MOVIE REVIEW: Midnight Cowboy-1969
Dim-witted, naive but gorgeous Joe Buck (John Voight) has gotten by on his virility in his hometown of Texas. Always dressed in ridiculous cowboy attire, Joe figures he should try his luck as a hustler in the Big Apple. He figures his good looks, southern charm, and sexual prowess will bring him fame and fortune. Joe buys a one-way bus ticket to his city of dreams. Once settled into the city, reality hits. Joe is not smart enough to hustle natural-born hustlers. While trying to turn tricks with women, he usually gets the short end of the stick. Joe even resorts to turning tricks for men to make money, something that he despises. Down on his luck, Joe tries to drink away his sorrows. He meets Ratso Rizzo (Dustin Hoffman) whom Joe thinks is friendly, but in actuality Rizzo is a thief who sees naïve Joe as an easy mark. Rizzo is a weasly, sweaty, NYC native who is very sickly and walks with a prominent limp. When Joe discovers Rizzo has robbed him, he tracks him down and the two become friends. Rizzo offers to share his squalid apartment in a condemned building in exchange for acting as Joe’s “manager”. The apartment has no heat but does have running water and is scheduled for demolition at any moment. Rizzo teaches Joe the fine art of hustling and surviving on the streets of NYC. Winter approaches and Joe realizes that Rizzo’s condition is getting worse. It is now up to him to care for both of them and to gather up enough funds to carry out Rizzo’s wish, relocation to sunny Florida. No more spoilers from me y’all.
This is an A+ film. These are two of the most pathetic characters I’ve ever seen. John Voight was very handsome in his younger days; I could really see the resemblance between himself and his daughter, Angelina Jolie. He did an excellent job of portraying the man-boy character Joe Buck. The “aw-shucks” expression he had on his face throughout the film was priceless. Dustin Hoffman was brilliant as the sneaky gimp with a heart of gold Ratzo Rizzo. The characters are such polar opposites of each other, Joe being handsome, strong and naïve and Rizzo being unattractive, sickly, and streetwise. When this film was released, it was considered HIGHLY controversial, stamped with an “R” rating. Some of the subject matter is still pretty taboo for today’s times but it is not as shocking as it was almost 37 years ago. Plenty of nudity and scenes of drug use here so put the kiddies to bed before watching.
VERDICT: 4 Soul Claps
Labels: Movie Reviews