Flickering images from 'The Last Picture Show'

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Allen Skurow, Nov 9, 2002.

  1. Allen Skurow

    Allen Skurow Extra

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    Years of dusky, swirling Texas tailwinds tattoo her sun-bleached, lined face. She's had many a long, hot, shadeless day and long, warm, sleepless night. There are creaks in her steps and cracks in her bones. She speaks with the smack of a weathered screen door, the spattered sizzle of an old grill, and the pop of a six-ball-in-the-side-pocket. There was a time when youth and naivete afforded her the luxury of temperance and solicitation, but now it's only with flat appraisal that she regards her insular inhabitants. Her name is Anarene...Anarene, Texas...the star of 'The Last Picture Show' (Actually an amalgam of Wichita Falls and Archer City.) And yes, it's just a bit too grungy, too dessicated, but since when aren't movie stars granted a little artistic license...

    And then there's Cybill...

    The Brittney Spears of this broken-down boomtown. Not quite a girl/not quite a woman - but all of a sultry, celluloid siren, an alluring archetype - a legend-in-the-making. This was Sheppard's film debut after being spotted on a magazine cover by director Peter Bogdanovich. She had no formal acting experience, but she did have (as astutely recognized by Bogdanovich) extensive, real-world training in the role of Cybill Sheppard - model, beauty, girl/woman, sex object. And indeed in TLPS she and Peter B. bring these formidable talents to bear. He wields her like a diamond - and I mean in the industrial sense:

    [Diamond - 1. An extremely hard, highly refractive crystalline form of carbon that is usually colorless and is used as a gemstone and in abrasives, cutting tools, and other applications.]

    She cannot however, muster her way through a couple of emotional tirades. This is the realm of the thespian...even a plain or unattractive one.

    A couple of indelible set-pieces:

    1) Cybill strips naked on a diving board in front of a poolful of nude, spoiled rich kids (including a snorkled little brother!) A mixture of terror, defiance, vulnerability, and guile play about her face as she snaps off pieces of underwear like wayward eyebrow hairs.

    2) Cybill and Clu Gulager's billiard table tete-a-tete. Three minutes, nine edits, and two-hands-entwined-in-pool-pockets equals more eroticism than a hundred porn flicks. Visit it in it's new location - my cerebral cortex.

    Everyone else is uniformly fine (except for Randy Quaid's usual goofiness); Jeff Bridges as Cybill's rudderless, clueless jock boyfriend. Timothy Bottoms' sad-eyed sack - tongue scouring his cheek for the right words - like poking in a pocket for loose change. Ben Johnson as the town's leathery sage and soul. Eileen Brennen as the quintessential blousy, world weary, cigarette-growing-out-of-her-hand waitress. Ellen Burstyn as the seen-it-all, done-'em-all, drank-it-all mother - and some very fine work by Cloris Leachman as the stoic, martyred, football widow.

    'Not the masterpiece I was expecting, (there are many moments ripe for searing drama, epiphany, or perceptiveness that just miscue) but a masterful slice of life of a nowhere town with nowhere people going nowhere fast.
     
  2. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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    That's a solid read, Allen!
    I just recently saw TLPS for the first time, and found it absolutely hypnotizing.
    Then I watched Texasville and felt emotionally raped.
     
  3. Allen Skurow

    Allen Skurow Extra

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    Thanks Scott. I see you've done one or two yourself [​IMG]. Therefore, I surmise that your good taste is matched only by your prolificacy.[​IMG]
     

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