Urban Cowboy

I'm thick headed. I'm prideful. I want to apologise all the way back to the first time I hit you.

A review by Mike Shea   Movie Rating: ( * * * · · )    DVD Rating: ( * * · · · )

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I can't exactly say what it was that got Urban Cowboy on my list of movies to watch, but being stuck in a snowstorm so bad even Domino's won't deliver gets you to do some crazy things. I counted this as one of my classic looks back to the 70s, and I am glad I did. Urban Cowboy isn't one of the greatest movies of all time, but its good enough for a lazy Sunday afternoon movie.

Urban Cowboy got me to think about the difference between what people do and who they are. Bud, our hero, spends most of his time working in some factory doing whatever they tell him to do. He wears a hardhat and gets paid time and a half for working the graveyard shift. That is what he does. A cowboy is what he is. While lifting huge pieces of metal around he is dreaming of his next bottle of beer, which western shirt he's going to wear, and his next chance to ride the bull.

Urban Cowboy seems to be mostly about dysfunctional relationships, alcoholism, and jealousy. Back in the day this movie might have been about a redneck who found his calling in a mechanical bull, but deep down is a layer of paint of a far darker color. We see lives where hitting a woman and wrestling her in a mud puddle leads to a marriage proposal. We see how alcohol, any form of alcohol, is the cure-all for the world's woes. We see how jealousy is consuming, a fire that burns us to a crisp.

If it wasn't for the excellent acting, this movie wouldn't be worth much. Look Who's Talking, he did very well for himself.

The DVD of Urban Cowboy is appropriate for the period. There is a 2.35 to 1 16x9 picture that is a bit soft in color and in focus but little more can be expected. The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack seems a lot better during the music, I never wanted "Devil Went Down to Georgia" to end, but the rest of the soundtrack is obvious matrixed mono. There are no special features worth mentioning.

Like my favorite new hobby of tracking the changes of what is acceptable in our society through the eyes of James Bond, I enjoyed watching Urban Cowboy as a look at what used to be compared to what happens now. Everything from almost constant wife abuse to driving with a beer in your hand is covered. One has to wonder what the MPAA would be rating this now, they gave it a PG rating at the time, along with Air Bud.