By: Oberst Von Berauscht (Three Beers) –
Rancho Deluxe is the story of a rustling scheme cooked up by two down-on-their-luck cattleman, Jack McKee and Cecil Colson (played by The Dude and a younger, pot-smoking Jack McCoy respectively). Starting off small by shooting a few cows and butchering them with chainsaws, they slowly move onto bigger, more ambitious targets. They recruit Burt and Curt (Richard Bright, and Harry Dean Stanton) two inside men, for a major cattle heist. Their various successes lead wealthy rancher John Brown (Clifton James), to seek help from master stock detective Henry Beige (Slim Pickens). Will Jack and Cecil succeed, or will their youthful carelessness torpedo their great plans?
Did I mention Harry Dean Stanton?
Rancho Deluxe is by no means a great movie, but it is an immensely watchable one. This is mostly due to the enduring cool of the lead performers, Jeff Bridges and Sam Waterston. Their characters of Cecil and Jack are just a couple of everyday guys who you might want to have a beer with sometime, that happen to like shooting cows. Slim Pickens may not have a huge role in the movie, but it might be one of his all time best, as the decrepit, seemingly insane stock detective. Buoying their performances is the honkey-tonk soundtrack by none other than Jimmy Buffett. This film was released just at the right time in his career, when he focused more on songwriting and less on entertaining drunken soccer moms.
Partying into the late hours of 6:30 PM
The movie is the kind of film that could have only come from the early 70’s. Depending on your level of tolerance, this means it can feel like a throwback to a more innocent time, or a dated movie that no longer feels relevant. I tend towards the former, as the movie is damn fun to watch, even in spite of the sometimes ludicrously hippyish women characters and “sticking it to the man” excuses for criminal behavior. If you made a list of films that could only have been made in the late 60’s/early 70’s this film would sit right next to Easy Rider and Alice’s Restaurant.
Harry Dean Stanton kicks Jeff Bridges’ ass at pong
And then there is the story, which is pretty minimal. This is sort of a “enjoy the ride” movie, lacking any real stakes, nor any kind of major twist that is surprising. This is the kind of movie that you could turn on TV while cooking dinner, sit down, chat with friends, laugh at the good parts, get up, take a shit, and come back and not miss anything important. This is not a film to spend time dissecting frame-by frame for artistic resonance, but if you aren’t too interested in getting involved, it can be a good time.
This movie demands no effort on your part. Sit back, drink a beer, and chill.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: for weird or awkward sex moments
Take a Drink: anytime the word “Rustler” is used
Drink a Shot: for each Jimmy Buffet song… hell, make it a margarita.