Midnight Cowboy

I almost feel like if I don’t give this film 5 stars, bad movie karma will visit me. It is mentioned in so many reviews I read as well as in interviews with directors and actors. It was released with an “X” rating which is laughable by our standards today. I think you see one female breast in about three short, clothed sex scenes. It later received an R rating.

This film is old, it came out the same year I was born.

Oldies are often goodies though and “Midnight Cowboy,” while gritty, is a drama treat with award winning actors that make the story come alive.

I love movies that show us the naked city. From the playbills stapled and frayed on side streets to the honking of taxicabs. People are trying to survive and we get to travel with the camera, taking it all in. Of course, we can pause at any time or come back to revisit another time. People in the real city can’t. Maybe that’s why we like watching what they will do, often out of desperation.

Just seeing John Voight and Dustin Hoffman in their prime is very entertaining.

These guys were showing us acting like university drama instructors here in their mid twenties. John Voight has always struck me as one dimensional and stupid. That actually works for his character here. Hoffman is a con man, a sick one at that. We get a slice on 1969 in this very well made and incredibly acted film. I recommend it.

Title: Midnight Cowboy
Number of times I’ve seen it: 1
Genre: Drama
MPAA Rating: R
Year: 1969
Director: John Schlesinger, (“Marathon Man”)
Top Billed Cast: Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight, Sylvia Miles

Brief Synopsis: Man moves to the big city and makes an unlikely friend.

Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father

Title: Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father
Genre: Documentary, Crime, Drama
MPAA Rating: R
Year: 2008
Director: Kurt Kuenne
Top Billed Cast: N/A
Brief Synopsis: The disappearance of a 28 year old man reveals dark truths. The documentary maker made this for his son and complications arose.
My Word to the Wise: Fans of Dateline and 48 Hours will likely enjoy this film. It’s a gripping true story told in news footage and interviews. It will likely infuriate as well as entertain. It is a masterful telling of a story with an ending you’d never expect. As a documentary it was too long for me. They do a lot of filler scenes that repeat content. For that it lost a couple stars.

Nurse Jackie

Title: Nurse Jackie
Genre: TV Sitcom, Hospital, Drama, Dark Comedy, 30 minute episodes
MPAA Rating: TV-MA
Year: 2009-2015 7 Seasons
Produced by: Showtime.
Top Billed Cast: Edie Falco, known for “The Sopranos,” and array of big star regulars/guest stars.
Brief Synopsis: A nurse who juggles her family and pain-killers. Not a good combo but makes for a laugh here and there. Not realistic on all levels, hallucinogenic, trippy, strange when its not.
My Word to the Wise: It’s anyone’s guess how we “should” portray functional drug addicts working in an ER unit. I have no judgment for that reason. But I kept asking myself this question: should it be so funny in between the darkness?

The rest of this review may contain spoilers.

I just finished binge watching all the “Nurse Jackie” episodes. She reminds me of a trainer I had at Pizza Hut years ago who was bitter my education brought me in to the company above her. She was addicted to cigarettes and happy hour. Some addicts feel they work so hard we shouldn’t ever question them, What a crock of shit. Nurse Jackie embodies this type of what I call “Tweaker” thinking.

This is a good show in many ways because it dares to look at functional addiction with no sugar coating in the end.

I didn’t like every aspect of it though, which is likely in a show that runs this long, there have to be some experiments made to see what the audience bites on. If a character gets under your skin it’s for one of two reasons: 1) They remind you of a true life character or 2) it’s a terrible script with back and forth implausibility. I’d say both are true at different points.

If you like ER shows and/or you liked “Breaking Bad” you’ll enjoy the hybrid. There’s a bit more dark humor in “Nurse Jackie.” A spoonful of humor helps the medicine go down I suppose. But is this medicine? How else can a show present such dark subject matter?