The Last Picture Show ★★★★½

The Ultimate Challenge - Film #16

"One thing I know for sure. A person can't sneeze in this town without somebody offering them a handkerchief."

The Last Picture Show essentially feels like any other 70's coming-of-age drama. It has that tender balance between the tame films from before New Hollywood and the ostensibly more realistic and raw films from the 90's and onwards. It is paced slowly but surely, as it flows between a handful of different characters who live their lives in the last dying breath of a small Texas town. All of them try but none of them seem to succeed in finding that one thing that drives both young and old: love. As they hastily force sex and marriage upon themselves, they constantly get hit in the head with the reality of what life really has in store for them.

In all of it's drama, comedy and pure awkwardness it excels where such films need to, namely in its atmosphere. Small town drama has always been a gorgeous ground for unfinished life to blossom in all directions and The Last Picture Show definitely proves that. From the continuously audible country tunes on the radio to the sound of rustling leaves and blowing wind that bookends the film, it creates a slow brooding tapestry of the isolating feeling that the genre so dearly embodies. It's good, painfully, beautifully good, almost great.

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