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‘Magnificent 7’ remake slays lots of bad guys

How many more dead cowboys will it take before they finally heed one of the sacred commandments of Westerns?

The bandit Tuco in “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly,” summed it up appropriately: “When you have to shoot, shoot. Don’t talk. Don’t stand around trying to talk him to death.”

Indeed.

So often, the talking cowboy who pauses before pulling the trigger to preach to his victim, gets gunned down by a pistol hidden in the bad guy’s boot. That almost happens once again in the newly released “Magnificent Seven.”

Talk about a shoot-‘em-up Western …

I lost count of the bad guys gunned down in this remake of the 1960 classic. Yul Brenner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson and Eli Wallach were the major stars in the original. In the new version, Denzel Washington takes the lead role, and he demonstrates that he can play anything — from Malcolm X to a Civil War private to a boxer, drug kingpin, corrupt cop and now a gunfighter. He casts a long shadow from the saddle.

The new movie differs drastically from the Yul Brenner version. What is the same is that a collection of seven misfits takes on an army of bad guys as they defend a town of hapless citizens.

Effete New York movie critics have not been kind to the new version. One writer couldn’t resist the temptation to dabble into politics, comparing the movie bad guy to Donald Trump. Actual moviegoers have been kinder, making it the top grossing flick last week with a $35 million audience.

I am not a movie critic, but I know what I like, and I liked the new Magnificent. Of course, I like about every cowboy movie I see. It’s not the best Western ever, but it’s pretty good, and it’s on the big screen.

To my delight, it repackages the stirring music from the original.

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So, who won the presidential debate? On technique and style, probably Hillary Clinton. On who landed the hardest punches, Donald Trump. Her smirk bothered me. His answers often wandered into the tall grass. She wasn’t inspiring, but she did well enough and didn’t make any obvious mistakes. He bumbled about some as is his custom but delivered a serious indictment that for all Hillary’s experience, it’s bad experience. Her election would mean more of the same. The question for voters is whether they want more of the same or someone who will chart a different course. I’m not sure we need two more debates to make up our minds.

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A couple hundred alumni gathered Saturday at the old Clemmons High School to celebrate their youth. Clemmons High closed in 1956. Principal Frank Morgan attended the reunion. In a memory of the old school, he wrote, “It was May 1956 that the last graduating class of Clemmons High School marched in-step down the aisle of the school auditorium while singing the hymn, ‘God of Our Fathers.’” My, times have changed.

— Dwight Sparks