The Last Picture Show
Texas night part 2. Yesterday was George Stevens' Giant
, and tonight was Peter Bogdanovich's The Last Picture Show
. And once again, I loved this film. The story focuses on high school senior Sonny Crawford looking for sex, love, and just making it through the day. It is a perfect portrait of high school of a not so perfect life. The film is filled with infidelity (a lot of it), teenagers faced with sex, and dealing with tragedy. The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of this film is the acting, which is unbelievable. Everyone is great in Timothy Bottoms, Jeff Bridges (who miraculously has had the same exact voice for 40 years), Ellen Burstyn, Eileen Brennan, and Sam Bottoms as the silent Billy. I want to single out three performances here, so bare with me. Cloris Leachman, who won an Oscar for her role in this, elevates the humanity in every scene. She cuts to the core of everyone, and the film is worth seeing purely for her, but luckily, there is more greatness in the film than just that. Ben Johnson as Sam "The Lion" is subtle, subdued, and brilliant. He is can hit the comedic notes and melt your heart. Also, this is the film debut of Cybill Shepherd, who proves she can actually act. Her character, I think, is the most interesting. She is the naive girl who thinks at every moment she knows what she wants, but obviously doesn't, and she pulls it off beautifully. Every scene she surprises you. One of my favorite things of the movie is the black and white cinematography. I think the film would have lost a lot had it been shot in color. I applaud Bogdanovich for making that decision. The script hits all the right moments, from witty dialogue to pure drama. I just want everyone to go out and watch this movie.
Grade: 5/5 or A+