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New find, old movie: Quigley Down Under


When you've labeled yourself a Vidiot, you'd better believe the topic of conversation in your vicinity is often film. But chit-chat can only last (or remain interesting) so long when I'm the one doing all the talking. So I've taken to asking others about their favorite films. Not only does it generate quality small talk, but it also gives me an excuse to add titles to my Netflix queue I might otherwise have overlooked.

A favorite of my co-worker Shane--the guy occupying the cubicle next to me for the last year and a half--is 1990's Quigley Down Under.

"With Tom Selleck? That's your favorite film?" I scoffed. I'd heard of it, but never thought to watch it, somehow always confusing the name with Disney's The Rescuers Down Under.

"It's just a lot of fun," he replied. "Watch it and see for yourself."

Strangely enough, killing time awaiting my flight back to the mainland from my Hawaiian honeymoon a few months back, I found Selleck's face peeking at me from a $5 bargain bin in the island superstore--and couldn't resist buying it. It got buried in a stack of junk when I got home, but this weekend, I finally dug it out.

The story, in short: Wyoming sharpshooter Matthew Quigley (Selleck) is summoned to Australia by rancher Elliott Marston (Alan Rickman) to kill off encroaching dingoes. But on arrival, Quigley discovers his real task is to pick off pesky Aborigines--a job he refuses. A fight ensues, and with a price now placed on his head, Quigley has to fight off Marston's whole gang and survive the Outback, assisted only by a certifiably insane woman (Laura San Giacomo, Pretty Woman) from a nearby town.

Selleck carries over his Magnum, P.I. likability (and killer moustache), Rickman's villainous portrayal is somewhere in between his turns as Die Hard's Hans Gruber and Robin Hood's Sheriff of Nottingham, and San Giacomo shows way more versatility than her roles in Pretty Woman and Just Shoot Me. With Australian Simon Wincer, director of the famed miniseries Lonesome Dove, on set, the film certainly feels like a credible Western.

I won't necessarily be adding this title to the list of my own favorite films, but I can see why Shane likes it. Besides, considering he's the company IT guy, I give him props for never once broaching the topic of typical computer geek favorite, Star Wars--even though his cat is named Chewbacca.