Like a bolt of lightning, it hit me: How much better would Urban Cowboy have been WITHOUT John Travolta?
It's almost depressing to think of how much better it could have been. John Travolta has always been distasteful to me for a variety of obvious reasons (gross, a Scientologist, etc.), and while he does play Bud's stubborn hick machismo exceedingly well, he's just a little too unlikeable for the role. We're supposed to care when he almost dies, right? (Spoilers!) And when he cheats on Sissy, you want to say, "Great! Now go find someone else!" to her. Although Sissy is pretty much a douchebag herself.
Aaron Latham wrote the screenplay based on a factual Bud & Sissy of suburban Houston, who really were a couple of drunk 21 year old idiots who embarked on a tragiromance after meeting at Gilley's one night. He also kept a diary during the filming of the movie, and it's a pretty fascinating look into how young stars like Winger and Travolta carried on at this time in their lives. Hints: she's batshit and he is gay. He is a gay man. I keep telling my mother this and she won't hear me. Ok, maybe he's bi, who even cares, he looks like John McCain now.
I'm not really sure who the other up and coming young actors of 1980 were, but I feel like they could have done so much better. They only cast Travolta because he was on fire from Saturday Night Fever, and there was dancing. He looks so utterly out of place otherwise. Oh! I've got it. Sam Elliott. Maybe he was a little too old for that role, but they should have started there, not with Travolta.
Such a missed opportunity, but at least we have that priceless soundtrack. Seriously, I do love Mickey Gilley.
Poor quality, but that shirt.
Not from the movie, but still nice.