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The 10 least realistic cowboy movies of all time (with video)

The 10 least realistic cowboy movies of all time (with video) (photo)

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The American West was a strange, tragic and occasionally hilarious place, especially in the world of film. From “True Grit” and “Shane” to “Westworld” and “Blazing Saddles,” movies have thrown just about everything they can muster at cowboy-hatted icons like John Wayne and Yul Brynner.

2011’s “Cowboys and Aliens” is hardly the first movie to mix Western elements in with science fiction or ridiculous monsters. For almost as long as Hollywood has been making movies about lawlessness and bandits, filmmakers have been finding ways to make the West weird. So while we do tip our Stetsons to Mel Brooks, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen and every other innovator of the cowboy movie genre, these ten films burned new brands onto cowboy stories as an institution and truly set themselves apart as the most surreal buckaroo films ever made.

[#10-6]   [#5-1]   [Index]

10. “The Terror of Tiny Town” (1939)
Before “Oklahoma!” and “Cannibal! The Musical” set the struggles of the early American frontier to music, director Sam Newfield and a cast of little people imagined a world where tall folks didn’t exist and a town united in song to combat a shorter-than-average villain. It’s vintage post-Vaudeville Hollywood at its most entertaining, and nothing like it has been made since.

9. “Shanghai Noon” (2000)
Owen Wilson looked like he was trying to pull off an encore performance of his role from “Bottle Rocket” in this comedy directed by Tom Dey. The difference this time around was the presence of his co-star Jackie Chan. Pretty much any stunt that Chan pulls off on-screen looks surreal, but the least believable part of this movie is that Lucy Liu can’t save herself. That plot point alone places this movie in a parallel universe.

8. “Undead or Alive: A Zombedy” (2007)
If you spend money to see one zombie cowboy experience in your lifetime, buy the “Undead Nightmare” downloadable content for Rockstar Games’ “Red Dead Redemption.” If you have cash burning a hole in your pocket and absolutely must see Chris Kattan fight off zombie hordes in the old West, well, “Undead or Alive” is going to be your only choice. It should be noted that we have no sympathy for anyone who subjects themselves to this kind of torment.

7. “Cowboys and Aliens” (2011)
The most recent release on our list earned its place from its title and premise alone. Harrison Ford by himself should be enough to ward off a settler-kidnapping alien invasion (you’ve seen “Air Force One,” right?). But oh no. Director Jon Favreau gave Daniel Craig some high-powered energy weapon capable of shooting down alien ships. If aliens were smart enough to explore the cosmos and find other inhabited planets, they should at least know better than to challenge James Bond and Indiana Jones.

6. “Wild Wild West” (1999)
Trust us, “Wild Wild West” only gets more absurd if you ever hear Kevin Smith talk about the giant spider from the film that almost ended up in the Superman movie he nearly wrote. A lot of the zany machinery that appears is mechanical and steampunky, though, which why it got pushed into the lower five picks in this lineup. The music video it inspired, however, is the reason why we ranked it above “Cowboys and Aliens.”

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Rev Up

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.

Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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