Wednesday, August 29, 2012

801. Drugstore Cowboy (1989)

Running Time: 104 minutes
Directed By: Gus Van Sant
Written By: Gus Van Sant, Daniel Yost, from novel by James Fogle
Main Cast: Matt Dillon, Kelly Lynch, James Le Gros, Heather Graham, James Remar
Click here to view the trailer


This movie is a personal favorite of mine, which is why I slipped it in early, so as not to give it an unfair advantage when TOP 20 time rolls around.

Matt Dillon is Bob Hughes, your run of the mill junkie who makes his scores by robbing pharmacies and hospitals. Bob has a crew of people he works with which includes his wife Dianne (Lynch), his friend Rick (Le Gros) and Rick's girlfriend Nadine (Graham). Bob is also being watched by Detective Gentry (Remar), a cop who has it out for Bob and wants to see him "sent up" for his crimes. Bob and his crew are on the move throughout most of the film, ducking Gentry and always keeping fresh pharmacies lined up for the looting. Bob is the superstitious type, setting certain rules for his crew, including never mentioning dogs, never looking at the backside of a mirror and never, I mean NEVER leaving a hat laying on a bed. The film climaxes when Bob and crew find themselves staying at a hotel that's hosting a sheriff's convention.

I remember seeing "Drugstore Cowboy" for the first time, probably about ten years ago or so and thinking that I'd stumbled upon a hidden gem. I hadn't heard much about the film to that point and really only rented it based on my appreciation for Matt Dillon as an actor and because the title intrigued me. I remember buying it soon after and loving it ever since and going on to become somewhat of a fan of Van Sant. However, I never found another Van Sant film that was as good as "Drugstore Cowboy" and that's because there aren't any. This is another one of those movies that I'll have a hard time telling why I like it, because I've liked it for so long that it's just become a personal favorite and that's pretty much the reason why I like it so much. It's funny how we, as film fans, will almost take on an adoptive parent role when we find movies that we think no one else has heard of. They almost become our movies, the ones WE found and the ones WE appreciated before anyone else knew they existed. I realized that I'm not the first one to have found greatness in "Drugstore Cowboy", but I saw it under the recommendation of no one and simply picked it up for myself and decided to try it out...and I loved it.

The film, as THE BOOK notes, mixes both comedy and drama nicely. The first half of the film is a mixture of crime capers and comedy and then we get into some more serious subject matter. The opening hook here is one of my favorite scenes, as four shady looking characters enter a regular looking drug store and case the place for a few seconds, before Nadine drops to the ground, faking an epileptic seizure. This allows Bob to sneak in behind the counter and rob the place, before the druggist knows what has happened. Dillon is superb as Bob Hughes and the rest of the cast supports him wonderfully. The film is straight and simple. It doesn't preach, it's not philosophical and it's not particularly deep. It doesn't take a stand on drug use, one way or the other and it's certainly not a flashy movie. It's just a movie, a great one at that. For the curious, this film also streams on Netflix and comes with my highest of recommendations. If you've seen it before, relive it again and if you've never seen it, then please treat yourself to this gem. And if you love it, don't forget who you heard it from.

RATING: 10/10  At about the halfway mark of the movie, I decided that this was the first film of the 100 that I was going to go the full monty on. I can't believe we're only thirteen films into the 100 and already this is shaping up to be one hell of a season!


August 29, 2012  12:56am

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