Saturday, November 18, 2006

[1980] URBAN COWBOY: The first hour or so of this is a trashterpiece, with the escalating craziness between uber-Texans Bud (New Jersey's own John Travolata) and Sissy (Cleveland's own Debra Winger.) She's flirting, he hits her, they marry, she keeps flirting, he's still hitting her, he wants to ride the bull, she wants to ride the bull, he's threatened by that, she's got issues herself, et cetera. Travolta is good--I can't judge his accent, though--and Winger is phenomenonally unselfconscous as the tomboyish Sissy, caught between idolizing cowboys and wanting to be one herself. She's really the movie's dramatic motor, even if it's Travolta in the starring role. Or at least she's more complicated than Travolta's mix of jealousy, hubris and a dash of aw-shucks style humility. But once they leave each other we linger too long on each of the bad relationships they're using to make each other jealous, and the climatic mechanical bull-riding isn't much of anything drama-wise. See it for Travolta and Winger at the top of their games.

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