Classic of the Week: Midnight Cowboy (1969)

Midnight Cowboy is a 1969 American buddy drama film directed by John Schlesinger, based on the 1965 novel of the same name by James Leo Herlihy. It stars Jon Voight as Joe Buck, a young Texan dishwasher, who quits his job and heads to New York City to become a male prostitute and Dustin Hoffman as Enrico Salvatore “Ratso” Rizzo, a poor con man, with whom Joe becomes friends and roommates with.

This film got an X rating, the equivalent of NC-17 or R today. It is the only adult film to win Best Picture at the Oscars. It has somewhat happy moments, but overall, it isn’t an uplifting film. That doesn’t make it bad. Voight and Hoffman are equally fantastic in their roles.

This film is filled with adult and controversial content, sex, drugs, stealing, prostitution, strip tease, homosexual moments, drinking and smoking and nudity and violence. Even today, it still shocks With it’s powerful and controversial moments. You see everything, nothing is covered up, complete nudity (at times up close), drugs up close, extreme violence, in your face, but it is all well done.

This film is one that, though extremely adult, is done tastefully, though certain sex scenes that are full on, seem a bit porn like. This film is not for everyone. Most conservatives don’t like it. But it still has its fans and still disturbs and amazes people today. It is quite slow at times, but does pick up. Many scenes are unsettling, the sex and drugs are over the top, but that’s the point of the movie.

This film has gone down to be an adult film, that is both disturbing and wonderful at the same time. Not many movies are like that. This story of a young male hustler in the Big Apple and a con man that become friends, doing illegal things, may not seem exciting and it isn’t supposed to be. It is not one that most people will flock to a theater or television screen to watch, but it is still great. It has gone done in history as one of the greatest films of all time.

From the theme song, “Everybody’s Talkin” by Harry Nilsson, to Ratso’s famous line spoken in a New York accent, “I’m walkin’ here,” this such an iconic film. One that should be on every movie lover’s must watch bucket list. This is a film that is so obscene, but yet, so powerful in the way it was portrayed. Many mature films are all sex or drugs, or both, this one has a lot of that too, but a lot of other things that make it special. This is shocked the world win it won Best Picture and deserved it. – Adults Only 4.5/5

Classic of the Week: The Graduate (1967)

The Graduate is a 1967 American romantic comedy drama film directed by Mike Nichols, based on the 1963 novel of the same name by Charles Webb, who wrote it shortly after graduating from Williams College. The film tells the story of 21 year old Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman), a recent college graduate with no established focus in life, who is seduced by Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft), an older woman, then falls in love with her daughter Elaine (Katherine Ross).

There have been many films about younger characters having flings with much older ones like, Alfie, Harold and Maude and Pretty Woman and all are special in their own ways, but none are as special as The Graduate. The story of a college grad with no direction in life, who had probably never had a girlfriend, seduced by a much older housewife, may not seem too original to some, but the way the story is written and the film version is directed, make it unique. With the soundtrack of Simon and Garfunkel and a secret affair becoming not a secret, it is truly a scandalous story.

Dustin Hoffman is outstanding as Benjamin Braddock, his breakout role. Playing such a naive, lustful young man, fresh out of college, he is absolutely perfectly imperfect. Anne Bancroft is equally fantastic as Mrs. Robinson. She plays the bored, lonely, sexually deprived and heavy drinking housewife, whose husband is a workaholic.

Katherine Ross is great as Elaine, Mrs. Robinson’s daughter, who finds out about the affair and refuses to have any contact with Benjamin until she forgives him and eventually falls in love with him. She is beautiful, smart, hard-headed, but kind at times too. Elaine isn’t full of sexual desire like her mother, making her a more likable character.

You start out hating Benjamin, but towards the end of the film, you end up liking him. But Mrs. Robinson, you can’t stand her the entire time, even after Benjamin forgives her and she forgives him.

The inappropriate fling, turns into one of the most iconic love stories of all time, with one of the most iconic soundtracks of all time. It has been parodied many times, but that doesn’t make this an awful film, in fact, it is wonderful, despite being scandalous.

It was given a PG rating then and shockingly still has the same today. It is very unsuitable for that rating. With the the inappropriate affair, talk of sex and rape, the drinking, seducing, smoking, obvious nudity (no body parts shown) and revealing clothing, it deserves a PG-13 or NC-17. No way would I let my seven or eight year old watch this.

Despite the controversy, it is still a remarkable film, one that shocks you, makes you angry, sad and then warms your heart. Still one of the greatest love stories of all time. It’s hard to believe the theme song wasn’t originally written for the movie, since it is one best themes of all time. 13-17 5/5