Barstool Cowboy Review (2009) Film Review

Barstool Cowboy begins with a man donning a cowboy hat, drinking a beer, sighing, and smoking a cigarette. He stares into the camera for a good few minutes while interchanging between all of those activities before he starts speaking. And from that initial scene on, one can immediately conclude that Barstool Cowboy will either be quite excellent or quite atrocious — and nothing in between.

The initial scene is shot like a documentary, and it starts to look like Barstool Cowboy is a documentary. The main character painstakingly recalls a tale of heartbreak and vows to spend three months on a barstool, drinking away his pain. From there, new characters are introduced with awkwardly-placed music — the unfitting likes of which I have not seen in any movie.

While the film is interesting enough to watch because of its sheer ridiculousness, it is unrealistic and painfully shallow. Two complete strangers — one young art student and one drunken cowboy twice her age — meet outside a bar one day. He invites her over to his motel and she actually agrees to go. The two start to spend day and night together, with sleepovers, drunkenness, and pot-smoking galore. There’s no need for names here, as they are the only two characters in the entire movie, and there’s no need for any real plot development, either.

Barstool Cowboy suffers from the syndrome of a lot of independent movies, with poor writing and amateur everything. Perhaps the next if attempt will be better, but you have the chance to pass on this movie, pass.

Written by
Vee Hua 華婷婷

Vee Hua 華婷婷 (they/them) is a writer, filmmaker, and organizer with semi-nomadic tendencies. Much of their work unifies their metaphysical interests with their belief that art can positively transform the self and society. They are the Editor-in-Chief of REDEFINE, Interim Managing Editor of South Seattle Emerald, and Co-Chair of the Seattle Arts Commission. They also previously served as the Executive Director of the interdisciplinary community hub, Northwest Film Forum, where they played a key role in making the space more welcoming and accessible for diverse audiences.

Vee has two narrative short films. Searching Skies (2017) touches on Syrian refugee resettlement in the United States; with it, they helped co-organize The Seventh Art Stand, a national film and civil rights discussion series against Islamophobia. Reckless Spirits (2022) is a metaphysical, multi-lingual POC buddy comedy for a bleak new era, in anticipation of a feature-length project.

Vee is passionate about cultural space, the environment, and finding ways to covertly and overtly disrupt oppressive structures. They also regularly share observational human stories through their storytelling newsletter, RAMBLIN’ WITH VEE!, and are pursuing a Master’s in Tribal Resource and Environmental Stewardship under the Native American Studies Department at the University of Minnesota.

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Written by Vee Hua 華婷婷
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