Friday, April 28, 2017

A to Z Challenge - X is for X Rated

Today is letter X in the A to Z Challenge.  And since there is no film that was nominated or won Best Picture with the letter X there is a film that can be used. Today's movie is the 1969 Best Picture winner Midnight Cowboy.  Now you may be asking, why Midnight Cowboy?  Well, the answer is simple, it was--


This is the A to Z Advisory Council interrupting this blog since it is not following the guidelines and choosing a film without the letter X as the starting title which is a violation of Article XXIII Section 5 Subsection--

Me: Excuse me, but you are interrupting my blog!
A to Z: I think we made that clear in our announcement that we interrupting your blog.
Me: You have no right to do so.
A to Z: We can since you are claiming that Midnight Cowboy can be used to represent letter X.  Unless you are a bad speller.
Me: Yes, actually I am a really bad speller.
A to Z: Wow, wasn't expecting that.  Most writers don't admit to bad spelling.
Me: It's been that way my whole life.  In fact when I was in a spelling bee in the fifth grade--
A to Z: Save it for your therapist.  We are here to stop you since Midnight Cowboy is not spelled with a letter X.
Me: It can be if you put a silent one in front of it.
A to Z: If you spelled Midnight Cowboy as XMidnight Cowboy it would be pronounced as Shmidnight Cowboy.  That doesn't make any sense.
Me: Well no, but if it is a silent X you can.
A to Z: That's the dumbest thing we've ever heard of.  By that logic you could put every letter in front of a word and make then silent.  Not good enough.  The Council will now decide--
Me: You do realize that Midnight Cowboy was the first film rated X to win Best Picture.
A to Z: (mumbling in the background) Nice try, all of us here have seen the film and it wasn't a porno.
Me: You're using today's rating standards.  When the film was released in 1969 rated X meant that no one under the age of seventeen was allowed to see it. Unlike rated R where a minor could see the movie provided they were accompanied by an adult.
A to Z: Well,--
Me: In fact I have a copy of the movie poster I keep folded up in my wallet.  Let me show you.  It's here somewhere, no not there oh wait, maybe back here by my Social Security card.
A to Z: Is your Social Security card laminated?
Me: Yes it is.
A to Z: Why would you do that?
Me: Because it said Do Not Laminate on the card.  Aha, I found it!  Here it is, see for yourself.
A to Z: That's a drawing of a goat wearing roller skates.
Me: Look on the other side.
A to Z: Well, you might be right.  (Murmuring)  Fine, the A to Z Advisory Council has voted to allow you to do your blog post for today.  But no more shenanigans, we'll be watching you.

Okay, I think it's safe.  Boy, that was close.  I've heard stories of the A to Z Advisory Council but never thought that I'd have to deal with them personally. Anyway, yes Midnight Cowboy was the first rated X movie to win Best Picture so that is why I have it representing letter X today.

It was nominated for seven Oscars, winning three for Best Picture, Director and Adapted Screenplay.  It stars Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight, who were also both nominated for Best Actor but lost to John Wayne who was given a lifetime achievement Oscar for True Grit.

The film is not a porno since an X rating was given due to the adult themes within the film.  Today this would be considered a hard R or by today's standards not as shocking as it was in the late 60's.  Jon Voight comes to New York City to become a gigolo and quickly finds himself not being very successful.  He meets Dustin Hoffman who is basically a two bit con man and eventually bonds with him as he finds himself homeless and having to do work that he wasn't expecting a male prostitute has to do in New York City.  All the while Dustin Hoffman is getting sicker and they decide to go to Florida.

Besides being rather depressing and gritty, this is a very good drama.  But it symbolizes so much more.  In The Heat of the Night broke the door open from the years of musicals and epics winning Best Picture, this film slammed the door.  The year before Oliver won Best Picture, a musical.  The next musical to win was Chicago in 2002.  Midnight Cowboy is the changing point in Hollywood as well. Look at the movies made in the early 1970's, very much in the style of this film. Basically it was a game changer and it being rated X got everyone's attention that Hollywood is changing.

So, while the A to Z Advisory Council is still monitoring my post, the letter X is what people remember about Midnight Cowboy and that is why it is the movie for today.  Please watch the clip below to the end to see my favorite scene when Dustin Hoffman yells at the taxi in the road "I'm walkin' here, I'm walkin' here!"


  1. Clever choice for X, and it makes perfect sense. I didn't see Midnight Cowboy until many years after it was released. Amazing film, and you're right, a game changer.

  2. Great choice for this X rated film. I saw it a couple of times and it is excellent but I find it tough to watch. I do love that scene and apparently it was improvised by Dustin.