Matthew Lickona 11 a.m., March 14
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues
The marriage of culty moviemaker Gus Van Sant and culty novelist Tom Robbins has produced the monster that Mother Nature always warned about: deformed by self-indulgence, self-consciousness, self-congratulation. The narrative revolves around one Sissy Hankshaw (there are supporting characters called Bonanza Jellybean and Delores Del Ruby: it's that kind of work), whose rubber joke-shop thumbs, which are supposed to be real flesh-and-bone thumbs, have uniquely suited her to the act, the art, the Zen, of thumbing rides. She does settle down long enough, together with a squadron of migrating whooping cranes, to witness the pivotal event of the plot, a revolt of hired cowgirls on an Oregon dude ranch cum health spa. (Angie Dickinson, one bright spot, is inspirationally cast as a walking-talking brochure of old-fashioned femininity.) The action is set in 1973, a few years prior to the publication of the novel, and the movie does succeed (if that's the word) in conjuring up a certain temper of the times. The same loosey-goosey, hippy-dippy, tutti-frutti one that accommodated such compatible cinematic monsters as Myra Breckinridge, Candy, and Can Hieronymus Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humppe and Find True Happiness? Strange bedfellows, maybe, but it's a king-sized mattress. With Uma Thurman, Lorraine Bracco, Rain Phoenix. 1994.
— Duncan Shepherd
- Rated R