Borderlands (Zev Berman, 2007): 6.5/10

The Magic Flute (Ingmar Bergman, 1975): 7/10

La Guerre Est Finie (Alain Resnais, 1966): 7/10

Speed Racer (The Wachowski Brothers, 2008): 8/10

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Location: milwaukee, wi

Monday, November 20, 2006

Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (Gus van Sant, 1993)

Gus van Sant is a filmmaker I really have issues with. I respect him very much, I really like some of his movies (Elephant is probably my favorite), kind of like some others (My Own Private Idaho, which really thought it was way better than it actually was, although there are some amazing moments), and hated some more (Last Days was one of the most pretentious, boring films I saw this year). I was excited to watch this film, as it promised a great premise (I know a lot about Tom Robbins, although I haven't ever read him) and a pretty good cast - Uma Thurman (who is really hit and miss), along with smaller roles by Keanu Reeves (whom I adore, no matter what), Crispin Glover, and Lorraine Bracco, among many others. The first half of the film really impressed me, while the second left me a bit cold. However, the visuals really overrode any flaws in the script/acting, as has happened with other van Sant films, and really make this a film worth seeing.

Uma Thurman plays Sissy, a lady blessed (or cursed?) with abnormally large thumbs that make her the best hitchhiker in history. She eventually joins up with the lesbian separatists at the Rubber Rose Ranch, who are protecting a group of herons they've given peyote. Yep. Lots of other stuff happens, but most of it is pretty inconsequential, if not entertaining. The performances are all pretty good, and right for the characters, save Rain Phoenix, who, in her first leading adult performance, is pretty stiff and uncharasmatic as the (supposedly) incredible cowgirl leader Bonanza Jellybean. Most of the critiques I have read of the film are critical of the film's "antiquated" view of feminism, but it seems that most of these critics forgot that this film takes place in the early 1970s, a time where separatist movements were just coming into vogue, and radical (lesbian) feminism was beginning. These cowgirls are really radical, whether they seem so anymore or not.

As I said earlier, this film is definitely worth a view, if only for the incredibly visuals - the movie is oftentimes hallucinogenic and surreal, which is only fitting for the subject matter. It's not a great movie, but it certainly doesn't deserve its reputation as one of the worst films ever made, either.


RIYL: Gregg Araki (another queer filmmaker with a similarly outrageous aesthetic)

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