In my opinion, the ideal way to show this film is in the background.
It’s about two down-home rodeo stars: the dependable, steadfast Sonny and the wacky playboy Pepper. When their friend Nacho gets into trouble (his name is seriously NACHO? Well, we’ve already got Pepper, so I guess that’s fair), they hightail it up to New York City. Big Ten-Gallon Hats, Meet the Big Apple! (I tried.)
So it’s a comedy-adventure film with a straightforward fish-out-of-water premise, and in my book it oscillates from boring, to charming, to boneheaded comedy. I mean “bone” in all senses, of course. Pepper, being a wacky playboy, gets mixed up in underwear modeling and multiple nude and near-nude scenes. Critically, he also makes wacky faces. Check out “the cowboy way steak scene” on YouTube and you’ll see both of these forces combined. Also watch out for multiple dick hits and castration threats. ALSO watch out for Pepper talking dirty as “Big Chief” (UUUUUGH).
Here’s the trailer. It tells you almost all you need to know:
Along the way, however, there are a couple of BAFFLING DECISIONS. This is the element of The Cowboy Way that truly excites me. Spoilers for a decades-old unpopular movie!
The first one concerns Nacho. I think he’s supposed to be the heart of the film, or something? To be fair, for the little time in which we see him, he’s trustworthy and a friend to all. Then a drug cartel abducts him or something. I don’t know—like I said, I watched this strictly in the background of other things and that is the secret to its greatness. Anyway, that’s all well and good…except that the subject matter might be too grave for a wacky comedy-adventure? Whatever happened to bank heists?
I wouldn’t even look twice at that if Nacho didn’t die.
THEY KILL NACHO! OFFSCREEN!
I didn’t even register this at first. Around thirty minutes in, as this played on the television and my sibling and I just diddled around on our computopes, I just turned and went, “Did Nacho just die? Is he dead? Is this the MORGUE?” And my sibling was just like, “YEAH!”
So he’s just…gone, forever! And meanwhile Pepper is still doing his underwear “Big Chief” shit. The purpose of the movie shifts to saving Nacho’s daughter instead, which, you know, that’s way better and more epic because now Pepper can seduce her, maybe. (I say “maybe” because I…don’t remember, quite. Feel free to correct me.)
The second baffling decision is the ending. They must’ve had some geniuses in the prop department, because the ending is a small treasure.
Back in the middle school days when I droolingly browsed my TV selection for hours, I found The Cowboy Way on Movieplex way too often (almost as often as The Flintstones). Sometimes I’d just change the channel to it at the very end, just enough to see the last five minutes.
The climax is astounding for three reasons:
- An obvious dummy.
- A subway train.
- A lasso.
To top it off, the denouement is lightning-fast, and the final shot is…oh, honey. It’s exactly what one should’ve expected.
Why is this film important to me? At all?
It’s not because I like westerns (because I don’t…I’ve hardly seen any as of this writing. Except I do like BraveStarr. And I do like the opening of The Rifleman where this cowboy just shoots about fifty times. Not sure why he does that or even why I like it, it just amuses me). It’s not even because I like New York City. I think it’s important to me because IT EXISTS.
To be exact, it existed at a time in my life when I spent hours browsing Xfinity’s extended TV menu, bored out of my mind and searching for stuff I’d never heard of.
I can’t in good conscience recommend The Cowboy Way. I can, however, recommend it over Bio-Dome. So if you ever have a choice between those two films and nothing, choose nothing.
What movies have YOU found on lazy-day cable TV? I’d love to hear from you in the comments! I also wanna know if there are any steadfast The Cowboy Way fans/haters reading this (so’s we can tussle).