The Good Time Girls Fight Back

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We don’t review a lot of Westerns around here — movies set in America’s Western frontier tend to have predictable storylines and somewhat (or very) mysogynistic and/or racist characters. So I was surprised to come across the short film The Good Time Girls (2017), which busts all of these stereotypes about Westerns. This 15-minute movie is directed and written by Courtney Hoffman, who is better known in Hollywood as a costume designer for films like The Hateful Eight (2015), and she’s reached a deal to expand Good Time Girls into a feature-length theatrical film, with production beginning February 2018.

The Good Time Girls (2017)

For a short film, this packs a lot of punch. The dialog is bitting and even funny at times, and it doesn’t hurt that Laura Dern delivers about 90% of it. The cinematography plays with tropes from Wild West movies, subtly twisting the look and feel to hint that something different is happening. And the acting from the diverse cast and the quirky plot are just fantastic.

The Good Time Girls (2017) The Good Time Girls (2017)

Even the costumes are good for a Western! Which is why I’m giving it a write-up. The costumes in most Westerns are either boring (so many cowboy hats) or wrong-headed cliches like off-the-shoulder blouses and frilly calico everything. Well, this may be a short film with presumably a small budget, but Hoffman’s background as a costume designer shows through. She gave the job here to her assistant on several films, Anastasia Magoutas, who did a fine job outfitting the women in appropriate corsets, chemises, petticoats, and bloomers (even some historically accurate split-crotch drawers are in evidence). Appropriate shoes and stockings for the vaguely 19th-century period are seen too, all covered with a layer of dust. And yeah, many of the women have their hair down — they’re prostitutes out in the middle of nowhere, so I don’t expect a lot of hairpins.

The Good Time Girls (2017) The Good Time Girls (2017)

Watch for yourself — the film would probably be R-rated for graphic content and language, since it’s set in a whorehouse and gets violent.

 

 

What do you think of The Good Time Girls?

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About the author

Trystan L. Bass

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A self-described ElderGoth, Trystan has been haunting the internet since the early 1990s. Always passionate about costume, from everyday office wear to outrageous twisted historical creations, she has maintained some of the earliest online costuming-focused resources on the web. When she’s not dressing up in costumes, she can be found traveling the world with her sweetie and, occasionally, Kendra and Sarah. Her costuming and travel adventures are chronicled on her website, TrystanCraft. She also maintains a popular fashion blog, This Is CorpGoth, dedicated to her “office drag.”

10 Responses

  1. mmcquown

    One of the most authentic westerns I’ve ever seen. Weapons, holsters, the way they were worn and handled — all right on the money.

    Reply
  2. laBelleNoire

    Ok. My heart just grew three sizes. This was so gorgeous, and just the tonic for the culture that incubated #metoo. I would watch this as a full length movie, or a tv series. It would make a great book, too.

    Reply
  3. Lady St. Columb

    I am so tired of the cinema portraying women in the west either as puritanical Madonna figures ‘a la Dr. Quinn/O Pioneers or violent whores – aka Bad girls/Banditas, etc.

    Why do filmmakers continually insult their audiences with either saccharine snooze fests or brutal horror sequences thrown in with gratuitous nudity?

    The histories’ of women in the west is so vast and even more complex than their men counterparts are. For the first time in U.S. History, on a consistent basis, women “were allowed to be” doctors, mayors, lawyers, librarians, cattle ranchers, landowners, merchants, farmers; even some became fire fighters and miners.

    Why are these stories rarely (if even ever) told?

    Life was never on a daily basis either a Dr. Quinn episode or a Tarentino film.

    Also, any of the “soiled dove” photographs that remain of the old western period all show the women with tidy clothes of the period and hair worn up!!!

    From personal experience with living, either in the southwest or the mid-Atlantic to deep south most of my existence, whether it is dry heat or humid heat – women always have their hair up or short. For the film, artistic license, I suppose.

    The only plusses to this film was the diverse and intelligent cast, the diligence to the undergarments, and that it is a great revenge fantasy for the endless amounts of women that have suffered just for being a woman. Nevertheless, it was difficult to watch.

    Thank you for reviewing and starting a conversation about such a film considering current events of the past year.

    I apologize if this is “TLDR” but I am most passionate about this particular subject matter. Instead of seething continually at the usual bi-polar spectrum that is hollyweird, I shall put forth energy in a positive manner and –

    -In the words of Toni Morrison (but I shall apply it to any art including the visual arts such as film) –

    “If there is a book that you want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”

    Reply
    • Trystan L. Bass

      I get what you’re saying. But this is 15 minutes of storytelling (less, once you remove the opening & credits) & has one specific thing to say — the revenge fantasy, as you pointed out. Since the director/writer got funding to make a feature-length film out of it, hopefully she can give the story a more realistic context. She’d have to do something to stretch it out to two hours if it’s going to have the same emotional punch.

      Reply
    • Jen

      Deadwood has some strong female characters that aren’t a revenge story. Does some interesting things with the story too, pointing out that while one woman may own the bank, she doesn’t have a seat at the table when things are decided for the town. But Deadwood is different because it is about the town, about society there. For the most part, Westerns are about tropes, Good Time Girls no exception. What is different here is how they are exploiting the men, using the men’s weakness and lack of attention to them as humans (really, none of them recognized these women?) to their advantage.

      Good stuff that have depth of character are getting made, just not in the movies. Character driven stuff has moved into TV.

      Reply
    • Lady Hermina De Pagan

      There are several stories out there that show women doing more than be just a “soiled doves” or frontier Madonna’s. Have you watched Hell on Wheels on AMC? Its a story about the building of the transcontinental railroad. The story started from the prospective of one man, however, the richly diverse women that he encounters while on his journey are breathtaking. Truly, I stopped caring about his story and was drawn to the story of Eva O’Toole and Ruth Cole. Two women who bond over shared losses and experiences.
      there is my favorite western movie from 1951, Westward the Women. A group of women who traveled from Boston to a boom town as mail order brides. The story is these girls from the city learning to live on the trail and how they become stronger and more. the ending is pure 1950’s but it doesn’t take away from the story.

      Reply

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