4.4/10
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50 user 25 critic

Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1993)

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1:13 | Trailer
Sissy Hankshaw (Uma Thurman) is born with enormous thumbs that help her hitchhiking through the U.S. from a young age. She becomes a model in advertising, and her New York agent, "the ... See full summary »

Director:

Gus Van Sant (as Gus Van Sant Jr.)

Writers:

Tom Robbins (novel), Gus Van Sant (screenplay)
4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Uma Thurman ... Sissy Hankshaw
Lorraine Bracco ... Delores Del Ruby
Pat Morita ... The Chink (as Noriyuki 'Pat' Morita)
Angie Dickinson ... Miss Adrian
Keanu Reeves ... Julian Gitche
John Hurt ... The Countess
Rain Phoenix ... Bonanza Jellybean
Ed Begley Jr. ... Rupert
Carol Kane ... Carla
Sean Young ... Marie Barth
Crispin Glover ... Howard Barth
Roseanne Barr ... Madame Zoe (as Roseanne Arnold)
Buck Henry ... Dr. Dreyfus
Grace Zabriskie ... Mrs. Hankshaw
Treva Jeffryes Treva Jeffryes ... Young Sissy
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Storyline

Sissy Hankshaw (Uma Thurman) is born with enormous thumbs that help her hitchhiking through the U.S. from a young age. She becomes a model in advertising, and her New York agent, "the Countess" (Sir John Hurt), sends her to his ranch in California to shoot a commercial, set against the background of mating whooping cranes. There, she befriends Bonanza Jellybean (Rain Phoenix), one of the cowgirls at the beauty ranch. The cowgirls take command of the ranch from the Countess and drug the cranes with peyote. The Police besiege the ranch. Written by Pieter van Scherpenberg <mediavis@netland.nl>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

There have been many great drivers but only one great passenger.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality and some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

20 May 1994 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Até as Vaqueiras Ficam Tristes See more »

Filming Locations:

Terrebonne, Oregon, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$8,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$676,978, 22 May 1994

Gross USA:

$1,708,873

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,708,873
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(DVD)

Sound Mix:

Dolby | Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jodie Foster wanted to play the lead. See more »

Quotes

Delores Del Ruby: It is woman's mission to destroy as well as it is to give birth.
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the beginning, lot of stars rise in the sky. One, aside and slower than the others, writes the words "For River". [River Phoenix] See more »

Alternate Versions

Gus Van Sant's original version was first shown at the Toronto Film Festival in 1993 before the film was pulled at his own request and reworked. The most significant differences are described in a N.Y.Times article from May 15 1994: "The New York scenes, and Sissy's relationship with an urbanized Mohawk Indian (played by Keanu Reeves), were cut back in the interest of beefing up the ranch scenes and focusing more attention on the relationship between Sissy and Bonanza Jellybean, a straight-shooting cowgirl played by Rain Phoenix. The novelist William Burroughs survived the editing. Audiences will see him cross a Manhattan street, look at the traffic and utter three syllables: "Ominous." Roseanne Arnold, however, will see her cameo as a gypsy fortuneteller whittled down to a mini-cameo. Most dramatically, Mr. Van Sant shed an entire subplot, about the mysterious Clock People, keepers of the keys to cosmic consciousness, and the source of the original film's final image (as well as the clock on the paperback cover). In the first version, Sissy became pregnant after making love to the Chink, a loony visionary played by Pat Morita, who tells her she will bear a race of large-thumbed children who will roam the earth in love and peace after surviving an apocalypse. In the final frames of "Cowgirls I," Sissy's child, seen in the womb, makes hitchhiking gestures toward the audience, an invitation to the future." Van Sant is quoted in the article, that he doesn't know which version is better. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Sugarcube Critic: Elements of Harmony (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Cowgirl Pride
Written by k.d. lang and Ben Mink
Jane Hathaway's Publishing Co./Bumstead U.S. Publishing (ASCAP)
Zavion Publishing (SOCAN)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
You'll get the blues, all right....
6 September 2005 | by moonspinner55See all my reviews

Uma Thurman plays Sissy, a young woman with a gypsy spirit (and freakishly large thumbs) who hitchhikes cross-country, eventually finding her true place amongst a group of peyote-enlightened cowgirls on a ranch devoted to preserving the Whooping Crane; Rain(bow) Phoenix is their lesbian leader, Bonanza Jellybean, who falls in love with Sissy, thumbs or not. Gus Van Sant directed and adapted Tom Robbins' book, but his satire has no primary target and just skitters all over the map, like Sissy (maybe that was his goal, but it's not involving for an audience). Notorious box-office flop wasn't so much panned as it was ignored, and one can see why: it's a series of sketches in search of a plot, and the performances, directorial touches and cinematography are all variable. Thurman is a stitch posing alongside the highway trying to get a ride, but this pretty much put the kibosh on Phoenix's career. Writer Buck Henry (who didn't write this, but perhaps should have) gives the most assured performance as the doctor who works on one of those thumbs.

Two thumbs down.


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