As our George Strait week comes to an end before the big show Saturday night at Reliant Stadium, Rocks Off takes a look back at his first and sadly only lead-acting role, 1992's Pure Country. The film is pure cornball cinema gold. We had the pleasure of re-watching it a few months back on CMT overnight and couldn't turn away. Each time we wanted to change the channel we resisted the urge. In the end, we loved every minute of it. The story is actually kind of intricate as far as most countrified flicks go. Strait's massive country star, Dusty Chandler, tires of the road grind and goes MIA to find himself. In the interim, his manager played by Lesley Ann Warren (rrowr!) tries to replace him with some young bastard roadie who thinks he is a superstar himself. Dusty shaves off his beard and hooks up with a hot number named Harley at the beer hall and they fall in love, naturally. Just as predictably, Dusty and Harley have a grave misunderstanding that sends Dusty back into music. There's a really odd scene where the real Dusty tells off the fake Dusty; it's strange seeing Strait have to get cross with someone.
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Dusty has a comeback gig in Las Vegas, where it just so happens that barrel-racer Harley is competing in a rodeo. A limousine drops off Harley and her family at the sold-out Dusty concert. At the beginning of the show Dusty sings "I Cross My Heart" to her in the crowd, spotlight and all. For such a loving and tender moment, the two just intensely hug and never get down to the mouth action. Maybe Mrs. Strait was wielding the wifey card that day.
The cast of Pure Country is not without its stars. John Doe of Los Angeles punks X plays Dusty's drummer and best friend. Doe actually has had quite the film career, previously co-starring in Great Balls Of Fire and numerous TV gigs like HBO's underrated Carnivale. The flick was legendary actor Rory Calhoun's last film role, as Harley's quietly ornery grandfather. Dusty's backing band in the film is actually the real-life Ace In The Hole band, Strait's longtime backers (save Doe, of course).
The film's soundtrack is actually Strait's best-selling studio effort, at more than six million copies to date; it spent almost seven years on the country catalog charts. The 11 original songs, including our personal favorite "Overnight Male," are prime early-'90s Strait.