Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thursday American Cinema Classic

Welcome to a new weekly feature here at Movies with Abe, Thursday American Cinema Classic. I’m taking a course called American Cinema Since 1960 where we’re charting the history and development of American Cinema from the 1960s to the present. We’ll be watching some pretty iconic films, some of which I haven’t seen before. Each week, I’ll be providing a short review of one contemporary classic from the annals of recent history.

The Last Picture Show
Directed by Peter Bogdanovich
Released October 22, 1971

This Best Picture nominee is a trip way back in time, both when it was originally released in 1971 and in the present day, painting a colorful (albeit black-and-white) picture of the 1950s. It’s particularly interesting to look at the film in terms of the performances showcased, especially since most of the actors, now in their sixties and seventies, are still actively working today. Seeing Jeff Bridges in one of his first big film roles (and his first Oscar nominated-one) is quite a sight after his career-encompassing, Oscar-winning performance in “Crazy Heart” last year. Timothy Buttoms seems such an innocent soul at this young age, and he’s quite different from his parody of George W. Bush as seen on the short-lived TV farce “That’s My Bush” from 2001. Cloris Leachman, who made this film before she earned any of her twenty-one Emmy nominations, already seems very old compared to the rest of the cast, but delivers a meaningful and impressive performance. Ellen Burstyn steals all of her scenes, which isn’t much of a surprise, and Cybill Shepherd is magnetic in her first film role. The cast are just part of the experience of this tribute to an ailing Texas town, and it’s a wonderfully complex exploration of friendship, relationships, sex, and movies. Watch the opening of the film with the YouTube clip embedded above.


No comments: