Sam Strange Remembers: THE LONE RANGER

No cultures were harmed much during the making of this film.

If there is one thing kiddies like to spend their movie money on, it is superheroes. And if there were two things, the other would probably be super nerdy cowboys. And if there's room for a third thing in there: Making fun of Indians. In other words, the youth of the world is basically begging someone to make a Lone Ranger film. I'm just the guy smart enough to hear their cries.

The Lone Ranger is all about this fella named Hammy Hammer Wayne who is always by himself because no one else likes him. When you meet him, you'll understand why. Hammer is an uptight, humorless stick in the mud who acts for serious the way Bruce Campbell acts as a joke. For a moment it seems like he might be cool because he says he doesn't believe in God, but then he reveals that he worships John Locke, who we all know was just a dumb cripple whose delusions of grandeur made him an easy target for manipulation.

Hammy's big no-no is his staunch policy against killing people. That's a good policy these days, but he lives in a world where even the rabbits can fly through the air and bite your head off. How weird was the old west? Weird enough that Hammy Hammer Wayne, the most virtuous guy in the world, had a child out of wedlock with his brother's wife.

Hammy Hammer Wayne is on a train ride back home to Gotham after six years away at Chess School. Unfortunately, things are not meant to go smoothly for poor Hammy. See, there are two prisoners in the back of the train who are also on their way to Gotham. One is a mean son of a bitch named Butch Coolidge. The other is just some dumb Indian.

Butch is sort of the main attraction for everyone back in Gotham. See, this railroad tycoon named Carmine Falcone wants to publicly hang him so everyone will know better than to ever fuck with him while he's building the first railroad line to stretch from LA to NY, a goal he aims to keep no matter how many Chinamen and Indians he has to kill. Unfortunately, Butch has a tight crew of pirates working for him who break him free from his train car.

Hammy Hammer Wayne realizes that these ruffians are breaking the law and wants to stand up to them. He cannot use violence however, so he attacks them by reading aloud from his John Locke book. Some of the pirates fall asleep (which causes them to fall off the train where their bones are ground to dust as their flesh rips and winds through the train's unyielding gears). Others just get angry, but in their anger they make massive missteps (which causes them to fall off the train where their bones are ground to dust as their flesh rips and winds through the train's unyielding gears).

Pretty soon, no one the train still lives but Hammy Hammer Wayne, Butch Coolidge, and the dumb Indian. Butch jumps off the train into the arms of even more Pirates. Hammy and the Indian are forced to watch and do nothing as the train runs out of railing, throws them into the next state, then proceeds to almost run them over. Then it explodes, leaving them with soot-covered faces. This grants them anonymity, which means the Indian gets to run away without being murdered and Hammy gets to reunite with his brother before his brother can come up with some excuse to be out of town.

Luckily, there's little time for catching up. Hammy's brother is a law man and Butch Coolidge is on the loose, so it's his job to form a posse and go kick some ass. Sensing that they intend to bring a man back only to execute him, Hammy insists on coming along so that he may change all their political beliefs before they all lessen the dignity of their humanity by taking the life of another. When they are all ambushed and murdered by Butch and his gang of pirates a mere five miles later, it's almost like a gift from God.

Well, maybe not for Hammy's brother, who has to watch as Coolidge eats his still-beating heart. See, Butch Coolidge is what's known as a Wendigo, which is a type of bad guy who thinks he might want to be a cannibal, tries it out once, and pretends to like it while silently promising himself to never attempt something so disgusting ever again.

While all this is going on, that goofy Indian from earlier is off in the distance crawling around on all fours, eating sand, and talking to himself. He happens to see Hammy's crew get killed and when all the pirates leave, he decides to bury all the dumb hick cowboys who likely would have shot him on sight a mere five hours earlier out of the kindness of his own heart.

That may not gel with you, so let me explain what's going on here. This Indian's name is Toronto. He is retarded. So he loves white people. I figured that might offend real Native Americans, so I made sure he was played by a white guy. I figured that might offend white people, so I paid a real Native American guy $50 to make this white guy an honorary member of this tribe.

It turns out that Hammy was only shot in the elbow, so he's not actually dead. Luckily, Toronto only buried him in chicken feet, moon dust, and All-father farts, so he has no problem climbing out of his grave. The sight does a number on Toronto's already fragile mind however, and he automatically assumes Hammy is now a Spirit Walker: The white man destined to help him get revenge on all white men everywhere for killing his tribe. So he needs Hammy but hates him at the same time. Meanwhile, Hammy needs Toronto to protect him from carnivorous rabbits, but hates him because he hates all Indians. Thus is born a partnership for the ages.

Like his hero John Locke, Hammy wants to believe he's special after a lifetime of being a loser, so he's especially susceptible to Toronto's advice. Therefore, instead of going back to Gotham, he stays out in the country jumping in and out of caves for no reason. Not only that, but Toronto even gets him to don a mask and wear his underwear on the outside of his pants.

After years of screwing around, Hammy and Toronto get wind that Carmine Falcone, Buck Coolidge, and Barry Pepper have teamed up to murder mass quantities of Indians. Even with his mental imbalance, Toronto knows this is an evil that needs to be stopped, so he begins training Hammy to be a badass. This is especially difficult because Hammy is still a pacifist. Together they decide on a compromise: Hammy can lead people right up to their deaths but stop just short of killing them. His main weapon is still a pistol, but he only uses it as an object of blunt trauma, usually applied to people's faces while they're tied up.

With that sorted, Hammy and Toronto finally return to Gotham where all the bad guys are waiting. At this point in the film everything suddenly changes into the fun superhero action film you all came to see. So wake up!

Pretty soon, all the bad guys are dead, most of them set on collusion courses with lethal objects by Hammy or Toronto only to be let go at the last second to let fate and/or physics decide whether they live or die.

Speaking of which, a similar fate almost befalls Hammy and Toronto as they find themselves on a train engine about to speed off a cliff. But then at the last moment, the dead bird on Toronto's head comes to life and flies them to safety. Unfortunately, on the way to safety, the bird looks down and notices that Hammy is not an Indian and drops him into the Grand Canyon instead.

With Hammy dead, no one is able to explain what the fuck is up with Toronto. He's pretty funny looking though, so he is sold to the circus where he spends the rest of his life telling this long-ass story to precocious children in exchange for peanuts.

(three stars)