SCTV alumnus Eugene Levy leads a stalwart band of troupers into Mel Brooks territory with SODBUSTERS, a spirited SHANE send-up that early on gives BLAZING SADDLES a run for its money.
Slade Cantrell (John Vernon), a back-room power broker in 1870s Marble Hat, Colorado, thinks nothing of scaring the ovine locals into giving up their land for a song, by which he plans to profit greatly once the railroad is diverted. Cantrell has his bunkhouse boys kill a meddlesome hired hand
at the sodbuster farm of Clarence (Fred Willard) and Lilac Gentry (Wendel Meldrum), and sits back to wait for the stampede out of town. This creates a sudden job opening for itinerant stranger Destiny (a grizzled Kris Kristofferson), who doesn't take kindly to his reception in the local tavern at
the hands of Cantrell's ruffians.
Soon enough, Destiny is recreating famous scenes from the original SHANE--teaching Joe, Jr. (Cody Jones) how to shoot, riding into town for provisions, steaming up the suggestible Mrs. Gentry, etc. As Cantrell's means of persuasion become more overt, farmers begin to contemplate abandoning their
stakes. But after overcoming a debilitating bout of cowardice, which is grounded in his childhood through a complicated series of flashbacks, Destiny rallies the simple townsfolk into standing up for their rights, and Cantrell's kind are driven out of town on a rail.
Showtime Cable picked up this Canadian effort as part of its original film series, and it's good fit, although the humor drags after the first half-hour or so. Still, there are some inspired moments of lunacy, such as the town crier who implores his fellow citizens not to bury their heads in the
sand, but can't quite remember the name of the bird famed for such evasion; then, at the tensest moment in a showdown, he screams out "Ostrich!" TV character veterans are on hand throughout, including the top-flight Willard at his most discombobulated, Steve Landesberg as the sardonic Gunther
Schteuppin, and Max Gail and James Pickens, Jr., respectively the town's haberdasher and blacksmith, who find they share a deep and abiding affection for one another, as only real men of the open range can. (Adult situations.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1994
- Rating: NR
- Review: SCTV alumnus Eugene Levy leads a stalwart band of troupers into Mel Brooks territory with SODBUSTERS, a spirited SHANE send-up that early on gives BLAZING SADDLES a run for its money. Slade Cantrell (John Vernon), a back-room power broker in 1870s Marbl… (more)