Jun 252020
 

Urban Cowboy is an overly long modernistic western-drama that might feature the normally charismatic John Travolta, but here he is playing just an unlikeable character.

 

 

Urban Cowboy
— 40th Anniversary Edition —
(1980)

Genre(s): Romance, Drama, Western
Paramount | R – 134 min. – $22.98 | June 2, 2020

Date Published: 06/25/2020 | Author: The Movieman


MOVIE INFO:
Directed by: James Bridges
Writer(s): Aaron Latham (story, “The Ballad of the Urban Cowboy”); James Bridges & Aaron Latham (screenplay)
Cast: John Travolta, Debra Winger, Scott Glenn, Madolyn Smith, Barry Corbin, James Gammon


DISC INFO:
Features: Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, Outtakes
Slip Cover: Yes
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 1


Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.38
Subtitles: English SDH
Disc Size: 43.75 GB
Total Bitrate: 38.02 Mbps
Codecs: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A


Paramount provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.


THE MOVIE — 3.0/5


Plot Synopsis: By day, Bud Davis (JOHN TRAVOLTA) toils at a Texas refinery; at night, he trades his hard hat for a Stetson and heads to Gilley’s, Houston’s most popular nightclub. There, he meets a pretty two-stepper named Sissy (DEBRA WINGER) who thinks Bud is a “real cowboy.” But Bud’s got to prove it when a dangerous ex-con (SCOTT GLENN) schemes to rob Gilley’s and steal Sissy’s heart.

Quick Hit Review: Urban Cowboy is a movie that came out at an interesting juncture for star John Travolta, having cemented his stardom following the successes of Saturday Night Fever and Grease. So after diving into 1950s pop to disco, I guess the next level would be… honky-tonk country? I will admit, I’m not the biggest country music fan with few exceptions, but will say, some of it here wasn’t too bad at least.

The film also features a nice, well rounded, cast. Beyond Travolta, Debra Winger in one of her bigger roles up to that point early in her career, before hitting it big with An Officer and a Gentlemen and Terms of Endearment, for which she got an Oscar nomination. Then there’s Scott Glenn, also relatively early in his extensive career. So with this sort of talents, one would think it would make Urban Cowboy a great character-centered drama.

Not so much. Well, save for Glenn whose character is supposed to be a slimy scumbag. However, problem is, our two leads, who we are supposed to root for and care about, aren’t exactly endearing, although at least Winger’s Sissy character was innocent enough versus Travolta’s Bud was just an ass. Beyond that, and I’m hardly a PC person, his behavior towards Sissy, both verbally and physically abusive (not to mention flaunting an affair only a week or two after the pair married), was off-putting. Even Travolta’s charisma could make his character likeable.

I suppose as an examination of a marriage between two volatile characters, the film works, the problem is we as an audience are supposed to want these two to get back together (spoiler alert, they do, after Bud apologizes for slapping Sissy early in their relationship), and honestly I could only wonder what sort of childhood Sissy had as she is drawn to Scott Glenn’s Wes who also was abusive, albeit far more violent.

Urban Cowboy was co-scripted and directed by James Bridges from a story by Aaron Latham, who also worked on the screenplay. I know this film has a bit of a cult following and probably hits the right spot for those who grew up in Texas or that region, myself I found the main character played by Travolta to be insufferable and an abusive a-hole.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.0/5


This “40th Anniversary Edition” release comes with a slip cover and inside is a redemption code for the Digital HD copy.

Good Times with Gilley: A Look Back at Urban Cowboy (15:10) — This is a new interview with Mickey Gilley talking about his career and the film shooting at his bar.

Deleted Scenes (8:02) — There are four scenes included here with some extra character moments.

Outtakes (4:08) — Two of them here, one with John Travolta and Debra Winger dancing and the other with just Travolta dancing.

Last up is some Rehearsal Footage (4:05) of Travolta and Winger on the mechanical bull.

 


VIDEO – 4.5/5


Paramount releases Urban Cowboy onto Blu-ray for the first time, presented with a 2.38 widescreen aspect ratio and has been given a 1080p high-definition transfer. Not sure what, if any, restoration was done here and while I did detect a few specs, it wasn’t anything major and otherwise detail was decent. Colors appeared to be on point for the era with a lot of naturals outside of some loud shirts, including Travolta’s at the end.

AUDIO – 4.75/5


The movie comes equipped with an impressive and strong DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. A fair portion of this lossless track’s depth is with the country/honky-tonk music which effectively utilizes every channel. Dialogue does come through the center channel with good clarity and there is some ambient noises coming from the rear channels, particularly during the packed Gilley’s bar scenes.

 


OVERALL – 3.25/5


Urban Cowboy is an overly long modernistic western-drama that might feature the normally charismatic John Travolta, but here he is playing just an unlikeable character. It could be that I’m not from Texas and especially during that period of time, but outside of some good performances from Debra Winger and Scott Glenn (who portrayed a class-A a-hole), not much redeemable value to this.

 

 

 

 

Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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