'Texasville' is last picture show to see


CYBILL SHEPHERD says it best in "Texasville" when she says, "This is a good town to get depressed in." She's not talking about the title metropolis, but the description holds. This is not only a depressing town, this is a depressing movie.

It's the sequel to the 1972 "Last Picture Show," which some think is one of the best films made in the '70s. No one is likely to think the sequel is one of the best films of the '90s. It may be one of the longest, one of the most pointless, but it is certainly not one of the best.

It runs some two hours and should run much less. It begins very slowly and never picks up the pace.

Some of the people who were in the original film are in the sequel. One is Jeff Bridges, who continues as Duane, now in his late 40s. Bridges looks good for a man pushing 50, but he overdoes it with the gut and the shortness of breath. He acts, sometimes, like a man in his 70s.

Shepherd, who was also in the original film as Jacy Farrow, reappears as the same character. She's been living in Italy where she had pursued a film career. Her son died there, in an accident, and she is still mourning the boy, which is understandable. What isn't understandable are the mores of this town. At first, it seems a parody of "Twin Peaks," the people, trashy.

Is director Peter Bogdanovich kidding? Well, no, he's not. He wants us to take these people as they are, but that's asking too much. Duane cats around. So does his son, who has impregnated several women in the town, one of whom is married.

That doesn't seem to bother anybody, including the women and their husbands. What the heck.

Duane's younger kids are a caution. They talk dirty and fight with each other constantly. All this is probably supposed to be funny, but few parents will take it as such.

Annie Potts plays Duane's wife. Potts is playing the same role she does on "Designing Women," but she does it so well, we can't fault her for it.

Timothy Bottoms continues as Sonny, who had an affair with the older Ruth Popper (Cloris Leachman) in the first film. Thirty-two years later, he seems to be suffering from advanced senility. Most of the time, he talks about seeing movies in the sky. Let's hope they are more entertaining than this one.

"Texasville" does touch the heart for a moment or two, shortly before the film ends, but that's a long time to wait. The only person who manages to evoke any kind of sympathy for the character he plays is Bridges.

The silliest scene of all (and there are any number of them in the film) may be the one in which Shepherd and Bridges play Adam and Eve in a centennial parade.

"Texasville" is showing at local theaters. Bogdanovich, who did the first film, may have waited too long to do his sequel. Larry McMurtry did the book on which the sequel is based. He also did the original novel. Bogdanovich did the script for the new film. Most of the blame rests with him. If there was no movie here, he shouldn't have bothered.


* The characters in "The Last Picture Show," 32 years later.

CAST: Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd, Annie Potts, Timothy Bottoms, Cloris Leachman, Randy Quaid, Eileen Brennan

DIRECTOR: Peter Bogdanovich

RATING: R (language, sex)

RUNNING TIME: 123 minutes

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