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Leningrad Cowboys Go America 1989
Description: The Leningrad Cowboys, a group of Finnish musicians, and their manager, travel to America seeking fame and fortune. As they cross the country, trying to receive to a wedding in Mexico, they are followed by the village idiot, who wishes to join the band.
Released: 24 Mar 1989 Director: Aki Kaurismäki Writers: Sakke Järvenpää (story), Aki Kaurismäki (screenplay), Aki Kaurismäki (story), Mato Valtonen (story) Actors: Matti Pellonpää, Kari Väänänen, Sakke Järvenpää, Heikki Keskinen Genres: Comedy, Music
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Leningrad Cowboys Go America Reviews:

My wife Irene, and myself, (Robert Morris) owned "The Lonesome Bar" in Memphis where part of the film was shot. This is where they performed "Rock And Roll Is Here To Stay" and my buddy, George Kunkle played the banjo and sang one of his songs. The barber was Bill Robertson, who was a true barber next door to the bar. He passed away shortly after the movie came out, but it allowed him to sing in a international film. The entire cast and team was wonderful! We played pool and got drunk each night after shooting. One night we sat on the curb out front and took turns picking and singing our favourite songs. That was a experience I will never forget.We hope you like the movie, as we will never forget it.Colonel Robert morris


This is the funniest rock `n roll polka street film ever made! Although based around an current band of Finnish descent (who still receive airplay on MTV Europe), it sees our heroes come from the Tundra Wasteland to America, seeking fame and fortune. Not having much luck in their homeland with their special style of folk pop, the band are advised to defeat the US ("go to America" tells the guy, "they purchase any old s**t there"), being exploited constantly by their greedy manager Vladimir. They "learn" rock `n roll, drink beer, go to jail, beg on the roads and enjoy seedy pubs. Not exactly the American dream. And the most eyecatching piece, has to be those heavy quiffs and even bigger winklepicker shoes!The dialogue is funny, but its not this that makes you laugh. Just one look at the band will have you rolling. And if you can`t speak Finnish, don`t worry. The director cleverly overcomes this, by getting the band to learn English on the plane to America! And if you`re not tapping along to their rendition of "Born To Be Wild" at the end of the movie, you`ll be humming that "polka" melody for a long time to come.


This is without question one of the best rock and roll films ever made. It's sort of THE BLUES BROTHERS meets STROSZEK with some MOSCOW ON THE HUDSON thrown in. Aki Kaurismaki has to be admired for making this gutsy and crazy film. There is not much of the European "art film" here, nor is there any true serious social commentary or aesthetic stunts underneath the comedy here either. There is also no condescension toward America or Americans. In fact there is a wide-eyed, dreamy fondness for America, especially its messy landscapes that hug the interstates and its simple, likable working-classes (but definitely not its prick cops). Here we receive to meet the immensely likable dreams, melody and attire of the Leningrad Cowboys, the misunderstood, maligned, salt of the world band that comes to America to live out its rock and roll dream. Personally, I simply admire the actors for driving around the American South wearing those wonderful mullet pompadour quiffs and pointy shoes. That takes guts.Kaurismaki has a unique fondness for characters with large dreams but tiny or misunderstood talent, who can scrape up just enough money just receive by. Here, as in his other of his nice comedies, LA VIE DE BOHEME, there are some characters who are unambiguously untalented (in LENINGRAD COWBOYS: the singers; in LA VIE DE BOHEME: the composer) and there are some characters who have some or much, but quirky, or misunderstood talent (in LENINGRAD COWBOYS: the band; in LA VIE DE BOHEME: the painter). All of the performers and artists are immensely likable and amusing and their patrons and audience are just as suspect as they are in their taste, but nice to be around nonetheless. Moreover, their detractors are cold, a-hole jerks.Jim Jarmusch makes a funny cameo as a used vehicle salesman. Matti Pellonpää, probably Kaurismaki's favourite actor, is hilarious as Vladimir, the band's beer slugging, tyrannical manager. I love the stage early in the movie where he meets with the Fresh York "cousin" of the Finnish talent scout (who also, by the way, has a "cousin" in Mexico). When the Fresh York band booker says Vladimir that he needs to hear the band play, Vladimir says, "Is that necessary?"Anyone who loves rock and roll comedies, weird hairstyles and films about tiny folks with large dreams need to see this film. If you like Kaurismaki movies then you may or may not like this film, depending on how square you are. I tell check it out. I think it's one of the funniest movies I've ever seen. But then again I have had some crazy hairstyles too.



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