(Photo by 20th Century Fox Film Corp. courtesy Everett Collection)
Back in 1988, a slick, stylish, star-powered Western helped reignite interest in the genre by making one key decision: Instead of the grizzled old cowboys folks were used to seeing, Young Guns pulled together some of Hollywood’s hottest young twentysomethings and set them loose to swagger all over the screen. It was a frontier shoot-’em-up for the MTV generation, and audiences ate it up, making it a box office success. So of course they had to make a sequel.
Young Guns II brought back Emilio Estevez’s Billy the Kid, Kiefer Sutherland’s “Doc” Scurlock, and Lou Diamond Phillips’s Jose Chavez y Chavez, added a few fresh faces (Christian Slater, William Peterson, Balthazar Getty, James Coburn, Alan Ruck), and framed everything as a flashback from the perspective of Brushy Bill Roberts, the real-life Texas man who claimed to be Billy the Kid back in 1948. The result was just as much a financial success as the first film, but critics collectively preferred to drink turpentine and piss on a brush fire.
Fans of the sequel, of course, feel otherwise. Not only is Estevez at his mischievous best, giggling his trademark giggle and uttering unforgettable one-liners like “Yoo-hoo! I’ll make you famous,” but the film is gorgeously shot and full of memorable scenes. And we haven’t even mentioned the music yet: Alan Silvestri’s sweeping score is appropriately evocative and romantic and triumphant all at once, and Jon Bon Jovi’s chart-topping “Blaze of Glory” is a bona fide gunslinger’s anthem.
Now, it’s not every episode of “Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong” that Jacqueline and Mark agree, but both of them happen to be ride-or-die fans of Young Guns II, so this week’s guest is an extra-special treat. The man who personally chose to defend the film is none other than Alan Ruck, who plays
Henry William French, aka (albeit very briefly) “Buckshot George.”
Depending on your age, you may know Ruck as Ferris Beuller’s sad-sack BFF Cameron, womanizing mayoral staffer Stuart Bondek on the sitcom Spin City, or the loopy Connor Roy from HBO’s hugely successful Succession, which is currently in the middle of its third season. Ruck not only discusses his favorite moments in the film and why it struck such a chord with audiences, but also describes how Lou Diamond Phillips narrowly escaped death on set, remembers Viggo Mortensen as a young horse whisperer, and offers more great stories from behind the scenes.
Check in every Thursday for a new episode of Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong (A Podcast From Rotten Tomatoes). Each week, hosts Jacqueline and Mark and guests go deep and settle the score on some of the most beloved – and despised – movies and TV shows ever made, directly taking on the statement we hear from so many fans: “Rotten Tomatoes is wrong.”
Check out some more episodes of Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong:
If you have a suggestion for a movie or show you think we should do an episode on, let us know in the comments, or email us at email@example.com.
Meet the hosts
Jacqueline Coley is an editor at Rotten Tomatoes, with a focus on awards and indie coverage but with a passion for everything, from the MCU to musicals and period pieces. Coley is a regular moderator at conventions and other events, can be seen on Access Hollywood and other shows, and will not stand Constantine slander of any kind. Follow Jacqueline on Twitter: @THATjacqueline.
Mark Ellis is a comedian and contributing editor for Rotten Tomatoes. He currently hosts the Rotten Tomatoes series Versus, among others, and can be seen co-hosting the sports entertainment phenomenon Movie Trivia Schmoedown. His favorite Star Wars movie is Jedi (guess which one!), his favorite person is actually a dog (his beloved stepdaughter Mollie), and – thanks to this podcast – he’s about to watch Burlesque for the first time in his life. Follow Mark on Twitter: @markellislive.