Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Who Played It Best? Wyatt Earp

Who Played It Best? Wyatt Earp
"Who Played It Best?" will be a weekly poll on my blog. Each Wednesday, I will collect a group of actors known for playing the same character in the movies. You will have the entire week to vote for who you felt played the character the best. I will announce the winner next Wednesday.

The life of Wyatt Earp is an interesting one. Just saying Earp's life is interesting seems to be a extreme understatement. At one point in his life, Earp was a boxing referee, a pimp, a miner, a brothel owner, a saloon-keeper, a gambler, a bouncer, a buffalo hunter, and a teamster. All of that would make one strange and quite possibly beautiful movie. But the subject matter of Earp's life that is always highlighted in films is his time as a sheriff and policeman. There is one event which defined his entire life, and that event was called the Gunfight at O.K. Corral. It was a thirty second gunfight between the police enforcement of Tombstone, Arizona between a group of outlaw Cowboys. Wyatt Earp became a hero almost over-night, even though he was not the only lawman present at the gunfight.

The western genre is in our blood, if there is one genre of movie that is more American than the superhero genre, its the definitely the western. For a western movie, what is more juicier than a true story of a lawman who fought in a gunfight which ended the lives of three outlaws? It is a great story, ripe with soaring potential. It is such an absorbing story that it was done at least twice (I do not know if a movie was made prior to 1993, sorry.). In 1993, Kurt Russell played Wyatt Earp in "Tombstone." In 1994, Kevin Costner played Wyatt Earp in "Wyatt Earp." So who played the role the best?

My Two Cents
Look, I hate to sound incredibly bias, but that is exactly what is going to happen tonight. I hate to do it, but I simply can't help what I am about to say. I find "Tombstone" to be one of the finest Westerns to ever be committed to film. I love the tension in it, I love how the script is written, I love every single performance, I love every piece of music, I love it all. "Tombstone" highlights the very best that can be done with a biographical film, while also creating a rousing western. I especially love Russell's performance as Wyatt Earp. In "Wyatt Earp," I feel Costner does the best he can, but its a very cookie-cutter, pedestrian performance and character as written in the script. "Wyatt Earp" represents the very worst I see in most biographical films. "Wyatt Earp" is simply a checklist of all the highlights in Wyatt Earp's life and its handled to quickly that we barely register with his achievements. Because Kurt Russell rocked the part and because he was in the much better movie, I give the edge to Kurt Russell.

Which version of the character do you prefer? Let me know by next Wednesday. You can start voting today. You can email me ( or just simply leave a name in my comments section below.

Last week, we had our first demi-god join us in our debate. Last week we looked at both versions of "Clash of the Titans" and the two actors who have played Perseus. The winner is...

Harry Hamlin


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