Midnight Cowboy (1969)
Reviewed on 2013 May 8
If I remember correctly, this was rated X when it first came out, which seems quaint in the days of truly sick stuff like The Skin I Live In (yeah, no thanks).
Joe Buck (an almost freakishly handsome Jon Voight) decides to leave his sad existence in the bowels of Texas and forge a life as, of all things, a stud. He’s going to show those New York rich old birds what they’ve been missing and make good money at the same time. As the movie unfolds you realize Joe also wants to leave behind a rough past and childhood guaranteed to do some degree of damage to the even the strongest psyche.
What Joe doesn’t realize is that every state has a colon, and in big cities some of it snakes right through the most “glamorous” parts of town. He winds up in New York, thinking money will jump from their designer wallets into his pocket. He meets the notorious Ratso Rizzo (Dustin Hoffman), who takes him under his grubby wing and promises to show him how to be a real hustler.
It’s not much of a plot, is it? The journey is the thing, and the acting from Voight and Hoffman are top-notch. Even the ’60s movie montages didn’t put me off. It’s some bleak stuff, and the sad theme songs undercut throughout. The diner scene, about 38 minutes in, sums up the kind of life awaiting our cowboy as well as anything in the film. “I’m walkin’ here!” is one of the most iconic lines in cinema.
Three morsels and a cup of coffee. Great movie, but be warned it’s pretty freaking depressing. If you need to be cheered up after, watch Outbreak after and see Hoffman go from the sad, pathetic Rizzo to the strong, polished Colonel Daniels.