Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Best Picture Show

I went to see The Last Picture Show last night at The Egyptian Theater/American Cinematheque with Texas, as it's a favorite for both of us. It just gets better and better each time I see it. Truly a masterpiece, maybe even a top 10 all time movie, in my humble opinion. It's a perfect film, and a lesson in nuance, the unspoken, showing not making explicit in the dialogue, three dimensional characters, and fine acting all the way around. And the cinematography. Exquisite. The camera should tell the story to some degree in film. Remember the scene where Sonny's been exiled from the main street businesses and he's driving slowly past in that beat-up truck, watching the people in the pool hall, and the diner, as if they are moving on a conveyor belt? Camera work can connote emotion. It's amazing.



Anyway, I'm standing at the popcorn buttering device before the flick, and the two guys next to me are debating whether or not to salt the popcorn, and I say without looking, "It's not salted." Ya know, trying to be helpful. I look up and it's old Peter Bogdanovich, who just stares at me as if, well, I'm not sure what. Did I step on his toes? Was he thinking "Who is this creature? Oh the impropriety? " I have no idea, but that was a star sighting worthy of mention for me. When I got back to our seats and told Tex how I'd put my foot in my mouth with the directing legend, Texas 'bout came out of his skin with excitement when told him. And then the old fellow came in the auditorium. Texas could not stop grinning every time he looked over at Mr. B. He was so happy it was utterly charming. After, he thanked the man. I threw popcorn at him. Not really.



It's a shame he doesn't make movies of this caliber anymore. I'm a huge fan of Paper Moon (1973) and am crazy forWhat's Up, Doc? (1972), which is simply one of the funniest films ever, and a retelling of one of my all-time favorites, Bringing Up Baby.

I had this thought last night, one I've had before - the film industry is having a fair amount of trouble these days, and generally not giving us a lot worth the ten dollars plus. So why don't they take existing masterpieces, especially those as relevant today as they were decades ago, promote the hell out of them and get the American public well fed again? I think people tend to eat what you put before them, particularly if you tell them it's good. In the meantime, support your local art house theaters, if you've got them. There are worlds of old cinema just waiting to be sampled by you.

6 comments:

steve said...

Well, I never met a real Hollywood Di-rector before, but I have met Larry Mcmurtry and while I have read the book, i never did actually see the show....I CLAIMED to my parents many a Friday night to be going to see that show, but wound up (ahem) pursuing other interests.
The movie was actually shot in Archer City which now resides 4 large bookstores ownwed by Mr.mcMurtry. He has a reak knack for characterizing very accurately these people and places of small Texas towns where they used to roll up the sidewalks at 6:00.
His son (james) is a musician and very much like his father in terms of 1 line characterizations and one of my favorites.
"Texasville" is the sequel to "Last Picture" and I know it makes no sense to only have seen the Sequel, though I have read the prequel, but it woukd seem that such is the case.
cheers!

McGone said...

What a great chance encounter, kissyface. My brushes with fame are barely noteworthy.

UF Mike said...

Other than getting yelled at by Allen Ginsberg, I have no celebrity stories. I am so envious, Kissyface. Good post. Believe it or not, I've never seen the movie. I know, I know. I'm cinematic scum....

peteski said...

^ He forgot to mention that AG was naked at the time.

Grant Miller said...

It was a great book too.

Ellen Aim said...

This is one I'm so embarassed I've just never seen.

Always delighted to run into others who adore Bringing Up Baby and What's Up Doc?; I'll bump LPS closer to the top of my Netflix...