Movie Title: Midnight Cowboy
First Watch / Repeat Viewing
Running Time: 1 hr. 53 min.
Who did I watch with?: Flying Solo
Where did I watch it?: Home
Midnight Cowboy’s main motif is the juxtaposition of reality with fantasy. Joe Buck (Jon Voight) is a Texas cowboy leaving the Lone Star state with nothing, but his radio to keep him company. He leaves with a spirit of joy and optimism about what New York will be like. However, his optimism is quite naive and he is escaping real or imagined trauma in his recent past. It is never totally clear if his flashbacks are real or a product of his imagination. His goal is to be a hustler and he has no intention of doing any kind of straight work though at times he is tempted.
After an encounter with a woman that he believes he is hustling she demands money from him. Things get precipitously worse from there as he loses his living space and has to scrounge to get by. In the process he goes down to 42nd street and competes for a different kind of client. He is mildly successful, but also ashamed of what he has to do to survive.
Amidst the turmoil, Joe makes friends with Ratso. Ratso initially swindles him out of $20, but later becomes his friend and benefactor. He gives him a place to live and they hustle the streets together while looking for the ultimate score. They both have dreams of what life could be like. Ratso dreams of relocating to Florida and Joe wants to make his hustling dreams a reality. It is a story of struggle both with the past and the present as well as forging relationships during the struggle.
It is a great movie well worth its best picture victory in 1969. See it.
Tomorrow’s Movie: Johnny English Reborn (2011)