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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 7.32%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad: 9.76%
Total Crap: 12.2%

2 reviews, 29 user ratings

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Last Picture Show, The
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by Brian McKay

"A Gritty Black and White slice of Americana in a 1950's pissant Texas town"
5 stars

THE LAST PICTURE SHOW is one of those slice-of-life nostalgia pieces. You know the kind. No contrived story, no good guy or bad guy, no shootouts or car chases. Just a bunch of people doing a lot of talking and fucking - you know, the good stuff.

Probably the best move that director Peter Bogdonovich made was filming this in black and white. Nothing invokes nostalgia or gives a film a stark air of realism like a bit of the old B&W.

His second best move was convincing Ben Johnson to take the part of Sam, owner of the Royal theater, a run-down old bijou that serves as the town's main entertainment. Johnson, in fact, turned Bogdonovich down three times because the part "had too many words". Bogdonovich told him that if he took the part, it would win him an Oscar. It did.

His third best move was casting Cybill Shepherd as the bored rich-bitch town teen slut Jacy, after seeing her face on the cover of a magazine. Not only does she pull of the role of the girl that everyone wants to fuck (and who wants to return the favor) quite admirably, but that girl was FINE back in the day. My God, what a rack. It's too bad she didn't do any "Moonlighting" in softcore afterward.

The opening shot of the film is of the Royal Theater, in the 1951 Texas town of Anarene. The street is windy and dustblown. The theater looks like a derelict, as does the rest of the town with it's clapboard windows and peeling paint. However, the town, like it's residents, is still alive - despite being run down and weatherbeaten. The focal point of The Last Picture Show is the friendship between High School football players Sonny (Timothy Bottoms) and Duane (Jeff Bridges). While Sonny's dating some ugly prude, Duane's getting it on with the town hottie, Jacy (Shepherd). Sonny, of course, also wants to "get along" with her, as does most of the male population of Anarene. Coincidentally, Jacy reciprocates the town's lust, and poor Duane has a short, hard road ahead of him. Meanwhile, Sonny is friends with Sam "the Lion" (Johnson), the cool old dude who rolls his own cigarettes and owns all the fun places in town to hang out (movie theater, pool hall, diner . . . uh, that's about it really). He also befriend's Sam's son, who is developmentally disabled (Or "Slow", as they say in Texas - yup!). Sonny also get's involved with the coach's wife, Ruth Popper (Cloris Leachman), who is ignored by her fat redneck husband and needs some of that boy toy action to abate her loneliness and growing sense of imprisonment.

In short, Sonny is a busy boy.

In The Last Picture Show, people live, people talk, people fuck, and sadly, people die. There is love, and betrayal. Friendships are broken and mended. Characters are not abstracts of good and evil, but are cast in the most truthful, and therefore harshest light. They are saints and sinners all, and Anareen is their purgatory. Just as the Royal theater is an oasis of entertainment in this dusty and desolate town, Sam the Lion is the everyman heart and soul of the community. The entire cast performs admirably, and good Lord, look how young everyone in it was when this was made. I never realized that Randy Quaid or Cybill Shepherd or Jeff Bridges ever looked younger than thirty. In a way, it's true - the celluloid can make you immortal.

Although THE LAST PICTURE SHOW didn't take home the statue for best picture show, It got nominated for every bloody thing and Ben Johnson and Cloris Leachman took home a couple of well-deserved statuettes for supporting actor and actress. And now for the big question - Do I dare watch the sequel TEXASVILLE (inferior, by most accounts) and risk spoiling the magic?

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originally posted: 02/02/03 19:00:38
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User Comments

3/25/18 morris campbell offensive & overrated didnt even finish watching it 1 stars
3/08/18 Steve Mc A masterpiece but not for airheads 5 stars
7/26/15 Anne Very hard for me not to change the channel-could have been great 2 stars
9/16/12 cindy madson great 5 stars
2/12/10 Bluemagoo A profoundly moving masterpiece! 5 stars
1/09/10 Missourimike I was raised in that part of Texas. True to life, make your own excitement. 4 stars
4/29/09 Quigley Offensive and disrespectul. Don't even bother. 2 stars
2/11/07 action movie fan a yawn 2 stars
6/18/06 Danny A true classic. How anyone could say it sucks is beyond me. 5 stars
1/25/06 Robert Ledbetter The best movie I have ever seen, bar none 5 stars
12/06/04 chopper you sure do have it tough in the usa 5 stars
11/08/04 Jacquie danggg!! its racy alritght!! But its a really great movie 5 stars
11/02/04 movie Cashew Great Film, true to life in small towns 4 stars
11/02/04 nekrowerekitten 17 yr old sleeping w/an ugly hag? come on, and they call this classic 1 stars
9/26/04 Bucky Buckner Boone Superior acting from everyone involved and the b&w is perfect 5 stars
5/04/04 erik fuckin terrible movie 1 stars
2/07/04 Mikey T Depressing and disgusting. 1 stars
11/07/03 David Aames A heartbreaking portrayal of listless, love-hungry teens, hanging in history. 5 stars
8/13/03 TheGenuineFool One of the best movies about Texas ever made! 5 stars
6/26/03 y g 1 stars
6/14/03 ethan sprague this is IT!- A MUST SEE 5 stars
4/05/03 lindsey faithful to the book and cast very well. a wonderfully depressing film. 5 stars
2/11/03 Phil M. Aficionado A gritty and satisfying acting and casting tour de force. Must see for movie buffs, period 5 stars
2/08/03 mr. Pink A classic! Great performances, direction, photograpy, story. Beautiful! 5 stars
12/28/02 Jon "Thumb the Toad" Lyrik Saw it recently, wow! 5 stars
12/23/02 Charles Tatum For the love of Duane, stay away from "Texasville" 5 stars
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  03-Oct-1971 (R)
  DVD: 14-Dec-2010

  N/A (15)

  03-Oct-1971 (M)

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