The Modern Buckaroo’s Guide to Happiness; or What Else to Give the Silver-Screen Western Hero of Your Life

Two words: Special Features.

If your Silver-Screen Western Hero wanna-be has a New Year’s resolution that entails

  • learning to kick miscreant butt in showdowns
  • wearing spurs that jingle, jangle, jingle
  • eating calf nuts on the range in between cattle drives and drinking bad rye in shot-up saloons (whee!)

then he or she is going to need a go-to pick-me-up for those times when shuffling papers or filing for unemployment is a bit too unheroic.

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Give the awesomeballness of the DVD “Special Edition” The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, which not only includes the pause-worthy, universe-stopping battle of the stares of the film’s three iconic stars but also a fistful of extras like a documentary on Sergio Leone’s operatic style, an epic making-of, and, for ultimate geeking out on all things spaghetti, commentary by film historian Richard Schickel (I know–that shivered my timbers too).

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Give the DVD release of Appaloosa, the best-buds western starring Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen–okay, okay, they were basically married. Watch your hero swoon at western porn (those delicious shots of leather saddles and gleaming six-guns at the ending credits), and take up knitting or something while your hero is riveted by a western-nerd-worthy documentary on the historical accuracy of the film, a graceful description of the re-creation of the town of Appaloosa someplace way the hell away from anything, and excellent poetic commentary, laconic style, by director/actor Ed Harris and screenwriter/producer Robert Knott.

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But the Stocking Stuffer of the Year award has to go to the new Blu-ray release of Deadwood, as in all f**king 36 episodes. Although my TV is powered by prairie c***sucking dogs running on wheels, even I know that this Blu-ray edition is just another word for a motherf***king piñata of eye-candy period sets, historically-accurate-and-if-not-who-the-hell-cares gear, and mud-spattered f**king cowboy boots. In this new format, the town of Deadwood and its denizens become even more mythological, dense, exact, and elemental. The theatrical flair of the motherf**king dialogue, the bizarre machinations of blow jobs and fist fights and explosive gunshots finally have the right setting. And for those who jones for even more of ever f**king more, the special features include the bittersweet “The Meaning of Endings,” a rumination by series’ creator David Milch on the tragic end of the Shakespearean HBO drama. The Bard would be proud.

But most of all, give the gift of time. Becoming a hero doesn’t happen overnight, although courageous, life-saving decisions only need a split second. For most schlubs, becoming a hero takes hours of sweaty practice and extreme headache-inducing concentration, as well as the right gear (more on the importance of boots here). So don’t tack on a “The End” to your loved one’s aspirations–give the gift that keeps on giving, from opening vista to ending credits.

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