Last night, Ray and I had a Peter Bogdanovich movie night to commemorate his death on January 6th of this year. First, we watch the 2018 documentary he directed on Buster Keaton called The Great Buster, which won the Venice Film Festival, and we followed that by re-watching (maybe my fourth or fifth time) The Last Picture Show, which is based on Larry McMurtry’s 1966 novel.
The Great Buster: A Celebration was a wonderful documentary that highlighted Buster Keaton’s amazing talent. I had no idea of the excellence of the many early silent films that he had made or the many aspects of his long and, at times, heartbreaking career. But the documentary emphasized Keaton’s ability to keep moving forward and remain resilient despite unexpected setbacks. It also featured a whole host of comedians and directors who described how they have been deeply influenced by Keaton’s genius. I was very happy to learn more about Buster Keaton’s life and legacy, which I found inspiring.
The movie The Last Picture Show remains one of my all-time favorites. Having come from a small Texas town myself, many of the characters felt quite familiar. McMurtry and Bogdanovich collaborated on the screenplay and did a fine job of capturing the people and the tone of this dying West Texas oil-town. The movie was nominated for eight academy awards, including Best Picture, Best Director for Bogdanovich, Best Supporting Actress for Ellen Burstyn and Cloris Leachman, and Best Supporting Actor for Jeff Bridges and Ben Johnson. Cloris Leachman and Ben Johnson both won Oscars for their performances.
Ray and I really enjoyed our evening. Both the documentary and the film were excellent and demonstrated Peter Bogdanovich’s ability to tell a superlative story. May he rest in peace.
I have included the trailers for both in case you want to give them a look-see.
Happy Saturday and I’ll be checking back in with you again tomorrow.