So, we went and saw Cowboys &. Aliens this afternoon.
We watch, not a ton of movies, but a fair number, and most of them I would qualify as decent. I can't remember the last time I saw a truly bad movie (my notes say that Van Helsing would have been better if I'd been awake enough for it). But a really really good movie, the kind where I leave the theater going "Wow, that was really good. That was a good story. That was good storytelling"? Those are pretty rare, but I've seen two this year: Super 8 and Cowboys &. Aliens (both had Steven Spielberg involved, go figure).
Cowboys & Aliens is a story of unlikely heros, people who have done bad or questionable things who find themselves doing good things. It is a story that is shown, not told. Example:
Little boy: I miss my dad. Older man: He'll send for you when it's time. Little boy: It's been a year. Older man: He cares for you, he just wants you to be safe since your mom died. And my little girl is buried here; this is home.
So he's grandpa. But we don't have to be told that; the story lets us work that out ourselves.
The trailer makes this look like a big boomy movie, but it isn't. It is in places, but it's mostly a movie about family and people and who we might be and stepping up to the plate. It also loves on sci-fi and western cliches, and makes them good.
Go see it. It's really good. And while you're at it, see Super 8 if you haven't already; it was awesome.