Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Last Picture Show

This one's been sitting on our TV stand for some time, and working from home yesterday sending out 100+ emails individualized emails to different blogs, I popped it in to play in the background towards the end of the day. Liz came home from campus a little early and we both got to enjoy the majority of the movie together. I'd never seen it before, but I realized why it's on so many people's "best-of" lists. The Last Picture Show is probably one of the best movies I've ever seen.

Shot in stark black and white and as nihilistic as The Graduate, which it reminded me of on several counts, it's as true a portrait of life in a small Southern town as you could hope for. The dusty Texas-Oklahoma area near Wichita Falls, the sense of boredom and disaffection that even though the small town is a trap it's still sad when it starts to crumble, everything fit together perfectly. It's unusual to say, but there wasn't a single wasted shot or line of dialog. The editing tied everything together almost magically. It didn't bar any holds when it came to the seething teenage sexuality that comes from having nothing to do and no exit. But this is no Sartre play; it's harsh reality (as "real" as a movie about the death of a movie house being a symbol for the death of a town can be "real.")

Driving in this morning, I turned to Liz and said "that was a fucking great movie." She agreed, and we spent the rest of the drive talking about it.

If that isn't a sign of a great movie, I don't know what is.

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