Mammas don’t let your boys grow up to be Urban Cowboys!

MOV_6923b109_bAs I roundup my reviews, I reflect on the components of a fan-fucking-tastic ’80s movie. If you don’t remember, refer to my About Last Night… review.

The movie Perfect got ten out of ten
Purple Rain got nine out of ten
About Last Night got eight out of ten
And drum roll please… Urban Cowboy got seven out of ten

Urban Cowboy (UC) was sweaty, slummy, and hot! Aaron Latham wrote Urban Cowboy. Latham also co-wrote the movie Perfect (1st movie we reviewed for Valentine’s Special), another Travolta film. Both films were based off of articles written by Latham in the ’70s. Urban Cowboy takes place in Texas. This Honky Tonk love story is centered around two dysfunctional lovebirds: “Bud,” played by John Travolta, and Sissy, played by Debra Winger. Bud is a hothead, country bumpkin who moves in with his uncle Bob, played by Barry Corbin, to find work at an oil rig. Winger lives in the same town and works with her parents. Sissy and Bud meet at the local Honky Tonk (#1), which is where most of the movie takes place. They start dancing after they antagonize each other and engage in some serious tongue action (#7). Of course, we get to see Travolta strut his stuff. This time it’s country (#10). I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to play the banjo and get my line dancing on! This movie was instrumental in revamping Travolta’s image. He wanted roles that showcased his acting and not his hip action. He definitely pulled off the macho thing. The country western dancing in this film was very sexy and masculine. It made me forget he wore tights in Staying Alive.

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Urban Cowboy (1980)

11740Starring John Travolta, Debra Winger, Scott Glenn, Madolyn Smith Osborne, Barry Corbin, Brooke Alderson, Cooper Huckabee, James Gammon, Mickey Gilley

Directed by James Bridges

Expectations: Moderate.

fourstar


HEE YAW! Hoo-doggies, this was a good’un, y’all! Now before you starts to saying I don’t know shit from Shinola, hear me out. You might be like I was and think that Urban Cowboy is “that mechanical bull movie,” and you’re not wrong. But what I wasn’t prepared for was just how engrossing and well-made “that mechanical bull movie” would be. Even though previous Valentine’s film Perfect (the pelvic gyration instructional film) was made by the same team (journalist/screenwriter Aaron Latham and director James Bridges), I still had no idea that this would be anything more than John Travolta looking cool in a cowboy hat for two hours. There’s definitely a lot of that, don’t get me wrong, but there’s so much more to Urban Cowboy than it would appear at first glance.

The story is actually rather similar to Perfect, just substituting mechanical bull riding for the aerobic thrusts. Kinda. Anyway, the basic framework is the same, with a new guy entering a sub-culture and immersing himself in it completely. Judging off of the two films, I really wish the Latham/Bridges team had made more films, plumbing the depths of trendy American life from sea to shining sea, but I guess we’ll have to be content with the two we got. Anyway, the film opens as Bud (John Travolta) is leaving his family and his small town to find success in the big city of Houston. His uncle lives there and he helps him get a job at the oil refinery where he works. But first he takes Bud to Gilley’s, a real-life Texas honky-tonk, and it changes Bud’s life. There he meets Sissy (Debra Winger), a hot lil’ spunky cowgirl looking for a real cowboy, and within a few days the two done got hitched!

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The Caller (1987)

lamorteavraisuoiocchiStarring Madolyn Smith Osborne, Malcolm McDowell

Directed by Arthur Allan Seidelman

Expectations: Moderately high. I like Malcolm McDowell and Siedelman directed Hercules in New York!

onestar


I like movies that are cinematic. They don’t always have to be this way, but it’s always going to help if it is. Barring the last few minutes of the film, The Caller is about as far from being cinematic as is possible, as the entire film consists of two people talking to each other for 95 minutes. You might think I’m exaggerating, and in this case I wish I was. Two people. 95 minutes. Non-stop talking. It feels like a long, talky play with the production values of an ’80s TV movie. Neither of those are my thing so clearly this is a movie I was never going to like. You might like it if those things are your things, though. Maybe.

The film opens with a woman getting gas while someone in a trench coat watches her from a nearby payphone. Sounds interesting, right? Don’t be fooled. She goes home to her cabin in the woods and removes a bloody hat box from the back of her jeep. Don’t be fooled. The woman then showers and calls her daughter to tell her that she’ll be so proud of her mommy for what she’s going to do. Intrigued? Don’t be fooled.

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