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My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys
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by Jack Sommersby

"A Fine Star Vehicle"
3 stars

Barely released to theaters, it makes for pleasing viewing when there isn't anything memorable to do.

In the slight but passable My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys the marvelous fifty-two-year-old actor Scott Glenn has been perfectly cast as H.D, a veteran rodeo rider past his prime who returns to his rural Oklahoma hometown after a fourteen-year hiatus. He discovers his daddy (Ben Johnson) has been involuntarily committed to an old-folks home by his conniving sister Cheryl (Tess Harper) and brother-in-law Clint (Gary Busey) who are financially well-off and just don't want to put up with the cantankerous old man anymore; a disgusted H.D. breaks him out and they start living on the family ranch again, with Cheryl threatening to take legal action against H.D., so he enters himself into a local bull-riding competition with a one-hundred-thousand-dollar payout to provide for his father. In between this he rekindles a romance with his former girlfriend Jolie (Kate Capshaw) and takes under his wing her older son Jud (Balthazar Getty) who wants to be schooled in rodeo basics. Except for the usually-unbearable Harper and the untalented Getty, the casting is spot-on, and that includes Clarence Williams III as the friendly sheriff Virgil who goes back with J.D. since high school. But it's Glenn who's been expected to put this low-key Western tale over, and he more than delivers. He first made an impression as John Travolta's antagonist in Urban Cowboy, and two years later impressed even more as the has-been-boxer hero in the excellent action picture The Challenge; but three other heroic portraits thereafter in lackluster fare by the likes of The Keep and Wild Geese II and Man on Fire certainly didn't do his career much good. But as H.D. he's back on top, and it's a distinct pleasure watching a first-rate artist who knows exactly what he's doing while at the same time never trying to showboat just because he's got the starring role. With leathery skin and sinewy physique, Glenn looks the part, all right, and he's got the bowlegged cowboy walk down pat; he looks great, and he gives H.D. an understated, homely charm that makes you see why Jolie can't help but fall under his spell all over again. And My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys really needs Glenn's bravura and solidity because Stuart Roseberg's directing is mediocre and Joel Don Humphreys's screenplay just barely gets by. Still, as inconsequential as the proceedings are, they're functional because Glenn basically is the film, rendering the overall whole slightly recommendable.

No Blu-Ray release yet.

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originally posted: 11/17/20 02:13:02
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  01-Mar-1991 (PG)



Directed by
  Stuart Rosenberg

Written by
  Joel Don Humphries

  Scott Glenn
  Kate Capshaw
  Ben Johnson
  Tess Harper
  Gary Busey

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