Urban Cowboy is a decent movie, no more no less. The story wasn’t exactly inspiring as I am reminded of Grease but with country music. But the plot that has been done a million times before is deemed watchable thanks to some solid acting performances particularly those of John Travolta and Debra Winger. The movie does show what it is like to live in the Texas heartland in the midst of a country music revolution. Maybe it is the clichés, but there are a lot of cowboy hats, bandanas, and line dancing involved. There are two things that stood out in the movie. The first thing is the rodeo scenes in the nightclub. That was probably the best part of the movie. Another thing I liked is the music. Maybe it is my Texas blood, but I caught myself tapping my toes to the songs. What is unique is the movie makes use of live music. Thank you, Charlie Daniels Band!
They story is a simple, albeit clichéd story. James Bridges direct and wrote the film about a man named Bud Davis (John Travolta) who moves from the countryside to the city to be closer with his family. He takes a liking to one of the local joints, Gilley’s. He takes a job at an oil refinery which is owned by his uncle in order to save for his own land. There is where he meets a cowgirl named Sissy (Debra Winger). Just like that, they fall in love and get married. Their marriage is tested when he catches a con man named Wes (Scott Glenn) teaching his wife how to ride the mechanical bull. Wes also wants to rob Gilley’s. When a mechanical bull contest is announced, Bud is intent on saving his marriage.
The performances are key to making this movie watchable as it is. John Travolta has been on an acting slump between Grease and this film, so it’s nice to see him go back to his musical roots. He definitely still knows how to dance. Debra Winger is the breakout of the movie. In fact, she was nominated for Best New Star for this performance at the Golden Globes. She made a believable cowgirl. I think Scott Glenn is often underappreciated as an actor and his performance is a good one.
Urban Cowboy is a fine movie if not forgettable. The story is so-so, but the performances and the music are the highlights of the movie. If you want to see a movie about cowboy life in the Midwest in the early 80’s, well this movie is for you.
My Grade: C+