Even Cowgirls Get The Blues

"Terrible"

Even Cowgirls Get The Blues Review


A pair of wildly divergent views on Gus Van Sant's Even Cowgirls Get the Blues... -Ed.

Don Willmott, 1 star [lowest rating]

Its screenplay was based on Tom Robbins' wonderful comic novel, and it was directed by Gus Van Sant, who was fresh from the twin triumphs of Drugstore Cowboy and My Own Private Idaho when he got the gig. With those two things going for it, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues should have turned out at least OK. How it ended up as one of the biggest cowpies of the 1990s is something of a mystery, although there's plenty of evidence on screen to shovel through.

Cowgirls tells the very tall tale of Sissy Hankshaw (Uma Thurman), who, having been born with thumbs the size of cucumbers, follows her destiny and becomes -- what else? -- one of the world's greatest hitchhikers. Sissy is also a model for feminine hygiene advertisements. She works closely with cosmetics kingpin The Countess (John Hurt, in drag), who sends her out west to his Rubber Rose Ranch (it's named after one of his best-selling douche bags) to film a commercial for his new Yoni Yum feminine cleanser. No, you're not having a bad dream. Keep reading.

The ranch is populated by a ragtag crew of lesbian cowgirls, led by the ruff-n-tuff Bonanza Jellybean (Rain Phoenix), a fountain of feminist platitudes who can also crack a pretty mean whip. Naturally she develops a crush on Sissy and ponders the erotic possibilities of Sissy's enormous thumbs.

As it turns out, the Rubber Rose Ranch is also a nesting area for an endangered type of whooping crane, so the arrival of developers and the police after the cowgirls take over the ranch adds a dramatic subplot designed to add a layer of '70s environmentalism to the many layers of '70s feminism that weigh down the film and prevent any humor from taking flight.

At one point, Thurman dresses in a whooping crane costume and flaps through a field for a Yoni Yum commercial, a scene you can be certain she'd rather forget. In another memorable moment, the cowgirls lift their skirts to assault intruders with the unpleasant scent of their not-so-fresh nether regions. The horror.

The roll call of weirdo cameos in Cowgirls serves mainly as a window into Van Sant's strange mind. What Ken Kesey, Buck Henry, Sean Young, Keanu Reeves, Crispin Glover, Rosanne, Udo Kier, Carol Kane, and Angie Dickinson are doing in this film is anybody's guess. One thing they're not doing is generating any laughs. Even Lorraine Bracco and Pat "wax on, wax off" Morita are wasted in supporting roles.

Don't waste your time on Cowgirls. There must be better douche bag movies out there.

Naaaay!

James Brundage, 4 stars

Good serious movies, by their nature, have to have some element of comedy in them. Whether it be satire, irony, or downright slapstick humor, they distract us from the serious nature of the story until we don't know what has happenned and end up missing the moive and characters when they end. Of course, you ask, how could a movie with a title like Even Cowgirls Get the Blues be funny at all, let alone serious at the same time? The answer: a beautiful adaptation by Gus Van Sant (who also directs) and a fine performance by Uma Thurman.

In the movie, based on the novel by Tom Robbins, Uma Thurman plays Sissy Hankshaw, the world's best hitchhiker because she has the world's largest thumbs (expressed perfectly in the line, "The Lord God made me to direct traffic."). She has no job most of the time but, when she works, is the model for the Dew Mist feminine hygenie spray. On one modeling assignment her travels takes her to a beauty ranch whose cowgirls are lesbians (without a political agenda! A non-stereotyped Hollywood, at last!). Upon coming to the ranch she finds love with the ringleader Bonanza Jellybean (Rain Pheonix).

Trapped in the same world all of us are, trying to find love, fit in, and get along, she believes that her happiness has been found with these cowgirls, but sadness is just as likely to hit there as anywhere else, and, as the title goes, Even Cowgirls get the Blues.

As just about everything Gus Van Sant does is, the film is excellent as a metaphor movie. In addition, it keeps an interesting intelligence to the cowgirls, all of whom are endowned with a wisdom that surpasses most people's. Like Drugstore Cowboy (1989), Gus Van Sant's other fairly surreal forray, it's inaccessible to the average viewer because of its trippy nature and political riskiness (Drugstore Cowboy was a film about a crew of dope fiends, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues is a film about lesbians that can offend it's target group.) If you can actually get past the oddities, though, it's one of the funniest films you'll ever see, but one that will leave you wishing that cowgirls didn't have to get the blues.



Even Cowgirls Get The Blues

Facts and Figures

Run time: 95 mins

In Theaters: Friday 20th May 1994

Budget: $8M

Distributed by: Fine Line Features

Production compaines: Fine Line Features

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 22%
Fresh: 4 Rotten: 14

IMDB: 4.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Sissy Hankshaw, as Delores Del Ruby, as The Chink, as Miss Adrian, as Julian Gitche, as The Countess, as Bonanza Jellybean, as Rupert, as Carla, as Marie Barth, as Howard Barth, as Dr. Dreyfus, as Mrs. Hankshaw, as Cowgirl Heather, as Commercial Director, as Musician at Barbecue, as Pilgrim, as Madame Zoe

Also starring: ,

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Advertisement
Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Sing Movie Review

Sing Movie Review

The quality of the animation in this musical comedy may not be up to Pixar...

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.