Cockfighting was once the sport of kings, noblemen, a tradition as old as civilization itself. But as is often the case, certain things fall out of favor over time. Workhouses, for example, or wicker furniture. A general consensus develops and diversions once considered acceptable are now deemed as reprehensible, tacky even.
Such is the case with cockfighting. Shunned the world over, especially since the advent of televised bowling, cockfighting is now practiced solely by Rednecks and Filipinos. (This may not be true.) And that's where Stoke and Wyatt come in.
Stoke and his son Wyatt are heading to a cockfighting tournament in Kansas. It'll be Wyatt's big debut as a cocker. (Yes, "cocker" is how these guys refer to each other, making this sport sound much gayer than it really is.) Wyatt wants to prove he's a man. Nothing does that quicker than tossing hostile chickens at one another. And Stoke, he hopes to win enough money to buy the affections of his cheating wife. So Stoke, Wyatt and their mute farm hand (I don't know, it's never explained) head to Kink's. Kink is the Midwest's leading cockfight promoter, sort of a Don King of Midwest cock rings.
And what's waiting for them? A whole lot of heartache and midget with a gun.
Along the way Stoke details his "weakness for knockers," Wyatt meets a hooker with a heart of gold, and the mute, well, mostly he just nods. There are also various subplots about nefarious bookies trying to manipulate the odds, dirty cops on the take, and Stoke's troubled marriage. Oh, and the midget. The midget, cheerfully nicknamed Chicken, has the hots for Kink's daughter. It seems he too has a weakness for knockers.
All of this leads up to the exciting finale of the cockfighting tournament. It's kind of like The Karate Kid, but with chickens. The end of this film is fraught with intrigue (yes, intrigue), lust, and violence. Plus that midget with the gun I'd mentioned earlier. But I don’t want to spoil it for you...
See this movie. If not for all the slow-motion cockfighting footage then for the primo dialogue. Like Stoke's argument with his wife where he defines her role in the relationship: "You're just an egg-layer, Gaylee. You're my hen!" A look into the life of a cocker doesn't get any better than this.
Directed by Brice Mack • PG • 1983 • 92 minutes