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

New Movies

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

The 2012 Canadian comedy Goon was one of those surprising little films that snuck up...

Detroit Movie Review

Detroit Movie Review

After The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal reteam to...

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Good news: Steven Soderbergh's well-publicised retirement from directing only lasted about four years. He's back...

American Made Movie Review

American Made Movie Review

An enjoyably freewheeling tone and Tom Cruise's star wattage combine to make this an entertaining...

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

It's been a decade since Al Gore's wake-up-call documentary won the Oscar. And here he...

Advertisement
The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

It really doesn't matter that this movie is utterly ridiculous, because the central pairing of...

Final Portrait Movie Review

Final Portrait Movie Review

A relaxed, amusing true story about noted Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, this sharply...

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

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.