‘City Slickers’

‘City Slickers’ (1991) isn’t the kind of film you brag about watching, but when I remembered it the other day I decided to have a ‘City Slickers’ and ‘City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold’ mini-marathon. I have to say, I did enjoy the comedy and story, as well as the artefact of the thing itself.

Old films (books and magazines, etc) are wonderful documents of their times (or aspirations of how the audience, or the film studio, viewed themselves and their punters). While the artefact itself might not be art there’s always a rich cultural context.

Here, the ‘Old West’ story is reinvented for an audience more likely to be interested in space opera. The ‘Old West’ experience is now retold through the eyes of jaded middle-class (and affluent ones at that) corporate businessmen on a male-bonding holiday — the cowboy cliché being too tired a story to tell straight on. This is American culture repackaged into the theme park metaphor and, much like ‘Westworld’ (1973), it asks questions about the nature of an ‘authentic’ experience, and a very Philip K Dick notion of real versus simulation. As popcorn film fodder from the early 1990s goes this hasn’t aged too badly.