Matthew Lickona 2:45 p.m., Dec. 10
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