Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Overlooked TV Movies: Goodnight for Justice (2011)

We never watched BEVERLY HILLS 90210 (or the remake, for that matter), but I’ve seen Luke Perry in some other things and enjoyed his work. He seems to have liked making Westerns, and in 2011 and 2012 he did three movies for the Hallmark Channel in which he played John William Goodnight, a federal circuit judge in Wyoming Territory. Evidently Perry himself created the character, although he didn’t have a hand in writing any of the movies.

We recently got a DVD set of all three movies and just watched the first one, GOODNIGHT FOR JUSTICE (directed by Perry’s 90210 buddy Jason Priestley). It does a good job of establishing the character: Goodnight is a successful but somewhat disreputable lawyer in Illinois when he’s appointed by the President to take over the Wyoming circuit. Some flashbacks tell us that he’s actually from that part of the country, the son of settlers who were murdered by outlaws, so he’s grown up with a thirst for justice as well as a desire to track down the boss owlhoot responsible for his parents’ death. Becoming a judge in Wyoming will give him the opportunity to do that.

From that point, the story is a little episodic and the script rather heavy-handed and stereotypical as the main plotline involves Goodnight taking on an evil cattle baron who’s trying to run the peaceful Cheyenne Indians off their land. To get my other complaints out of the way, the movie was made on a pretty small budget and shot in Canada, in the same Canadian movie set where so many other made-for-TV Westerns in this century have been shot. The place just never looks authentic to me. It always comes across as a cheap tourist attraction.

On the plus side, though, the action scenes are fairly well done. Perry looks good in the part and seems to be having fun, and that makes up for a lot. There’s even one nice twist in the plot that I wasn’t expecting. Overall, while far from a great Western, GOODNIGHT FOR JUSTICE is reasonably entertaining, and I won’t hesitate to watch the other two movies in the series.

1 comment:

Jeff Meyerson said...

My wife liked the movie too and also bought the three of them.