202. City Slickers

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Movie: City Slickers

Release Date: June 7, 1991

Director: Ron Underwood

Starring: Billy Crystal, Daniel Stern, Bruno Kirby, Patricia Wettig, Helen Slater, Jack Palance.

Tag Lines: “Yesterday They Were Businessmen. Today They’re Cowboys. Tomorrow They’ll Be Walking Funny.”

Relevance: ‘City Slickers’ is one of those movies that doesn’t come with a grand back story of how and why I love it so much. I just do. Although I was a pretty big fan of its star, Billy Crystal, I didn’t see the film in the movie theater when it was released. It was very well received by critics as well as a big summer box office hit. However, I didn’t see the film until it was released as a rental sometime over my holiday break of 1991. That is when it became a big hit with me and my entire family.

I didn’t work over holiday breaks from college like I did over my summer breaks. I only got three or four weeks off from school, and with the holidays, there really wasn’t that much opportunity. I’m sure my parents would have liked me to, but I didn’t. I spent most of it sleeping, spending time with friends and playing catch up with all of the movies I missed by visiting my local Blockbuster store. ‘City Slickers’ was one of those movies.

Because it was the holidays, we had a lot of “in and out” at our house. Basically, the door to our house became a turnstile. Cookie trays were leaving the house, packages were entering the house and family members were visiting on a pretty regular basis. On one of those nights where the entire family, including my Grandparents, were together, we watched a movie. ‘City Slickers’ was that movie. I really did love this movie. It was a smart, laugh out loud, heartfelt, slapstick comedy with great performances with even greater one-liners. But why it became one of my favorite films of all time was because of the response my family gave it. Everyone from my mom to her mom laughed for the entire almost two hours. It was joyous to hear. Probably one of the greatest sounds in the world is to hear people you love, laughing. All because of a movie.

I remember renting ‘City Slickers’ a few times with other family members and friends over that holiday break, and the movie always got the same reaction my family gave it that first time. Laughter. Everyone seemed to love it. My mom eventually bought the VHS and it became a staple in our household, always making us laugh every time we watched it. I can’t even count how many times I have watched this film over the years. It is definitely a classic for both me and my family.

Today’s Thoughts: “Ed, have you noticed that the older you get, the younger your girlfriends get? Soon you’ll be dating sperm.”

Although I did not hear the hearty chortle of my maternal Grandfather or the loud cackle from my mom that used to fill a room, I still enjoyed ‘City Slickers’ when I watched it today. It made me laugh (a lot) again and made me smile from the memories it gave me of my family.

What a lovely film this is. It is beautifully directed and the cast is hysterical. Billy Crystal is fantastic in this role. Jack Palance of course is terrific in his Academy Award winning performance, but Mr. Crystal’s reactions to “Curly” throughout the film are priceless. The rest of the ensemble is equally terrific. And a special shout out to Jake Gyllenhaal as young Danny Robbins. I didn’t even remember he was in this movie! It is quite the feature film debut for someone who has become one of the most gifted actors of his generation. Just another reason to love this film.

‘City Slickers’ is a one of a kind comedy. It is littered with a supremely talented cast and many laughs, but it is also a movie with an endearing heart. There is a certain truth to its message that will make it relevant for anyone looking for the secret of life, whether at the age of twenty-nine, thirty-nine or forty-nine. But if you are just looking for a laugh, there are plenty of them to go around.

Awards: Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Jack Palance (winner), Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture, Jack Palance (winner), Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical, Billy Crystal (nomination).

Ways to Watch: Vudu, YouTube, iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Prime, Hulu, DVD Availability.

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