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Country goes to the movies, part IV: My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys

By Robert Loy, July 1997

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Jud is working on getting his head right too. He has cut his hair and ditched the earring because (according to rodeo philosophers) in order for one's pate to be proper, it must be closely shorn and have no holes in the hearing organs.

One rainy night, while they're practicing on the barrel bovine, H.D. falls off and the bull bites Dad's dome. They take him to the hospital, and while they're waiting for news of the old man's noodle, Virgil (Clarence Williams III) informs H.D. that there is a restraining order against him. He can't go near dear old Dad.

Considering Pop's propensity for burning down houses and wrecking vehicles, you'd think this was good news. But H.D. is P.O.ed.

But there's no time to do anything about it, because it's time for - dat dat da dah! - Bullmania!All of H.D.'s friends are there to cheer him on - all both of them. Jud is there with his head so right. Jolie's head looks mighty uncomfortable in her brand new cowgirl hat. They both watch in horror (if not surprise) as H.D. injures his leg getting off a bull. Dad wants to see his son suffer in person so he gets out of his hospital bed and drives to Bullmania - miraculously not driving off any bridges on the way.

Dad says H.D. has to ride even though Jud (where are the medics at this event?) says he thinks the leg is broken. Stopping only to grimace manfully, H.D. tapes his leg up and limps up to face Thunderbolt.

Does he win? Does H.D. ride the bull that can't be ridden? Does he win $100,000?Well, I don't want to give away any surprises, but the name of the movie is not "My Heroes Have Always Been Bankers and Bitchy Sisters," now is it?Dang straight (you can see I'm taking the first step toward being a real right-headed cowboy, cutting out all vulgar talk) he rides the bull.

He even manages to avoid the saliva Thunderbolt is slinging all over everywhere. Not only does H.D. ride, he does it in slow motion. Talk about a show-off. His eight-second ride actually goes on for a minute and fifty-three seconds (and seems much longer).

Then in one of Hollywood's corniest moments (and that's saying a lot), Thunderbolt turns as H.D, lays helpless on the ground. The crazed beast lowers his head and paws the ground - not to charge but as a gesture of respect to H.D.! He then strolls calmly back to his pen, his career as a bad-ass bull (like the audience's suspension of disbelief) shattered.

If you love Willie Nelson's music, buy his albums - or buy this soundtrack (just make sure you skip the last song "(You're My) Soul and Inspiration") which has the distinction of being the worst song ever recorded by the Righteous Brothers and the worst song ever recorded by the Oak Ridge Boys.

And if you want to see a good cowboy movie, go rent "Junior Bonner."

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