It Came From the ’80s: Urban Cowboy (1980)

July 5, 2011

Urban Cowboy Posterby Sheri White

Is this movie really thirty years old now?  Have I been obsessed it with for that long?  I was fourteen when that movie came out – and I was dating Kevin.  Talk about young!  My youngest just turned thirteen;  I don’t think I could let her start dating that young.

Urban Cowboy had me enthralled the minute Buuuud stepped into Gilley’s.  I already loved John Travolta from Grease,  but Danny Zuko had nothing on Bud Davis.  Danny Zuko was pretty much a punk jerk if I’m to be honest,  but Bud Davis was a nice guy deep down,  he just needed Sissy (Debra Winger) to bring it out.

The dancing in Grease was good,  but the dancing in Urban Cowboy was awesome.  Watching Bud and Sissy do the two-step made me wish I could be out on Gilley’s dance floor,  two-stepping with some cute guy.  I pictured dancing with Kevin that way even though I had no clue if he had two left feet or not.  In my imagination,  he was as light on his feet as John Travolta.

The soundtrack is amazing.  From Joe Walsh to Charlie Daniels to Mickey Gilley himself,  there wasn’t a bad song in the entire movie.  The songs were all over the radio that summer,  and I loved hearing them on the radio while I was at the pool hanging with Kevin and our friends.

One of my favorite events at the pool was Teen Night  –  a big party just for teens with lots of music,  food and fun.  No adult swim to break up our good time;  we had the pool all to ourselves.  I loved jumping off the high dive into the deep end  –  I was too scared to dive,  but jumping was just as fun.  The best part,  though,  was Kevin walking me home and kissing me good-night.

“The Devil Went Down to Georgia”  was a fun song.  My mom wasn’t real crazy about the song because it had the devil in it,  but I loved it.  I didn’t admit it to my mom at the time,  but I thought the devil played a much better fiddle than Johnny.  The devil got screwed in that showdown.

My only complaint about Urban Cowboy is that there just wasn’t enough dancing.  The two-step was perfect and the mini-hoedown was cool,  but there should’ve been more.  I did like watching Bud defeat the mechanical bull.

My dream at the time was to someday go to Gilley’s and watch the cowboys dance with their ladies (hey,  I was fourteen).  I actually went to Texas in the summer of 1982 to visit my dad,  but I was only sixteen.  By the time I was old enough to get into Gilley’s,  it had burned down.  There are a few franchises around now,  but it wouldn’t be the same.  I have been to a honky-tonk bar in Fort Worth called Billy-Bob’s,  and I imagine that it was kind of what Gilley’s was like back in the day.

I still watch Urban Cowboy whenever it comes on TV,  and I also own the DVD.  The songs are on my iPod.  I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of that movie.  It may have taken place in Texas,  but watching the movie transports me back to Landover Aquatic and those magical Teen Nights.

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