Tuesday, March 17, 2015

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Casting Coup: The Last Picture Show

Best Picture
Best Director - Peter Bogdanovich
Best Supporting Actor - Jeff Bridges
Best Supporting Actor - Ben Johnson (WON)
Best Supporting Actress - Ellen Burstyn
Best Supporting Actress - Cloris Leachman (WON)
Best Adapted Screenplay - Peter Bogdanovich/Larry McMurtry
Best Cinematography - Robert Surtees

I love The Last Picture Show, another film I didn't see until I took on the 1971 Retrospective. It is so damn beautiful -- beautifully-written, beautifully-shot, beautifully-acted. Roger Ebert ranked it among his Great Movies, saying, "It is about a town with no reason to exist, and people with no reason to live there."

But oh, what people! A perfect ensemble just ripe for the casting -- and really, I expect that this film, along with The Big Chill, will eventually be remade. And if it happened today, who might we see?

This guarantees to be the 2014 Academy Award Nominee-iest cast of the bunch...check it out after the jump.

originated by Clu Gulager
Works in the oil fields. Boinks his way through his boss's family.

My Choice:
Timothy Olyphant
Because he has that air of sexy and wrong for you.

Lois Farrow

originated by Ellen Burstyn
Former town beauty, now married but still itchy. Mother of Jacy, who's taken up the town beauty crown. Not as shallow as she might seem, and still holds on to that brief love affair from way back...

My Choice: Academy Award/BAFTA Award/Golden Globe/SAG Award Winner for Best Actress (Walk the Line)

Reese Witherspoon
Formerly one of America's Sweethearts, now older, wiser, and well aware that she's not going to get every role she might want -- though she's really very sporting about it. She's phenomenal in roles like these -- roles with edge, grit, a weariness that belies the beauty.


originated by Eileen Brennan
Seen-it-all waitress and overseer of the diner. She's not hopping into anyone's bed, but she has the easiest rapport with the townsfolk.

My Choice: Academy Award Nominee for Best Actress (Rambling Rose) and Best Supporting Actress (Wild), Golden Globe Nominee for Best Actress (Rambling Rose)

Laura Dern
As Wild reminded us, Dern only needs a few scenes to almost (almost) walk off with a movie. Hers is an open and reassuring presence, necessary for Genevieve.

Ruth Popper

originated by Cloris Leachman
The unhappy wife of Coach Popper, she finds her first real spark of joy in forever in the arms of Sonny. But perhaps she's too willing to give herself over...

My Choice: Hollmann Award Nominee for Best Supporting Actress (Boyhood), Academy Award/BAFTA Award/Golden Globe/SAG Award Winner for Best Supporting Actress (Boyhood)

Patricia Arquette
Obviously, right?

Sam the Lion

originated by Ben Johnson
The heart and soul of Anarene, he owns the movie theater, the diner, the pool hall -- and has a warm place in everyone's hearts. You miss him when he's gone.

My Choice:

Treat Williams
Going with the whole "underrated veteran actor" thing Johnson established with the role. He's handsome, about the right age for it, and someone whose presence I, for one, have always warmed to.


originated by Sam Bottoms
Doesn't speak, a little slower than the other kids. But a nice boy who sweeps the streets.

My Choice:

Dylan Everett

Sonny Crawford

originated by Timothy Bottoms
High school senior who knows he wants out of Anarene -- but where to go? Briefly dates Charlene before starting an affair with Mrs. Popper, and of course he's one of many to try it out with Jacy. Nice guy all around, but still a teen.

My Choice: Hollmann Award Nominee for Best Actor (Super 8)

Joel Courtney
What's he done since Super 8? I don't know, but he is of age, so high time to get going on that amazing career.

Charlene Duggs
originated by Sharon Ullrick
Sonny's first girlfriend.

My Choice:

Liana Liberato
A scene-stealer in If I Stay, where her comic timing and normal-ness made five minutes of that slog bearable.

Jacy Farrow

originated by Cybill Shepherd
The town beauty, dating Duane, but thinks she could and should do better -- maybe with one of the rich kids in the next town? Everyone seems to take a tumble with Jacy, but she doesn't enjoy it as much as she thinks she should.

My Choice:

AnnaSophia Robb
Beautiful, youthful, and a fine actress.

Duane Jackson

originated by Jeff Bridges
Handsome jock, best friend of Sonny, boyfriend of Jacy, but man oh man, he doesn't have anything else to do. Always horny, often cruel -- you know, a teenage boy.

My Choice:

Dylan Minnette
He's been nailing those jock types for a while now, from the innocent spaciness of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day to the cruelty of Let Me In. And here is the great in-between, someone who can hurt, but who isn't a horrible person.

Lester Marlow

originated by Randy Quaid
One of the rich kids from the next town, he invites Jacy over for some skinny-dipping.

My Choice:

Gabriel Basso
There's a natural kind of doofiness to him, and I mean that in the good way.

Next: wrapping up the Casting Coups with the final Best Picture nominee of 1971: Nicholas and Alexandra! And then, of course, my own picks for the best of 1971....

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1 comment:

Okie Twang said...

Interesting point of view. Some films, however, are so perfect that a remake can only emerge as parody, at best. Gus Van Sant's Psycho, anyone? The heart and soul of this film is Sam the Lion, played by that grizzled old John Ford favorite, the pride of Pawhuska, Ben Johnson. No one else could have performed this role so flawlessly.
Side note: When he went on stage to collect his Oscar (for a role he did not like), he said that it couldn't have happened to a nicer feller. Perfect.