"I guess if it wasn't for Sam, I'd have missed it, whatever it is. I'd have been one of them amity types that thinks that playin' bridge is about the best thing that life has to offer."
This Week's Essays
Related Review: Adventureland
On the surface, similarities to The Last Picture Show abound. But when it’s time to depict the archetypal moments of adolescence and early adulthood, the differences between the two are stark.
First Viewing: The Cinematic American Experience
If certain touches give The Last Picture Show an identifiable layer of Oscar schmaltz, these are outweighed by both its dramatic restraint and its formal ambition. Bogdanovich melds the formal excesses of the then-current New Waves with a more conservative approach to narrative.
While the opening shot’s long pan through the one-horse town reminds us of the Wild West, the series of jibes and disappointments that follow make it clear that what we’re seeing is more reminiscent of the death of the Wild West.
Director and writer Peter Bogdanovich is masterful in bringing this gaggle of wayward teens to life. We’re privy to some of the most intimate moments of their lives, whether it’s an unexpected death or a fight with a pal over a girl. These moments share equal weight through Bogdanovich’s lens.