The slow death of a movie house in a tiny Texas town mirrors the fortunes of its inhabitants circa 1952-53. Sonny (Bottoms) and Duane (Bridges) play on the losing high school football team. Jacy (Shepherd) nominally dates Duane but flirts with just about everyone. Her mother (Burstyn) has affairs, and Sonny eventually finds himself bedding the coach's lonely and frustrated wife (Leachman). Ben Johnson, the veteran of countless westerns, appears as "Sam the Lion," the owner of the picture show and coffee shop, and father of a slow-witted boy who sweeps the streets and is only sporadically watched by Sonny and the others. Randy Quaid and Eileen Brennan may also be glimpsed among the cast. Johnson and Leachman both won well-deserved supporting actor Oscars for their marvelous performances in this rich, sad 1971 film, whose screenplay debut director Peter Bogdanovich co-wrote with Larry McMurtry based on the latter's novel. The direction is perfectly dry and on target (with cinematography by the great Robert Surtees); the acting superb by all concerned. Bogdanovich, who started out as an actor and film theorist and who appears vocally in this film as a disc jockey, unfortunately never made anything this fine again.
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The review of this Movie prepared by David Loftus