Sometimes, you want to like a film more than you actually do. “Billy and the Kid” is one of these.
There’s nothing wrong with the film, per se. The flick looks great, it features performances that range from good to just shy of very good, it’s well shot, has great settings, is reasonably clever, and it even has a nice message.
But it’s sort of – dull? Obvious? Clichéd?
The film tells us the tale of Billy – a security guard in a Western-themed little townlet. The kind of summer place you go to when you’ve got ten-year-old boys who want to wear cowboy boots and play with cap guns.
Billy wears a ten-gallon hat and a badge that reads “Sheriff.” He’s an older man, somewhere in his seventies. He just got his first form letter from a “retirement community.”
Into the town ride the “the kid,” in the form of a band by the name of Ape Fetus. Their bus pulls in, and trouble steps out. The band members break things. They’re disrespectful. They taunt a fat kid, multiple times. They are, in other words, exactly the kind of punk kids you want to tell to get off your lawn. The cops come, but they’re fans, and they walk off with signed T-shirts. And then, it’s up to Billy to save the day.
There are a few extra subplots kicking around, but they don’t really figure into what this is – a modern-day western. Down to the sun-bleached shots of the town just before the final showdown.
And maybe that’s why it just didn’t do all that much for me. I’d say that perhaps I’m the wrong audience, but I’m having a hard time figuring out for whom this film was made.
Kids? Do they really want to watch a story about an old man triumphing over a rock band?
Adults? Perhaps they would watch it with their children, but, well, then we’re back to the kids.
The elderly? Maybe. Given our youth culture, perhaps they’d like to see a film in which the old triumph over the young, and everyone learns a lesson.
The DVD is just as well put together as the film is. There are a few deleted scenes, which add a little to the story. There’s a commentary featuring just about everyone in the film, which has a few amusing tidbits and interesting facts. Much the same can be said of the short production documentary.
But there’s nothing there to make me sit up and say, “Wait, this is a great film after all.”
Like I said before, it isn’t a bad film, just one without much to recommend it.
Okay, there are two things. The last minute of the film has a nice little twist to it, and the smile on Billy’s face as he walks off into the sunset is iconic, amusing and heartfelt.
And the other is a band member’s only line -“Geezer’s gone crazy, man.”