The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Fortnight: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, December 24-January 6

12/24/2014 1:00 PM |


Urban Cowboy (1980)
Directed by James Bridges
The most popular title in Bridges’s eight-film directorial career is a delightful two-step between a post-Saturday Night Fever John Travolta (bearded for the first eleven minutes, clean-shaven once he starts working on the Houston oil rigs) and a foxy, remarkable Debra Winger (who would star in Bridges’s later Mike’s Murder). Most of Urban Cowboy was shot in Gilley’s, an enormous, real-life Pasadena, Texas, honkytonk; Bridges and first-time DP Reynaldo Villalobos, handling the ‘Scope format with tremendous ease and texture, render this setting utterly natural and absorbing—a large mass of dancers and bull-riders, singers and cowboys, shot glasses and bottles of Lone Star. The movie has flaws (an over-padded runtime, a Scott Glenn character that represents the worst extreme of the problematic gender politics, and a needlessly jacked-up bit of cross-cutting between Travolta’s near-fatal accident on a scaffold and Winger’s inaugural bull-riding session), but by the end of it, you’ll feel like you’ve spent a long, definitive weekend at Gilley’s right next to these people. Danny King (Jan 3, 4, 11am at the Nitehawk)