Fifteen years after it first appeared in cinemas, Daisy Leverington wonders if the bar dancing classic has stood the test of time.
What and why: It’s a familiar setup. Small-town girl moves to the big city. Girl has adventures, ends up shacked up with Adam Garcia in leather trousers while Leanne Rimes tops the Billboard Top 40 with your songs for a year. The end.
Rated or dated: So why does this film still make me want to rip the backs of my jeggings and climb onto the nearest bar?
I reckon I could get the good folk of the Rose and Crown in Derby to join me in a rousing version of Can’t Fight the Moonlight because it’s still an awesome film, even after 15 years in which this small-town gal had her own adventures and ended up with Ian in linen chinos. (No one likes a sweaty crotch anyway.)
Violet Sanford is a ridiculously pretty songwriter, a makes-me-wanna-cry type of pretty usually reserved for pre-Raphaelite models.
She hits up some dodgy venues in the hope of getting her songs heard and almost throws up with nerves, but does meet the lovely Kevin whose accent and chin-dimple still give me the feelings. He even does the chivalrous/actually quite terrifying thing of following her home one night to make sure no one follows her home.
And then something unexpected happens. Tyra Banks gets freaky with a ketchup bottle in an all-night diner and Violet is introduced to the ‘Coyotes’, who are definitely NOT hookers. A quick chat with my all-time girl-crush Maria Bello lands her a job in the sort of bar which simultaneously makes me want to take my clothes off and get involved, and also write a strongly worded email to the BBC.
“Listen Vi, it’s not often that Adam Garcia shows a woman his comic book collection and then shags her in front of a cardboard cut-out of Patrick Swayze, so let’s put those dreams on the backburner for now, eh?”
The boss-lady asks, “Did you ever wake up sober after a one night stand, and the person you’re next to is layin’ on your arm, and they’re so ugly, you’d rather chew off your arm then risk waking ’em? That’s coyote ugly.” Which is the best way to name your bar, if you ask me. Mine would be called ‘Post-It’, short for ‘Snuck out at 5am and left my number on a post-it, but it’s a fake number so don’t call it.’ (Try making your own bar name.)
Violet, the ‘only virgin in New York City’ is soon stuck in a familiar pickle. Pay the rent by working in a shit-hole or pursue her dreams? Listen Vi, it’s not often that Adam Garcia shows a woman his comic book collection and then shags her in front of a cardboard cut-out of Patrick Swayze, so let’s put those dreams on the backburner for now, eh? You’re still horribly young.
Things are ticking over nicely until the mother of all first time rows with Kevin and the realisation that being a coyote isn’t a long-term plan gives Violet the hump she needs to leave the bar for good.
She gets back into her career groove and belts out some right good tunes in a national competition. Doing fairly well, she ends up writing songs for LeAnn Rimes, which at the time was a pretty darn good ending to a story. Nowadays you’d need to get past the judges’ houses and do really well in the live finals before anyone would listen to you, which is why I miss the simplicity of the early 00s.
Verdict: Rated. BUT… given the 15 years since its release I’ve realised that dancing on a bar and spraying horny men with a soda bottle doesn’t sit well with my feminist ideals, but I’m not sure if it’s the film that’s dated or if my attitude to self-worth finally grew up.
Fuck it, it’s a great film. RATED.4047 Views
Daisy Leverington - Actor, mother, expert at winging it.