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A show for the other America?


Just watched about an hour of the Netflix movie Don't Look Up, about people acting stupidly as a comet streaks toward our planet to kill us all. I scarcely believed a moment of it. I'll eventually watch the rest, but I found it clownish, trite and implausible.


Perhaps I should have spent the time subscribing to Paramount+ so I could finally check out Yellowstone, the hugely popular Kevin Costner series about a modern day Western land baron. According to this fascinating story in The Guardian, it's one of the most popular shows on television, drawing ratings reminiscent of Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead.


And yet, according to this article, Yellowstone has been virtually ignored by the sages and prophets of American pop culture. The critics don't even mention it, apparently because it's the sort of thing that plays very well in Red America.


It might be just the thing for yours truly, but not for any political reason. It's just that a couple years ago, I fell in love with a different Costner vehicle, the wonderful Netflix movie The Highwaymen. Based on historical events, it features Costner as legendary Texas Ranger Frank Hamer and Woody Harrelson as his partner Maney Gault. Long retired, they're called back into service to track down the deadly outlaws Bonnie and Clyde. It's a simply wonderful movie, stately, stern and moving, about two tough old guys who don't want to kill any more, but know they've got to, one more time. There's not a trace of irony, hiptitude or snark. Just a strong, straight-ahead drama, something for a grown-up to watch.


Maybe Yellowstone is like that. Maybe I should find out.

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