More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

Overall Rating

Awesome: 22.22%
Worth A Look38.89%
Average: 33.33%
Pretty Bad: 5.56%
Total Crap: 0%

2 reviews, 6 user ratings

Latest Reviews

Harry Chapin: When in Doubt, Do Something by Rob Gonsalves

Trial of the Chicago 7, The by Rob Gonsalves

St. Elmo's Fire by Jack Sommersby

Talent for the Game by Jack Sommersby

Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro by Jay Seaver

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm by Peter Sobczynski

Lupin the Third (2014) by Jay Seaver

Lupin III: The First by Jay Seaver

Caddyshack by Jack Sommersby

Over the Moon by Jay Seaver

subscribe to this feed

Mad Cowgirl
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Rob Gonsalves

"A vegetarian Catholic horror movie? What?"
4 stars nothin'. Gregory Hatanaka's 'Mad Cowgirl' is either brilliant or awful. I honestly don't know which. Five stars? One star? I can't give it an average of three, because on this site that means 'Just Average,' and this movie rips the molars out of 'average' and fucks the tooth sockets. Four stars, then. I dunno, man, I just work here.

Mad Cowgirl might be the sort of film that gains clarity on repeated viewings, except that sitting through it even once is more than a little punishing. Hatanaka has crafted a deliberately off-putting and alienating narrative about Therese (the brave and potent Sarah Lassez), a health inspector who scrutinizes beef. Mad-cow disease is much in the news, but Therese, even after looking at rancid meat all day, loves to tuck into rare steak at night. She also enjoys if that is the word trysts with various creepy men, including a televangelist named Pastor Dylan (Walter Koenig!) and her own brother Thierry (James Duval), who packs meat.

Therese is all about forbidden flesh animal flesh, male flesh. When she's not fucking, chowing down on beef, or vomiting from the brain illness that's probably killing her (a tumor? mad-cow disease?), she's mesmerized by a cheezoid TV show called The Girl with the Thunderbolt Kick. She spirals further into self-annihilating sex, consumption, and hallucinatory flights of gory fantasy. Or maybe it's real, to the extent that anything in the context of Mad Cowgirl is real.

It's absolutely one of those movies that wouldn't exist if David Lynch had never been born: the sound mix has the familiar Lynchian rumble of brain cells sliding into irreversible obsession. Now and again I was reminded of Donnie Darko, not only because both films share James Duval (completing his trilogy of Fucked-Up Protagonist Indie Flicks, including Lucky McKee's May), but because it has a similar restless yen for pop culture and a comparable roster of wackos adorning an aggressively surreal and interiorized mindscape.

The literal read would be that Mad Cowgirl or "Mad-Cow Girl" examines the deteriorating consciousness of a woman whose brain is being corkscrewed into bloody spongy bits by bovine spongiform encephalopathy. I would guess, though, that Hatanaka intends nothing so banal. Everything in the movie clings to the mad-cow metaphor like barnacles on a leaky ship: big Catholic guilt, self-loathing promiscuity, overidentification with a cheesecake ass-kicker on TV. Therese is America! A sack of undigested meat, emotion, longing! Or something like that. I can trace the tone and style of Mad Cowgirl to this or that, but the way it's assembled is fiercely personal and unique.

For all that, I'm glad the disc is getting sent back to Netflix tomorrow so it won't be in my home anymore. I wonder if Hatanaka would find that response pleasing. Designed to be unpleasant, 'Mad Cowgirl' rams a rough, cactusy finger in your rawest open wound and grinds it around in there for 89 minutes. I sure wouldn't want a steady diet of movies like it. But I find it oddly comforting that movies like it are still being made.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 07/06/07 13:58:49
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 San Francisco Independent Film Festival For more in the 2006 San Francisco Independent Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

10/27/07 Senshi Sarah's a killer babe; a crazy joyride! The bonus stuff on the DVD are priceless 5 stars
8/27/06 Nanette Joy Wow, it left me breathless! 4 stars
7/07/06 Peatree The film relied too heavily on experimental imagery than actual substance. 2 stars
4/24/06 Tonald Rickerson An excellent film 5 stars
3/05/06 Roberto Montoya Fantastic film; greatly enjoyed it immensely! 5 stars
3/01/06 JenniferC Mindblowing! 5 stars
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum




Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast