Alright, y’all over at Rotten Tomatoes be high, and you know how I know? I just found out you gave “Wild Wild West (1999)” a mere SEVENTEEN PERCENT! “Wild Wild West”! Seventeen percent! High right outta your damn minds.
Silver Linings friends, back me up. Here’s what Rotten Tomatoes had to say about this absolute gem of a film:
Title: Wild Wild West (1999)
Starring: Will Smith, Kevin Kline, Kenneth Branagh, Salma Hayek
Score: 17% (although obviously someone was completely incapacitated when they gave it that score, so we’ll take it with a mountain of salt)
Critics Consensus: Bombastic, manic, and largely laugh-free, Wild Wild West is a bizarre misfire in which greater care was lavished upon the special effects than on the script.
THIS IS A TRAVESTY.
Let’s get through the rough bit quick so we can get down to the business of explaining to the world why this movie is SHEER PERFECTION.
CRAP THING #1:
No evil genius wants to build a giant spider. A tank, a warship, a really big gun, whatever. Not a giant spider. I get there’s a leggy theme going on, and they try to bring it around with the Desert Wasp v. Tarantula situation, but no.
CRAP THING #2:
The sexism and racism are strong with this one. The movie seems self-aware to some extent, but there’s a whoooooooole lotta NOPE going on.
CRAP THING #3:
Exposition. This seems to be a running “crap thing” (get it) throughout Silver Linings Movie Reviews: films think their viewers are stupid. So stupid, in fact, that we won’t be able to follow a simple (if ridiculous) plot without it being spoon-fed to us at every turn. “Wild Wild West” definitely isn’t as bad as other offenders, but I did find myself occasionally cringing and shouting “I KNOW” at the screen.
AND NOW. PREPARE YOURSELF. FOR THE AWESOME. (To be honest, I almost feel like I’m cheating here. The following aren’t so much “Silver Linings” as they are “Core Parts of the Film that are Wonderful, Hilarious and Unmissable.” But whatever. This is fun for me.)
SILVER LINING #1:
The puns. YES! THE PUNS! Mainly the pun battle between Will Smith and Kenneth Branagh, where Kenneth’s making fun of Will because he’s black, and Will’s making fun of Kenneth because he’s disabled. Sounds great, right?! No but for real it’s great.
SILVER LINING #2:
Kevin Kline as Doris the Saloon Girl. And the Canadian Woodsman. And the Chef. Basically all of Kevin’s dress-up costumes. The man can do anything! And he’s got that one line when he’s dressed up as Doris and a man whispers into his ear to proposition him and he goes, “Oh, I’m sorry, that won’t be possible, I have… tonsillitis.” It’s GOLD.
SILVER LINING #3:
Coleman and his magical train of misfit toys. Played by the eminent M. Emmet Walsh, Coleman is on screen for maybe three minutes, but it’s not the length (of time), it’s how you use it, isn’t that right, girls?! His reactions to overhearing some out-of-context conversations between Will Smith and Kevin Kline are brilliant, and he has this kind of avuncular gruff thing going on. Plus the train is fab: hidden compartments, trap doors, billiard balls with sleeping gas inside. What more could you want?
SILVER LINING #4:
Kenneth Branagh’s whole deal. His accent, his facial hair, his oddly sexual vibe, his retinue of ladies with outrageous names (Miss Leppenreader has a German accent and read lips, of course)… all of it. It’s wonderful, and you can just tell he had the time of his life doing it.
Bonus Kenneth Branagh sexy moment: I couldn’t find a gif of this, but just LOOK AT THIS MAN. (This is from the 1994 version of “Frankenstein,” which I may well review in the future. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 39%. I give Kenneth’s abs 100%.)
SILVER LINING #5:
THE SONG! Last but certainly not least, the song. Not technically part of the film, I know, but fuck yourself. The song is amazing, Will Smith is amazing, Cisco is amazing (where even is that human anymore?), and I definitely knew the entire dance at one point. And the music video even has like an extra scene from the movie in it! How generous! I just. Could not love this whole thing more.
Alright I’m gonna stop myself there before I go on all night. TL;DR: This movie is a staple of my teenage years, and is a gift to the world of cinema, and everyone should see it.
Until next time, this is Silver Linings, signing off.