'Cocaine Cowboys' poster. Movie directed by Ulli Lommel starring Andy Warhol (1979)

cocaine cowboys andy warholI GOT no kick from "Cocaine Cowboys." For all the energy it generates, the white powder might just as well have been pulverized Sominex.

The flimsy story involves members of a rock group that smuggles the nose candy from Colombia to Montauk, L.I., to make expenses while they're waiting for one of their albums to go platinum. Judging by their music, they're lucky to have gone vinyl.

Jack Palance, the only professional in the cast, plays the father of a couple of members of the group. He looks fit and keeps his composure admirably as he tries to play scenes with obvious amateurs. Much of the dialogue seems to have been improvised, but it probably wouldn't have been any better if it had been written down.

Andy Warhol, at whose white clapboard summer home in Montauk "Cocaine Cowboys" was filmed, plays himself, lurking around the premises with a Polaroid camera as though he were afraid his tenants were damaging the premises.

Mr. Warhol used to be highly regarded as a film maker in some circles. His listlessness, detachment, anomie or whatever it's called, does not exactly light up the screen. Tom Sullivan, who plays the leader of the group, appears not to have a future in front of the camera.

The direction, by Ulli Lommel, who has appeared in 13 R. W. Fassbinder films and directed the West German production "The Tenderness of Wolves," is rudimentary. Taken as a whole, "Cocaine Cowboys," which opens today at the Embassy 2 and other theaters, gives the impression of being less a film than the cinematic equivalent of those minimalist arrangements of bricks, cardboard boxes and bits of string.

Review by Tom Buckley (NY Times, 1979)