I ain’t a for-real movie critic, but I am one hell of a blogger. So let me talk about Midnight Cowboy, the movie about a poseur cowboy from Texas who sets off for New York City, convinced that owing to a dearth of straight men, wealthy women there will pay him for his sexual services. When his clientele fails to materialize, he meets and eventually befriends Rico “Ratso” Rizzo, a sickly sneak thief with a desperate dream to escape the city for Miami. While it’s status as “the only Best Picture winner to be rated X” is a little misleading, it is certainly worlds away from the previous year’s winner and it signalled that a new era had definitely arrived for American filmmaking.
I was excited to see this movie because Mouse has told me so much about it over the years. I wasn’t disappointed. Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman are both fantastic in this film. Voight plays Joe Buck, a man from Texas who decides to leave his home and job as a dishwasher to pursue a career of hustling in New York City. He believes that his charm and good looks, along with his sexual prowess, will enable him to succeed financially because New York is a city teeming with wealthy, older women eager to hire someone such as himself for company and a good time. Voight is plagued by flashbacks throughout the film, and we as the viewers never learn the entire story behind them. It appears he was raised by a grandmother, had some negative experiences with organized religion, and had several traumatic experiences connected to a past lover/girlfriend – possibly even surviving his own assault and witnessing hers as well. What exactly happened in his hometown and home life is never made fully clear, but we do know he has a painful relationship to sexuality and other people. In spite of this, he is a warm, loving person, eager to do right by others. Within days of relocating, he meets Enrico Salvatore “Ratso” Rizzo, played by Dustin Hoffman. Rico is a con man and pulls one over on Joe, but thankfully this doesn’t define their relationship. In fact, they need one another’s companionship more than either can fully articulate. Continue reading