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The summer of 1984: 32 years after Duane Jackson captained the high school football team and Jacy Farrow was homecoming queen, the small town of Anarene, Texas prepares for its centennial celebration. Oil prices are down, banks are failing, and Duane's $12 million in debt. His wife Karla drinks too much, his children are always in trouble, and he tom-cats around with the wives of friends. Jacy's back in town, after a mildly successful acting career, life in Italy, and the death of her son. People assume Duane and Jacy will resume their high school romance. And Sonny is "tired in his mind," causing worries for his safety. Can these friends find equilibrium in middle age?Written by
Unless you saw Peter Bogdanovich's classic The Last Picture Show, if you even start at the beginning of Texasville you'll feel like you've walked in on the film in the middle and have to catch up. I'm not sure the film is capable of standing on its feet so to speak.
Anarene, Texas in The Last Picture Show is about the passing away of the old values that gave Texas the culture it has, the small town looks like it's about to shrivel and blow away like a tumbleweed as that film ended. But in the intervening thirty years, the town seems to have experienced a renaissance due to oil and the high prices it commands for energy. If you remember in Urban Cowboy, John Travolta leaves home and hearth in a place that looks like Anarene for a job in the Houston petrochemical industry which was booming in 1980.
But if you also remember between those years the OPEC nations let loose a glut of oil on the world market which drove the price down worldwide. The bank that Jeff Bridges is now the head of is caught in a nice financial squeeze investing in some wells locally that better produce and soon. Sad to say that's another historical point that might even get lost on an audience 25 years later.
Still of the half a dozen or so cast members who repeated their roles from The Last Picture Show in Texasville, materially Bridges has made out the best. But he's also got a wife in Annie Potts who's bored with the marriage, half a dozen kids, including William McNamara who's having sex with half the women in the town. Just a chip off the old block. Bridges facing financial ruin just about caps things off for the Jackson family.
Cybill Shepherd the teen dream queen of the Fifties went to Europe and became an actress, but whose marriage to a continental fizzled and a son died. Rich and somewhat dissipated, she's just back to her roots.
Timothy Bottoms the other half of the running backs from the high school with Bridges has not done really well. He owns a greasy spoon eatery and he's getting by. But he's struck with a mysterious malady which could be anything from a brain tumor to early onset Alzheimer's. We never really find out in Texasville.
Texasville has ambitions to be a character study like Long Day's Journey Into Night and these people are interesting though not the same league as the Tyrone family. But the film, interesting in spots though it is, relies too much on its roots from The Last Picture Show to stand on its own.
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