The Cowboy & The Samurai

Mar 19, 2023

Sometimes a Hollywood rumor is so good that it should be put on film. Yes, Hollywood often exaggerates stories based on actual events, but when it comes to indie films, well, they sometimes don’t have the budget to exaggerate. Well, that is until now. In The Cowboy & The Samurai, director/co-writer Jake Lewis and co-writer Sam Lewis have devised a brilliant idea to take a factual story and add obvious fiction to it. This is a hilariously great idea.
The short comedy is based on the behind-the-scenes events of Jack Nicholson’s directorial debut Goin’ South. In that film, one of the biggest comedians at the time (and of all time), John Belushi, was cast in the minor role of Deputy Hector. Apparently, Belushi said he was treated like “sh*t” by Nicholson on the set. The filmmakers explore the idea that the cowboy (Jack) meets the samurai (Belushi) on that set at that time.

“…the cowboy (Jack) meets the samurai (Belushi) on that set at that time.”
Now, the story has nothing more to do with Nicholson’s film other than the meeting between Nicholson and Belushi. However, it brilliantly presents this “what if” scenario of Nicholson’s Goin’ South character meeting Belushi’s famous samurai character from his SNL skits. Most of the short deals with Belushi (Sandy Danto) getting some around-the-bush advice from Nicholson (Jamie Costa) on shooting the film. The payoff between these two characters is awesome and something that I definitely did not expect.
Costa is most recently known for his haunting performance as Robin Williams in ROBIN the Test Footage Scene. When it comes to his portrayal of Jack Nicholson, he does a decent job of getting close to the legendary actor’s voice, but the likeness isn’t quite there. Sandy Danto, on the other hand, has always reminded me of John Belushi with his resemblance, and he does sound a bit like the comedian as well. I think Danto’s casting was spot on.
Goin’ South isn’t a great film, but it is a bit underrated, in my opinion. And I think The Cowboy & The Samurai will put more eyes on that 1978 title. It should also definitely put eyes on the Lewis brothers, Jaime Costa, and Sandy Danto, in very positive ways.

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