Movie Review: Midnight Cowboy
The premise: Joe Buck, a Texas cowboy wannabe, moves to New York to make money as a hustler, figuring that New York women have money and are surrounded by "tutti-frutties". He meets up with Rico "Ratso" Rizzo, who is a disabled scam artist living in a condemned apartment building. Joe starts out wide eyed and naive, until he has one too many degrading experiences ranging from not being paid for his "services" to being propositioned on 42nd street by a gay man. Throughout these experiences, Buck gets tougher and wiser to the pitfalls of being a gigolo in New York. Out of desperation, he moves in with Rizzo and Rizzo becomes his "manager". In the midst of the bitter cold, Rizzo decides that the duo would be more profitable in Miami and Buck's job is to earn enough money to get them there. When they do finally hop a bus to Miami, Rizzo dies as they are entering Miami due presumably to pneumonia or something similar.
Memorable lines: "I'm not a real cowboy, but I'm a stud!" Buck answers a woman's query about whether or not he's a real cowboy. "You just took a little rest stop that wasn't on the schedule" Buck says to Rizzo (to lighten the depressing mood) when he wets himself on the bus ride to Miami.
I had to read some reviews after watching this show because some of the flashbacks about the main character were confusing to me, especially the religious references. I think anything religious bothered Buck because of the contrast between actions and words - like his grandmother sexually abusing him, but admonishing him to "listen to Jesus" or some such nonsense. Or the part where he's first introduced to the pimp, who starts examining Buck's potential as a stud and then instructs him to get on his knees and whips out his plastic light-up Jesus to pray to. It was also difficult to tell if Joe really had a girlfriend in his old town or if it was all just delusions of grandeur, especially after seeing the flashbacks about the police coming to find the pair in the car half dressed. Also, some reviews hinted at a homosexual relationship between Rizzo and Buck, but I never viewed it that way - they were just two guys trying to make it in the cold city.
I would give this flick 8 out of 10 dancing feet, but it's not for everyone. If you are sensitive to sexual themes and drug references or have young impressionable children, this film isn't for you.