The Last Picture Show ★★★★★

Sometimes you sit down to watch a classic movie that's been heavily recommended and come away disappointed, asking: "why do people love this so much?"

The Last Picture Show is not that movie. Exploring the lives of a small desert town in Texas, where the limited attractions include a run-down cinema, snooker hall and cafe, the film is populated with full, well-rendered characters whose complexities are fully explored throughout the runtime at a walking pace. There's several career-making or -best performances in the film, notably Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd and Ellen Burstyn, although for my money it's Cloris Leachman who nails the role completely- no wonder she got the Best Supporting Actress oscar that year.

Bogdanovich approaches the movie with the psychological realism and bold directorial choices of New Hollywood, but calls back to the golden age of the silver screen through classical framing and stark black and white, courtesy of cinematographer Robert Surtees (himself a bonafide classic Hollywood kind of guy). The overall effect is a combination of real-to-life dialogue and elegiac imagery that makes this a powerful coming-of-age story.