Even Cowgirls Get the Blues - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Even Cowgirls Get the Blues Reviews

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Super Reviewer
June 26, 2008
Deep down, I wanted to like this movie, and I wanted it to be good. I wanted to like it in general, but also because this film has an infamous reputation for being terrible. I thought that it couldn't be that bad, and that it had to have at least one redeeming value or two. Well, it turns out that both I and the reputation are correct.

This movie does suck..a lot. But it does have some interesting and quirky performances. However, all the absurdity in the world can't make up for the fact that this story and script are muddled, incoherent, and a rambling, random mess. I'm sure everyone had fun making this film, and I do appreciate nuttiness, but c'mon, what the hell even happens in this movie?

I like the idea of a nice hippie with freaky oversized thumbs hitchhiking her way across the country. The idea of a bunch of raunchy cowgirls on a ranch is cool too. None of this comes together and really gels though. I like the cast. They are a large and diverse group of interesting characters. However, not all of the performances are all that great, and many of the characters are just goofy, shallow caricatures with little to no development. That said, they all try to put out a bit of effort at the very least. I do like John Hurt, though. In fact, he may be the highlight. He's a scream to watch run around in drag being flamboyant. This is probably one of his more brave, interesting, and eyebrow raising roles.

I think a good way to describe this mostly, but not quite irredeemable failure is that it is kind of like a light and slightly sanitized version of a John Waters film...maybe. It's probably best as a campy cult classic midnight movie. I've never heard it get that status though. Everyone instead just seems to hate it. As camp, it is sometimes fun, but somehow this manages to be boring, even during some of the odder and more absurd moments.

So yeah, this isn't a complete waste, but it is close.
Super Reviewer
September 6, 2010
I only watched this because Crispin is in it, and he had an okay part, but I didn't care for this movie at all. It tries too hard to be quirky and cool that it just misses the mark. I couldn't stand this movie, and I don't recommend it.
Super Reviewer
February 8, 2009
Gus van sant is probably the only director i know of who can make a film thats boring and interesting at the same time, in more than one case too... oh, yea and im most likely one out of like 5 people to give this more than a star!
Super Reviewer
October 31, 2006
Not Van Sant's best work.
Super Reviewer
September 5, 2006
A boring, almost incoherent film that fails to latch onto anything memorable throughout its entire runtime. Despite the occasional inspired creative flair from Gus Van Sant, this is a chore to sit through.
Super Reviewer
½ January 9, 2009
This has to be one of the worst films ever written.....seriously!
Super Reviewer
December 25, 2007
A favorite from my childhood.
January 3, 2013
This movie is like a lump of clay, a shapeless mess, wanting to be created into something brilliant but never takes form. I wanted to like this movie considering that it's directed by Gus Van Sant who did Drugstore Cowboy and My Own Private Idaho, and an all-star cast. But, it's scattershot editing and the quirky characters and story fall flat. Uma Thurman plays Sissy, with enormous thumbs who life is to hitchhike across America, she arrives at the Rubber Rose Ranch, were the cowgirls are revolting and feeding the whooping cranes peyote, I felt that cast and crew took massive hits of peyote throughout, I liked the actors elsewhere but not here. This is a movie of missed opportunties
½ November 12, 2012
One of the only films I've ever seriously considered walking out in, the star-studded cast adapting one of the most beloved PNW writers in the hands of a surreally gifted director? It should have been a gimme shot. The upshot is that there was nothing redeeming about this film. I'm thankful that Gus was given another shot, but this was definitely my greatest crisis of faith in him and in good cinema from the Northwest.
½ January 20, 2010
I suppose this is, in my honest FACT, the worst movies ever made with A-List actors in it. Ruined my mellow one-night stand date! Great movie for puke inducing without the use of your finger.
August 6, 2009
I can't believe I have never seen this before?! It was a really funny movie. I just happened to catch it on cable and couldn't stop watching. Highly recommended, especially for a girls night in.
½ July 28, 2009
I recently read the book Even Cowgirls Get the Blues and it was fine, minus all of the existentialism and other unnecessary bits. That said, the movie is refreshing compared to the book. It's much more simple and easy to understand. And it's actually told in a linear fashion. Uma Thurman is perfect as Sissy. The acting in this film is 100% amazing. However, sometime the movie gets a little bit laggy and by the end of it you are pretty ready for it to be over. However, the soundtrack is just awesome. Look out for cool things like the dedication to River at the beginning of the film. That would be River Phoenix. His sister is in this film and he was in Van Sant's similar movie My Own Private Idaho.
½ July 14, 2009
This movie is a nice underdog story. With that said the plot seems a bit outlandish. but the performances keep the movie going. But the real problem is the fact that the movie leads to nowhere. It has no ending, or at least one we wanted.
January 26, 2009
Before the prestige of "Milk" and "Good Will Hunting" Gus Van Sant bombed it big with this Tom Robbins adaptation, staring Uma Therman as a girl with mutated oversized thumbs, which later in life make her the road master general of hitchhiking, as well as a successful hand model. Burned out from years of crossing the roads back and forth, which she is preternaturaully good at, she takes some advice from her transvestite "agent" I think or benefactor anyway( after an unsucessfull date with Keanu Reeves as a native american artist with a asthma problem), decides to head to a ranch/spa for rest and relaxation. Little did she know the Ranch is run by a band of lesbian, feminisit, gun totting, peyote munching ranch hands who have dubbed themselves "the cowgirls" and who take over the ranch to subsoquently drive out patriarchal oppression.

