Cowboy & Indiana (Movie Review)

Cowboy and Indiana" movie set to premiere June 8 in West Monroe

Plot Summary

Tyler Hughes used to be a big-time rodeo cowboy, but he got down on his luck through a series of bad choices. Now, he’s in and out of court, which where he gets sentenced to be a special mentor for “troubled kids.” Accompanied by his former girlfriend-turned-social-worker, what could go wrong as Tyler plays white savior for a kid from the “other neighborhood”? Also, several other characters do some stuff with bull riding in this incredibly long film.

Production Quality (2 points)

Production is easily Cowboy & Indiana‘s strongest suit. Camera work, video quality, and audio quality are all professional except for some slightly inconsistent filming techniques. Lighting, sets, locations, and props are all acceptable, however. The soundtrack is somewhat interesting, and the only issues with this section pertain to editing. This aspect is a bit uneven at times, but it’s not enough to pull this area below the average mark.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

Besides being a white savior plot, the premise of Cowboy & Indiana is so trumped up that it doesn’t even seem legally sound or realistic. This causes some subtly racist undertones and a lot of patriarchal message-pushing that treats women like they’re incapable of making decisions without men around. In addition, the characters are very thin due to poorly developed dialogue and conversations, wasted scenes and sequences, excessive sports montages, and silly coincidences that make the story go where it wants to go. This narrative steering creates very steep character arcs that aren’t justified and strip the movie of any central purpose or themes. Despite some good flashbacks and acceptable dialogue in the screenplay’s second half that keeps this section from being zero, it’s just too little, too late. By the time the conclusion rolls around, it seems like the writers tried to make up for lost time by forcing things forward at a rapid pace, which produces a rushed epilogue with tons of expository dialogue that patches everything up at a breakneck speed. Needless to say, the small amount of positive in this portion just isn’t enough.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

At least the acting of Cowboy & Indiana is basically average. There’s nothing too bad or too good about it. Emotional and line delivery are just right down the middle with some being less than acceptable and the rest being fine. Overall, however, this rounds out an underwhelming effort.


It’s clear that this film was based on a lot of random ideas, some of which were better than others. Nonetheless, there are just too many eyebrow-raising elements here, such as the shaky legal basis. The veiled racism and patriarchy are also obvious concerns to contend with. Even without these problems, the sheer amount of content is simply overwhelming for anyone. Thus, during the creative process, it’s better to slow things down and invite God into the situation to see if you’re even meant to move forward with your project.

Final Rating: 4 out of 10 points

New Hope [2012] (Movie Review)



Plot Summary

When the Evans family comes to the small town of New Hope to pastor the church, they inadvertently walk into a hurting town that’s still lost and confused following the unexpected suicide of their basketball star.  The oldest son, Michael, suddenly realizes that he has accidentally filled the shoes of the late town legend, and immediately becomes a target for the angry best friend of the dead hero.  The Evans family and the town must together navigate the wake of suicide and determine how they are going to discover a new identity together.


Production Quality (1.5 points)

For a little known independent film, the production of New Hope is decent enough.  The camera work is average and the angles are good.  The video and sound qualities are consistently above par.  However, the musical score is uninspiring and there are quite a few editing errors.  Scenes are cut off at odd times, some scenes are awkwardly placed, while others seem completely unnecessary.  While most of the surface issues are covered, there is simply too much amateurish editing for the production to be rated any better.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

Dealing with life after the suicide of a family member and friend is an issue that needs to be discussed in the context of film, but New Hope is either too melodramatic, too inauthentic, or too inappropriate.  Dialogue is too obvious and dramatic, thus making extreme characters.  Michael is an okay character, but the others are not accessible.  There are too many screaming matches throughout.  There is a generally offbeat flavor to New Hope, like there’s something the characters aren’t saying out loud.  There is also some inappropriate content that doesn’t belong in a supposedly family-friendly movie, all in the context of a bizarre and forced romantic subplot.  Overall, this plot meanders along with emotional outbursts, picture taking, and basketball games, without really accomplishing anything.  The end is very rushed and the implied scenes during the credits are absurd.  In short, there is little to be positive about here.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

The story here is much like the production quality—it’s good, but not good enough.  Some actors and actresses perform well while others do not.  Emotional delivery and line delivery are inconsistent.  Costuming is average.  Overall, this is just average.


New Hope had the right idea to try harder on production than most Christian films, but it never found its story identity.  The plot is a vague idea that it slapped together with sports elements and a pathetic attempt to be edgy.  The bottom line is that the creators rushed ahead too quickly and didn’t think this movie through.  We feel that the resources could have been used more appropriately, as will your time in watching this film.


Final Rating: 3.5 out of 10 points