Midnight Cowboy (1969) Plot
Alright, picture this: Midnight Cowboy, a flick that dives deep into the wild journey of a young Texan named Joe Buck. So, Joe decides to ditch his dishwasher gig and hop on a bus all the way to the glitzy streets of New York City. But get this, he’s decked out in full cowboy gear, ready to strut his stuff as a male prostitute.
At first, Joe’s game isn’t so strong, but eventually, he manages to catch the attention of Cass, this older gal living the high life on Park Avenue. They end up in her swanky apartment, but things get awkward when Joe asks for cash after the deed is done. Things get messy, money changes hands, and let’s just say it’s not the smoothest transaction.
Enter Rico “Ratso” Rizzo, this shady character with a limp who’s got some hustle in him. He scores twenty bucks by introducing Joe to a pimp. Plot twist: that pimp is actually a religious nutcase, and Joe finds himself running for the hills, desperately chasing after Rico. From there, Joe’s days consist of wandering around the city, tuning in to his trusty Zenith radio, and chilling in his hotel room. But as luck would have it, his funds dry up, he’s locked out of his room, and his stuff’s taken away.
Here’s where things really heat up. Joe gets into a, uh, sticky situation in a movie theater, trying to make some cash. But things don’t go as planned, and he releases the guy he’s confronted. The next day, Joe’s back on Rico’s tail, and they reluctantly become partners in the hustling game. Rico wants to be called “Rico,” not “Ratso,” but Joe ain’t totally on board. Life’s tough for these two – they’re scraping for food, failing to find gigs, and Rico’s health is plummeting in the icy winter.
Now, let’s rewind a bit. We get some glimpses into Joe’s past – his grandma raised him after his mom bailed, and he’s got this haunting history with Annie. They both suffer a brutal attack by a bunch of cowboys in a car, and Annie’s clearly scarred by it.
Rico, on the other hand, spills the beans about his family history. His dad was an immigrant shoe shiner who wrecked his health for that job. But Rico’s having none of that. He dreams of a sunny escape to Miami, and he envisions him and Joe living it up on a beach.
In the midst of all this chaos, Joe’s approached by these artsy folks who invite him to this Andy Warhol-esque event. There’s some artsy craziness, hallucinations, and a steamy night with a socialite named Shirley. But it’s a wild ride, with Joe discovering things about himself he never expected.
The story takes a darker turn when Rico’s health nosedives, and he’s desperate to get to Florida. Joe’s own desperation drives him to commit a shocking act that leaves him fleeing on a bus with stolen cash. As they journey to Florida, Rico’s condition worsens, and the movie ends with a bittersweet scene as Joe realizes his friend has passed away.
Midnight Cowboy is a rollercoaster of emotions, a tale of hustling, friendship, and the gritty realities of life in the big city. If you’re into movies that pack a punch, this one’s definitely on your watchlist! 🍿🎥
Midnight Cowboy (1969) Cast
- Dustin Hoffman as “Ratso” or Enrico Salvatore “Rico” Rizzo
- Jon Voight as Joe Buck
- Sylvia Miles as Cass
- John McGiver as Mr. O’Daniel
Brenda Vaccaro as Shirley
- Barnard Hughes as Towny
- Ruth White as Sally Buck
- Jennifer Salt as Annie
- Gilman Rankin as Woodsy Niles
- Georgann Johnson as Rich Lady
- Anthony Holland as TV Bishop
- Bob Balaban as Young Student
- Viva as Gretel McAlbertson, the Warhol-like The Factory party/happening giver
- Paul Rossilli (aka Gastone Rossilli) as Hansel McAlbertson, The Factory party/happening filmmaker
- Craig Carrington as Charlie Dealer
Midnight Cowboy (1969) Review
You know, there’s this British filmmaker, John Schlesinger, who hit it out of the park with a real game-changer in cinema history back in 1969 with “Midnight Cowboy.” Now, this isn’t your light and fluffy flick – it’s a heavy drama that delves into some pretty dark stuff, shining a light on the gritty reality of a wandering soul with no clear path. And let me tell you, the character of cowboy Joe Buck is like a magnet for curiosity. He’s this Texan dude who hightails it to the Big Apple, claiming he’s a “hustler” looking to cash in on his gigolo skills, and along the way, he crosses paths with Enrico “Ratso” Rizzo. Now, Ratso is a real piece of work – he’s like the slimy character you’d expect to find hanging around dark corners. But the thing is, as the story unfolds, you start feeling this massive wave of pity for the guy, especially as you see his health deteriorate due to illness and a bum leg.
Now, here’s the cool twist: Dustin Hoffman takes on a totally different role from his usual ones, like in “The Graduate.” He and Jon Voight, who plays Joe Buck, have this kind of magic between them that builds into a deep bond. It’s like they’re soulmates who find each other in the midst of a New York that’s going through its own turmoil. And here’s where it gets interesting: the movie uses the lens of homosexuality to explore the fragile concept of masculinity. Both Joe and Enrico grapple with their own identities as men, and that created a bit of a stir back then. The film even got slapped with an “X” rating by the MPAA, but guess what? It went on to win the Best Picture Oscar, making history.
Those flashbacks to Joe’s past? They’re like these surreal nightmares mixed with glimpses of his real life before. It’s like peering into the mind of a guy who’s been through the wringer, and it just adds to the layers of tragedy. Even though his bromance with Enrico gives them a tiny bit of solace in their not-so-great lives, the ending? Oh boy, it’s like a gut punch. You’re left with what could be the saddest conclusion ever, showing that Joe’s destined to live a life defined by his encounters with women. It’s deep, and it’s heavy, but that’s why it’s truly one of the all-time greats in the world of cinema. 🎥🌃
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