A growing-up story unlike any other out there, The Last Picture Show is the film that pretty much put Peter Bogdanovich on the map. The way the Book puts it, Bogdanovich was one of the few of the New Wave directors of the 70s to stick to the classical method of filmmaking rather than try and reinvent the rulebooks like his contemporaries Scorsese, Spielberg, and De Palma. His decision pays off, in that he is well regarded even with the slew of other directors that tried to make their name during the era.
All I knew about this going in was that it was supposedly a coming-of-age tale, but I wasn’t prepared for how different of a film it would end up being. It’s black and white, of course, but not just in hue; the film is very cut and dry, and doesn’t mince the experiences it goes through. The film takes off Bergman in its sound design and editing, opting for a very stoic and almost coldly calculated feel. The whole film is very pointed, in content and in character; really, it’s the opposite of what American Graffiti was. It’s dusty and dry, and has absolutely no flair about it, and thus it can be a little hard to appreciate, but it has its certain charms about it.
I’m still a bit uncertain as to how I feel about The Last Picture Show. It’s certainly different than the rest of the pack, and I’m not quite sure if I like how different it is. I can see why it was placed on the list, but I can’t figure out if I like it or not. Really, I’m left at a loss for words when it comes to this film, so I guess I’ll just have to say to try it out for yourself and see if it’s something you’d end up liking. It’s a lot blunter about its growing-up issues than most other films, and it’s not as rose-tinted as Stand By Me or even American Graffiti, so fair warning before you get into something you don’t care for. But even if you don’t care for it, I hope you can still appreciate it; I sure can.
Arbitrary Rating: 7/10