Gunslingers and high noons faded into history books, a dimming sun on the Western front. Despite recent attempts at revival: the Sisters Brothers, Hostiles, the Ballad of Buster Scruggs, True Grit and even Red Dead Redemption, the Western genre seemingly died.
That is until …
Actor Taylor Sheridan rubbed two paddles together, yelled “clear” and pinned them to the genre’s chest with a jolt. Heart rate steadied, blood flowed and eyes fluttered. The Western genre came alive again. But it’s different than what it used to be. Times have changed, and so should our movies.
Taylor Sheridan’s acting career debuted in the West with Walker, Texas Ranger and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman in the 90s. But it wasn’t until 2008 that his career went to new heights. Taylor Sheridan was a regular as Deputy Chief David Hale on AMC’s popular biker gang show Sons of Anarchy.
In 2015, ’16, and ’17, Sheridan hit Hollywood with three wicked blows. Sicario in 2015, Hell or High Water in 2016, and Wind River in 2017. The actor proved himself to be an incredible writer. In 2018, Sheridan did it again, co-creating the Paramount show Yellowstone featuring Kevin Costner.
The Frontier Trilogy
Taylor Sheridan brought the lawless Western trope to the modern age with three films. While conceptually the frontier was pushed from the Great Plains to Alaska, Taylor Sheridan took us by the hand and showed the truth of the modern Western front. Through Wyoming in Wind River, through Texas/Oklahoma in Hell or High Water, and the volatile U.S.-Mexican border in Sicario. Unofficially dubbed the Frontier Trilogy, Taylor Sheridan mystified audiences with a captivating truth: the West is not as civilized as we think.
Sicario, Hell or High Water and Wind River are three masterpieces. Taylor Sheridan shaped these films into a new sub-genre. All from dirt and clay. The Wild West is over. Now we’re left with the Frontier.
The Land of Wolves
Sheridan doesn’t hold back. Mainly set in barren/poor locations, violence runs rampant in his movies. Country on the rocks. Good Samaritans are often betrayed or let down by an empty system of laws that don’t’t adapt well to the harsh landscapes — eyes turned away blind, ill-equipped law enforcement, hazardous terrain and hearty heroes that have no choice but to take matters into their own hands.
The writing does not coddle the viewer. Films by Taylor Sheridan are hard to watch, not because they’re bad, but because they show us bad things. Subjects that are bitter and twisted. Rarely is there a happy ending. The victorious law triumphing bands of marauders and gangs in old spaghetti westerns is gone by the wayside in favor of harsher, but more realistic plots. Sometimes we have to make hard decisions. Sheridan knows this and forces us to question our moral compasses. Are three deaths worth the life of one? Is justice a crime? And where do we draw the line?
Sheridan uses equal parts brain and brawn. The deep characters and interwoven arcs mixed with heavy action creates an explosive effect. Each character wants to be better. A better father, a better brother, a better person. But in such inhospitable worlds, they must sink or swim, and take leaps that might very well undermine their own humanity.
As Benicio Del Toro says in Sicario, “You are not a wolf, and this is a land of wolves now.”
The stakes are high and you’ll be rubbing your knees ready to scream by the ends of these intense films.
Word is out Taylor Sheridan returned to the typewriter with three more movies on the way. Movie fans nearly fainted upon hearing the news. Three more? Yes, three more and potentially more to follow. Two are expected to release this year in the Fall, one of which is already in post-production.
Here’s what we know.
Those Who Wish Me Dead (October 2020)
Based on the book of the same name by Michael Koryta.
After witnessing a brutal murder, a young boy by the name of Jace Wilson is forced into hiding off the grid in the Montana wilderness. A survival expert is tasked with keeping Jace alive, but the task isn’t so easy. The two methodical assassins responsible for the grisly scene are hot on Jace’s tail with ill-intent while a forest fire ravages Montana.
There is no trailer as of yet, but filming wrapped on set. The cast is stellar with four renowned actors: Angelina Jolie, Tyler Perry, Nicholas Hoult and Walking Dead star Jon Bernthal who’s made appearances in Wind River and Sicario.
Without Remorse (September 2020)
Oddly, Without Remorse is still filming and yet is still expected to release sooner than Those Who Wish Me Dead. What’s not so odd is this is another adaptation, this time from a Tom Clancy book of the same name.
The notable character is John Clark who appears prominently in Clancy’s famous Jack Ryan series. John Clark, a former SEAL is after those responsible for killing his wife. In familiar Clancy fashion, Clark finds himself tied up in a conspiracy larger than his known world.
John Clark is played by Michael B. Jordan. His co-stars include Jamie Bell and Jodie Turner-Smith. Closer to release and still no trailer, unfortunately. However, IGN released a short teaser clip. To see the clip: click here
Fans are sleeping in wait for the master of neo-Westerns to return to cinemas. Until then we have three movies to watch late some nights in the glow of our TVs. And a series to catch up on, but still, how will we manage the time?
September and October will get here soon enough. And when the day comes people will herd themselves outside theater walls on dusty sidewalks and sleep in puddles on blacktops and concrete cracks just to get a glimpse of the new additions to the frontier subgenre.
We hope you enjoy these movies as much as we do at Honeypop! Let us know your favorite Taylor Sheridan films in the comments. Or tweet us @thehoneypop and tell us your favorite westerns of all time!
Featured Image Source: @IMDB Taylor Sheridan