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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Movie Review # 89 Frank and Jesse (1994)

Release: 1994
Director: Robert Boris
Writer: Robert Boris
Cast: Rob Lowe, Bill Paxton, Randy Travis

Rotten Tomatoes: 58% Audience 
IMDb: 5.7/10
Netflix: 3.4 Stars

It amazes me how movies like Frank and Jesse and the late Heath Ledgers film Ned Kelly. Just go under the radar while movies like Tombstone and Young Guns makes huge splashes in the movies. When both Frank and Jesse and Ned Kelly are just as enjoyable as the two others just not known as much and I hope to change that.

Frank and Jesse staring Rob Lowe as Jesse James and Bill Paxton as Frank James is a beautiful period peace movie. That follows their story for the most part with little dramatic flairs added in for the movies. Like how Jesse dies and when Frank turns himself in. To be the most apparent ones that stick out. But outside of those two scenes. I found no qualms or problems with this movie as it entertained.

It taught and it explored a wonderful brotherly relationship between Frank and Jesse, and a lesser extent with Cole Younger (Randy Travis) and his brother Bob Younger (Todd Field). As each played of the other as if they had grown up together and it made for some magical and hilarious moments. One in particular with Frank and Jesse in a bathhouse. Which was funnier than the scene with Mel Brooks and James Garner in Maverick and that was my favorite bath scene in a western.

Just not any longer as when I see a western bathhouse I will automatically think vermin and bugs. Then Bill Paxton's glowing white bum with hat and gun on. It will stick with me forever in a funny sort of way. Which is great as this movie touched me in all the right places. It opens with a light hearted and fun way and ends in a down and sad way. Which is a role reversal for many movies out there. As they open with a somber scene take the beach scene in Saving Private Ryan and end with them getting the kid out.

Even though Tom Hanks character dies at the end. The same can be said of Rob Lowe in this one. He was that character who was larger than life. The one everyone looked up to and the one that became a bigger folk hero than Billy "The Kid". It is also one of the reasons I loved this movie as it didn't over dramatize his story instead it focused on his career highlights and those of friends and family.

It was clean it was neat and it was most the truth. Which is not often said with most movies that depict real life events. If I was a teacher and wanted to teach about the story of the James Younger Gang I would select this movie. As it is a soft R and even that is a stretch. As the only reason it gets this rating is for a slight excess of blood and two scenes where the violence is over the top.

But they are not enough not to show these as a teaching tool as Glory can be shown complete with the watermelon head explosion in school. So if you can give this a shot and it might surprise you on how good this is. Especially if you love Western history and all the Outlaws that it encompasses.

My Rating 4/5 Stars

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