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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 19.64%
Average: 7.14%
Pretty Bad: 1.79%
Total Crap: 1.79%

3 reviews, 38 user ratings

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Drugstore Cowboy
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Chris Parry

"It gets no better than this."
5 stars

Say what you will about Matt Dillon, but the guy almost always has two things going for him. First, he seldom chooses an obvious role (There’s Something About Mary, Wild Things). Second, he always completely nails his part (Rumble Fish, Drugstore Cowboy). In this film, directed with aplomb by Gus Van Sant, Dillon plays Bob, a drug addict who leads a group of four thieves that get their fix by robbing drugstores of prescription drugs.

Backed up by his wife (Kelly Lynch), his buddy (James LeGros) and his buddy’s girl (Heather Graham), the group wanders into a store and plays out an elaborate scam. One of them fakes a seizure, another shoots around to where the pills are, and the others cause enough bedlam to keep the staff busy while they get away with their booty. Once clear of the store, they group uses what they like and sells the rest to keep their habit going, but just as a gunfighter soon runs out of local opponents, so too does a drugstore cowboy soon run out of drug stores. Heading out on a road trip to find new territory, the four find themselves pursued by the law, bound by superstition and eventually needing to dispose of a body when there’s a deputy sheriff’s convention going on downstairs.

Unlike many films that deal with junkies, Drugstore Cowboy never tries to explain away the actions of these creeps. Rather, it portrays them as what they are – people who can’t deal with reality and will do whatever it takes to avoid trying. The last act of the film is perhaps the only sympathetic portrayal of these people within the entire 100 minutes and it certainly doesn’t make any excuses.

Often hilarious and always captivating, Drugstore Cowboy takes a whole stack of chances and nails every single one. The characters aren’t particularly likeable, the scenario tends to border on depressing, and the humor is so dark you sometimes have trouble making it out. But the end result is so strong, the performances so perfect, the pacing so deliberate, that this becomes a movie experience that will live inside you for a lot longer than it takes to return the video.

Can you feel a burning in your forehead? That's me. I'm sending you out psychokinetic vibes right now designed to make you go buy a copy of this video. It’s worth it. This is one of the great American movies of the last twenty years and if you don't see it, you're doing yourself a hideous disservice.

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originally posted: 09/28/02 10:49:37
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User Comments

12/29/17 morris campbell entertaining & realistic drug film 4 stars
9/20/15 Langano Brilliant. 5 stars
4/25/15 Loner One of Gus Van Sant's best films 5 stars
3/17/13 Jeff Wilder Fantastic. Dillon's best role. Brilliant mix of message and story. 5 stars
1/28/11 Moose Rapper Solid drug-drama 4 stars
4/02/09 brian Pretty good, but for a better film on the same subject see Requiem For a Dream. 4 stars
7/25/06 Lilly is there a rodeo? 2 stars
6/20/06 Joanie very funny 1 stars
11/22/05 Agent Sands Another petty street punk narrating his story about drugs and violent vignettes. Effective. 4 stars
9/29/04 Daveman Unconvincing and devoid of insight from the get-go with sketchy characters to boot. 3 stars
7/31/04 DM Good, but I'm not sure what all the hype is about 4 stars
6/14/04 MyGreenBed Very good, however the "drugs as art" thing simply doesn't appeal to me much. 4 stars
10/03/03 Kyle It's been a while since I saw it, but I distinctly remember being disappointed. 3 stars
5/17/03 Andrew Carden Great Movie, Good Performances, but It Isn't Really Awesome Material. 4 stars
4/08/03 Jack Sommersby A masterpiece. The best of its kind ever made. Period. Dillon is a revelation. 5 stars
2/08/03 natasha_theobald gritty and unwavering 5 stars
1/25/03 GheyDude Outstanding movie. Intensity without the hype. 3 stars
12/28/02 Ally Gator Van Sant even makes Matt Dillon look like a great actor. Fantastic flick! 5 stars
12/24/02 TheBomb69 Heather Graham even looks hot after an OD 5 stars
12/03/02 Matt they don't get much call for junkies in the priesthood anymore 5 stars
11/22/02 Dramamine this movie is better than drugs 5 stars
11/22/02 dead great 5 stars
10/31/02 jag wicked,wicked film.........a classic! 5 stars
10/24/02 mr. Pink Good movie with good performances all round. a lot better than the similar Jesus Son 4 stars
9/29/02 Charles Tatum Wow, drug addiction is so fucking COOL 3 stars
3/06/02 Alan Smithee A great and realistic film. Matt Dillon and Kelly Lynch are fantastic. 5 stars
6/02/01 Basil Really good movie. 5 stars
11/08/00 Jon Axt classic 5 stars
10/14/00 comeasur A dreamy ride through Van Sants imagery.Have a heart and spare the Ben Hogans. Must see. 5 stars
5/27/00 master.node Not bad. (and BTW, druggies *are not* victims) 4 stars
4/20/00 PJ some of the best images produced on film, Dillon and Van Sant's crowning achievment, wow 5 stars
4/15/00 Elvisfan Easily the best from Matt & Van Sant; Heather Graham also memorable 5 stars
2/10/00 Perverted Pixie "Idaho" was better, but this is still classic Van Sant. It kick's "Trainspotting"'s arse! 5 stars
8/27/99 Bornslippy The film captured some brilliant performances from the cast, great imagery, amazing 5 stars
7/01/99 Christina a realistic depiction of the life and trials of a drug addict 5 stars
6/16/99 David It's a real classic, and even wrings a great perfomance from Matt Dillon. 5 stars
6/15/99 Dylan Youve got to see this movie. In my opinion it is Dillon's finest moment. 4 stars
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  02-Jul-1989 (R)

  02-Feb-1990 (18)

  02-Feb-1990 (R)

Directed by
  Gus Van Sant

Written by
  Gus Van Sant
  James Fogle

  Matt Dillon
  Kelly Lynch
  James LeGros
  Heather Graham
  Eric Hull
  Max Perlich

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