Somewhere while all this is going on she meets a man in the mountains called "The Chink" though he is Japanese, it's Mr. Miyagi old Arnold himself, and sleeps with him... Then she has some corrective surgery, hears some spiels about the evolutionary importance of the apposable thumb("all life and history can be traced to the thumb...etc, etc.). Then the cow-girls, whose leader Rain Phoenix, Therman has fallen in love with, somehow manage to get the wooping crane(an endangered species who stop by the ranch on their migratory pattern) to stay on and defy thousands of years of flying back and forth. Which leads to a bloody confrontation between the US government and the gals...

Tom Robbins supplies the narration, and proves that even with an authors enthusiasm, even with a talented director open to fresh ideas, some stories just cant be transfered from the page to the screen, or at least shouldnt be. If you just want to watch something both oddly conventional and bizzare plotwise, "Even Cowgirls Get The Blues" is a decent enough distraction (and even contains a rare Robbins insight in the dialog here and there). But it's just a confused mismatch of tone and performance, dead pans joke which dont work and awkardly placed sentiments. Somewhere in there it's heart's in the right place, but theres so many poor scenes, it's hard to find the energy to look for it. Certainly a curio, but nothing to rush toward.
½ April 24, 2009
there are some books that just don't work outside of their medium. and that's not to say it's the fault of the book. book is great; movie is wretched.
August 23, 2008
A candy store of visuals and cameos, Uma's angelic face eases a timeless effect into a stew of cowgirl lesbians and stereotypical NY artist types, with a great soundtrack by KD Lang.
½ May 11, 2008
Doesn't even come close to the brilliance of the novel but still, Van Sant made a solid and well done movie taken from such a difficult text to adapt to the screen. Uma Thurman is a wonderful Sissy. But Rain Phoenix as Bonanza Jellybean was extremely disappointing. Van Sant captured the wackiness of the novel, I loved his bright color scheme and Robbins narration.
December 8, 2007
The book will always be better - it's my favorite book ever - but I love the movie in its own way. (Van Sant is my god.)
½ November 30, 2007
I almost want to give Gus Van Sant credit for attempting to put a Tom Robbins book to film. A am impressed at the crazy cameo cast he was able to drum up, Keanu Reeves, Rosanne Barr, Uma in her youth, but the movie itself was horrible. I swear some of the actors were reading from cue cards. My advice - stick with Robbins' books.
October 14, 2007
I don't understand how people enjoy Van Sant's other films and then call this one of the worst movies ever. It's not that bad if you have a sense of humor. The cast itself is hilarious and the story is so absurd you can't help enjoying yourself.
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