The Last Picture Show at 50: a melancholic ode to the ghost town

The bleak 1971 drama is an enduring look at a dying small town that finds moments of humanity in among the sadnessAs high-school senior Sonny Crawford (Timothy Bottoms) makes his way through main street in the north Texas town of Anarene in The Last Picture Show, the old-timers pelt him with complaints about his football team’s performance the night before, another in what appears to be a long line of embarrassing drubbings.

The gentlest jab comes from Sam the Lion (Ben Johnson), who owns the few remaining businesses in Anarene and put money on the game, surely for reasons more sentimental than rational.

“A few football teams have had some luck with tackling,” Sam tells Sonny.

“Keeps the other team from scoring too often.”Sonny doesn’t take it to heart.

He’s a multi-sport athlete, probably only because the school doesn’t have enough boys to fill out the rosters.

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