Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Last Picture Show - More 31 Days of Oscar

The Last Picture Show

Another one I knew basically nothing about. I'd seen Peter Bogdanovich talking to David Chase on the Sopranos DVDs about it, and all I remembered was that they had radios on all the time in lieu of a traditional score. And I liked the Hank Williams-y soundtrack. It was cool to see all these actors I knew in their younger days: Jeff Bridges, Randy Quaid, Cybill Shepherd (who sorta looked like Kate Hudson at this age), Timothy Bottoms, Ellen Burstyn.

But it was also very weird. Set in the 50s, I think, everything felt like a movie actually filmed then, except that it had the language, nudity, sexuality of a 70s movie. Which was odd. But that also made it that much more interesting. It felt like a very authentic look at the period, instead of the sanitized Hollywood versions that came at the time.

One scene, about halfway through, really bothered me, though (spoilers, highlight to reveal): when half the town hunts down Joe Bob, who'd kidnapped a little girl and was going to molest her, they haul off Joe Bob and the mother went slapping Joe Bob, which is perfectly understandable, but not a single person asked the little girl what happened, or if she was ok. Weird.

Story-wise, they gave more depth to some of the adult characters than teenage movies tend to do. I'm used to Cloris Leachman playing the horny old lady for comedic affect (often with a German accent), not dramatically, but she's really very good here (and not German). But otherwise it was a pretty generic coming of age story. Life lessons, hardship, quests to lose virginity, all that stuff. But some of the characters were interesting, the performances were good, and the soundtrack make it worth a look.

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