Don’t go thinking any real-life dad wants a movie like Mr. Mom for Father’s Day. That’s almost as mean as getting him a sweater. For a truly thoughtful gift, consider a few guidelines, learned the hard way. No children should appear in the picture—ever. No wives? Even better. And if you happen to have a mediocre Western in mind, such as 1971’s Catlow, you’re golden.
On disc for the first time and largely forgotten (though not by a certain someone), Catlow was an anachronism even in its day: a stolid meat-and-potatoes adventure. It was the kind of movie that Hollywood was hoping to weed out as hippies fled to fresher fare like Easy Rider and Love Story. What else to do with fading A-listers like Yul Brynner? Put them on horses to remind us of their former glories, give them jaunty identities like Catlow—maverick cattle rustler and spanker of whores—and send them into the Leone-inspired desertscape. Catlow’s got an old friend of a lawman on his tail (Rambo’s Richard Crenna), as well as an eye on some stolen Confederate gold that’s moseying along via mule cart. It’s the kind of plot that should make a normal person yawn.
But these are the same elements that turn Catlow into an irresistible object for couch-rocking papas—along with such virtues as a malevolent Leonard Nimoy (inescapably Vulcan) and some easygoing banter edited by an adult without ADD. Warners’ package includes the trailer, sure to make you laugh: “Jed Catlow likes to take things easy.... That’s why everyone’s out to get him—they want their things...back!”—Joshua Rothkopf