*This is a trueish story…
Sent to live with his estranged father for the summer, a rebellious teen finds kinship in a tight-knit Philadelphia community of Black cowboys.
“Hard things come before good things”
I have been to Philadelphia a couple of times. Seems like a nice enough place, got a bunch of sports teams, some mean cheese steaks, and of course some incredible history. But never had I heard or thought of a society of cowboys in the middle of the city of Philly. Well this new Netflix movie explores that culture, and in a sense is the Nomadland for the North Philly Cowboys.
Young Cole (Caleb McLaughlin) is out of control and his mom cannot handle his behavior anymore, so for the summer she decides to send him to his dad (Idris Elba). Now his dad is a leader of this Cowboy Society basically in the middle of the hood, and it is a way to keep these people on the straight and narrow. Most of the ancillary people in the movie, like Nomadland, are played by real Philly Cowboys, not actors. This brings a realism to the movie, along with the very immersive and kinetic filmmaking. Similar to how I felt watching something like Wendy last year, where the shakiness of the camera gives you a feel of being there.
Of course Cole gets tempted to go down the wrong paths when he is with his dad, but the story overall is a coming of age tale. We want to see our hero overcome everything because you do become a bit invested. At points though I just do not think there is enough there in the story though. It feels like you could have made a documentary possibly about this society rather than creating a possibly fictionalized story about them.
Stock Up – Caleb McLaughlin
I honestly think he was the best part of the movie. He really shed his Stranger Things persona here and created a character that people can try and relate to. You can tell Cole is going through it and Caleb does a great job playing all the emotions. He has a very bright future moving forward.
Stock Down – Idris Elba
I know its blasphemy because he is one of our kings, but he is a far cry from rumors of being the next James Bond. He is fine in the role here but he is doing a really weird accent and never really feels like he is fully committed to these scenes. We need a renaissance with another Luther type of role for him.
*A couple other tidbits
- Jharrel Jerome is a rising star for sure.
- So do they just clean up the poop in the streets also?
This was a smaller drop on Netflix but another one that has shot up the charts for them. They are definitely going for the quantity over quality method but if some hit more than others than they did their job. Concrete Cowboy shows a cool society but I just did not love the story that much, and again felt it needed to go the documentary route.
*You can find my 2021 Movie Rankings here.
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