August 7th, 2007
Directed in black and white by Peter Bogdanovich, starring a young Cybill Shepherd, Randy Quaid, Jeff Bridges, and Timothy Bottoms. (And I just found out that Billy, the kid who sweeps the streets of the little Texas town, is Bottoms’ younger brother Sam Bottoms.)
This coming-of-age story, made in the early 70s but set in the early 50s, is based on a novel by Larry McMurtry (Lonesome Dove). The world is changing, in Texas and everywhere else; cowboys are working as roughnecks in the oil fields, TV is shutting down the movie theatres, Sam the Lion is losing his moral authority, and young Billy is endlessly sweeping, like Sisyphus rolling his boulder up the hill.
Beyond its mythic and sociological overtones, this movie is a finely detailed character study of young people searching for their bearings in a changing world. It is one of the greats of American cinema.
I like to watch it every ten years or so. I find I like it more each time. I recommend it highly.