MovieChat Forums > Midnight Cowboy (1969) Discussion > Who goes to NY with 100 bucks in their p...

Who goes to NY with 100 bucks in their pocket?


Let's look at Joe's finances. He gives Cass the $20; he gives Ratso another $20. He pays for his room for a week, which must have been, what? Another $60? $100, tops? And now he's completely tapped out, flat broke and busted.

I mean, he gets this idea in his head somehow that there are plenty of rich bored women in Manhattan, waiting to be serviced, and that he's going to start servicing them. Mind you, this is with absolutely no experience doing this before; he just decides that this is the way for him, how he's gonna make a huge, life-changing score.

Yes, I know there actually ARE people that do this. But it just seems so over-the-top stupid, y'know? As in, "so stupid that they couldn't possibly function in society" stupid.

Why would someone ever do this? He had a steady job; you could live off of a minimum wage job back then (as opposed to now). There weren't any "precipitating events" pushing him out of Texas. So where does he all of a sudden get this urge to up and leave?




I want the doctor to take your picture so I can look at you from inside as well.

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Joe Buck wasnt very smart to begin with, he got the idea to become a Hustler from an article that he read in a magazine, its on the wall in one scene and it says "I pay for what my husband cannot give me" so he decided that because the only thing he had ever been good for was loving that he should become a Hustler and get paid money by rich women, so he goes off to New York City to do this, after buying his Cowboy costume first.

In the book Joe Buck saves up exactly 200.00 dollars, it mentions that this is the most money that he has ever had in his life saved up, that was a lot of money back then, he was stupid enough to think he could use that to start himself off in the city, then get rich hustling later on as he went.

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Thanks. I did not see that article anywhere in the movie.




I want the doctor to take your picture so I can look at you from inside as well.

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If Madonna could go to NYC with $200 in her pocket, Joe could. You actually could live off a min wage back then; rent has not gone up in proportion with inflation, but exceeded it. You could get a studio apt (or a room at the Y) then for 200.00 a mon. It wasn't so much about Joe's stupidity by arriving with $100, only how he used that 100 bucks.

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'Why would someone ever do this? He had a steady job; you could live off of a minimum wage job back then (as opposed to now). There weren't any "precipitating events" pushing him out of Texas. So where does he all of a sudden get this urge to up and leave?'
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His urge was likely not an impulsive decision. A steady job as a dishwasher is not what most people wish to settle for. Who wouldn't want to leave? If he was living in one of the major metro-areas of Texas, I could see him more content.

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Look at Joe, at how he acts, and lives, and how he ends up. In some ways, he is too stupid to function in society. Or, putting it nicer, too untrained, underdeveloped, and naive. Now, Joe's not the brightest bulb in the first place, but his main problem is that, thanks to his bad childhood, he seems to be stuck emotionally and mentally at a very young age. He's like a ten year old venturing out into the world alone, so it's no wonder he doesn't bother to worry about money.

I agree that, in the movie, Joe did just sort of up and run out of Texas without reason. In the book, Joe leaves because he's raped, and the event seems to lead to a mental break. It's one of the few places where I prefer the book to the movie - the movie doesn't really address the oddity of what Joe is doing, as if suddenly dressing as a dandy cowboy and heading to a big city to prostitute oneself is just something a Texan is liable to do.

I, too, had never noticed the article. That's also not in the book - in the book, Joe gets the idea to be a prostitute from, well, another prostitute who told him he could clean up back east. He misunderstood and thought she meant with female clients.

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Joe does not leave Texas because he was raped. I don't recall him saying that, or nay "subtext" to indicate it. He left Texas for a good reason which comprises the premise of the entire film, and not without reason (as you stated). That is your fixation or compulsion which you need to believe. You seem to think the entire story revolves the affects if childhood sexual abuse and rape, and any other imaginary scenarios that come to mind, but are mostly non-existent. If the film is too straightforward, then it must be made mysterious and complicated, and layered in self-serving hypotheses.




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I think I'm coming to a place where I'm done with this board. Not because it's a bad place, but because I think I've said all I have to say on the topic of Joe and Ratso. But, I do have one question left before I go.

What on earth are you so angry about?

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Madonna came to NY on the bus in 1978 with less money than that!

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Madonna was a woman though.

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In the movie, some of the flashback scenes imply that Joe was a male prostitute to local ladies, except they weren’t rich.

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Where's that Joe Buck?!

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Only a stupid naïve person would go to New York with barely any money, without realizing that he or she would be screwed over in the end after getting there.

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Joe was as dumb as a rock, and considerable more naive. The average rock has been around a long time and has seen a few things, they'd roll their eyes at Joe's idiocy if they had eyes!

Anyway, one things that hasn't been mentioned before is that running away wasn't just popular in the late sixties, it was actually fashionable. Millions of young people heard "Looking For America" or saw "Easy Rider" or just heard about the hippies living on nothing in the Haight-Ashbury, and decided to leave school or quit shitty jobs and see what was out there. So teenagers ran away from home and young adults bought one-way bus tickets, and some made new lives for themselves wherever they ended up. The fictional Joe was just doing what thousands or millions of young people did in real life.

So "Midnight Cowboy" is the story of one young guy who went out to see the world, without being smart about it, or lucky.

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