulies) amounts to very little entertainment.

The musical score is worthy of note.  It is filled with southwest tunes played on strumming banjos.  Alabama Jubilee, After You're Gone and Take the A Train fill the soundtrack.

Bring back Hop-A-Long Cassidy, Roy Rogers and even Clint Eastwood; these western never put me to sleep.

The Newton Boys


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