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Case Number 16772: Small Claims Court

Barstool Cowboy

Pirate Pictures // 2008 // 90 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Christopher Kulik (Retired) // July 9th, 2009

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All Rise...

Judge Christopher Kulik is more of a porcelain throne cowboy.

The Charge

"I'll drink to that!"—Mick

The Case

I have a lot of respect for independent filmmakers. With almost no money to work with and guerrilla energy as their only fuel, these filmmakers' only goal is to get their work out there. Writer-producer-director Mark Thimijian is one those unknown amateurs who clearly puts a lot of effort into his mini-DV projects. However, Barstool Cowboy is a depressing exercise that tells a story too shallow for its own good. I managed to make it from beginning to end, which is the best compliment I can give.

Cowboy Mick (Tim Woodward) is in his mid-30s. He's unemployed and determined to sit on a barstool for three months, drinking and smoking excessively. A painful breakup with his partner inspired these plans, but his goal is soon compromised by the arrival of art student Arcy (Rachel Lien), who seems just as lost as he is. Both sense a connection and decide to spend time together dancing, drinking, and talking about how screwed up life is. Is a relationship looming, or could Mick be chasing something superficial?

Barstool Cowboy turned me off for a number of reasons. First and foremost, its lead characters are not in any way interesting or endearing. I didn't exactly buy their union, and several of the scenes make no sense. For example, Arcy decides to stay with Mick in his cheap motel room that initial night. After remaining quiet for several moments, she hugs him, which in turn causes Mick to try and kiss her. These scenes are awkward and unfocused, not only in terms of acting but overall execution. Character chemistry is virtually nonexistent and their conversations are not to be believed.

I don't mind that the story is extremely low-key. There's just no resonance to it. Thimijian doesn't do anything daring or audacious, which means the film isn't the slightest bit dramatic or romantic. He occasional opts for long moments of silence that may feel natural, but they meander all the same. Plus, the big climax revelation is a no-brainer, making Barstool Cowboy a near total waste of time.

The DVD isn't anything special, either. The full frame image is clean but unexceptional. The dialogue is clearly heard and the music (the best element in the film) comes through with no problem. Aside from cast bios, there are no extras.

The Verdict


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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 89

Perp Profile

Studio: Pirate Pictures
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
• None
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Drama
• Independent
• Romance

Distinguishing Marks

• None


• IMDb

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