Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1994)

TOMATOMETER

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Writer/director Gus Van Sant's early bid for big-time commercial success -- a success he didn't manage to achieve until Good Will Hunting -- is based on Tom Robbins' 1976 feminist bestseller. Uma Thurman plays Sissy Hankshaw, a woman born with very large thumbs. After her parents (Grace Zabriskie and Ken Kesey) take her to a doctor (Buck Henry), who offers her parents no remedy for their daughter's condition, the film races ahead to the 1970s. Sissy is now a popular feminine hygiene spray model for a product called Yoni Yum, the product of a company owned by The Countess (John Hurt in drag). Sissy travels to the Rubber Rose beauty ranch, also owned by The Countess, to shoot a Yoni Yum commercial. At the ranch, she makes the acquaintance of the inscrutable Chink (Pat Morita) and Bonanza Jellybean (Rain Phoenix). But under the nose of The Countess, the cowgirls on the ranch are talking mutiny, with the women trying to liberate the Rubber Rose Ranch from the chains of patriarchal oppression.
Rating:
R
Genre:
Comedy , Drama , Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
Fine Line Features

Cast

Carol Kane
as Cowgirl Carla
John Hurt
as The Countess
Keanu Reeves
as Julian
Uma Thurman
as Sissy Hankshaw
River Phoenix
as Pilgrim (uncredited)
Lorraine Bracco
as Delores Del Ruby
Heather Graham
as Cowgirl Heather
Buck Henry
as Dr. Dreyfus
Sean Young
as Marie Barth
Roseanne
as Zoe
Udo Kier
as Commercial Director
Angie Dickinson
as Miss Adrian
Lin Shaye
as Rubber Rose Maid
Grace Zabriskie
as Sissy's Mother
Crispin Glover
as Howard Barth
Michael Parker
as Pilgrim Driver
Roseanne Barr
as Madame Zoe
Rain Phoenix
as Bonanza Jellybean
Ken Kesey
as Sissy's Dad
Joe Ivy
as FBI Director
Tom Robbins
as Narration
Chel White
as Brain Surgeon
Eric Hull
as White House Undersecretary
Tom Peterson
as Crewman
Victoria Williams
as Cowgirl Debbie
Judy Robinson
as Cowgirl Gloria
Wade Evans
as Cameraman
Oliver Kirk
as Sheriff
Ken Babbs
as Sissy's Uncle
Greg McMickle
as FBI Agent
Betsy Roth
as Cowgirl Mary
Ed Begley Jr.
as Rupert
Dee Fowler
as Cowgirl Kim
Arlene Wewa
as Cowgirl Big Red
Heather Hershey
as Cowgirl Donna
Suzanne Solgot
as Pilgrim
Alan Arnold
as Lionel
Treva Jeffryes
as Young Sissy
Alexa D'Avalon
as Rubber Rose Bird Expert
Molly Little
as Salsa Singer
Sherry Alps
as Cowgirl
Boo Connolly
as Cowgirl
Stacey Hyder
as Cowgirl
Tina Knaggs
as Cowgirl
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Critic Reviews for Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

All Critics (18) | Top Critics (4)

There are just too many half-cooked ingredients in this utopian stew of a movie.

Full Review… | January 18, 2013
Newsweek
Top Critic

Despite a promising start, Cowgirls is one of the most boring movies of all time, a ridiculous stew of mysticism, flat satire, and whimsy.

Full Review… | July 30, 2007
eFilmCritic.com

Arguably Van Sant's weakest film, this adaptation of Tom Robbins's feminist anarchic manifesto is poorly conceived, directed, and acted.

Full Review… | June 9, 2007
EmanuelLevy.Com

One of the most unwatchable disasters of the '80s

June 17, 2005
Lawrence Journal-World

I thought this was okay. I'm very embarrassed by that.

March 14, 2003
Juicy Cerebellum

Not as bad as claimed, but not very good either.

January 16, 2003
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Audience Reviews for Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

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.

Chris Weber
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

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.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

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!

Coxxie Mild Sauce
Coxxie Mild Sauce

Super Reviewer

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