Last Picture Show



Last Picture Show This Is One Of McMurtry S Most Memorable Novels The Basis For The Film Of The Same Name Set In A Small, Dusty Texas Town, It Introduces Jacy, Duane And Sonny, Teenagers Stumbling Towards Adulthood, Discovering The Beguiling Mysteries Of Sex And The Evenbaffling Mysteries Of Love

10 thoughts on “Last Picture Show

  1. says:

    An American idyll infused with sex adolescent as well as much adult longing I adored every single page of this fast moving, microsociety under a lens type story which depicts the sexual and schoolboy escapades of two friends in a small Texas town This is the last time things will be like this, therefore the adjective Last in the title It is exquisite very fun to get through Anecdotal power at its height, Larry McMurtry should ve won the Pulitzer Prize for this one, perhapsso th An American idyll infused with sex adolescent as well as much adult longing I adored every single page of this fast moving, microsociety under a lens type story which depicts the sexual and schoolboy escapades of two friends in a small Texas town This is the last time things will be like this, therefore the adjective Last in the title It is exquisite very fun to get through Anecdotal power at its height, Larry McMurtry should ve won the Pulitzer Prize for this one, perhapsso than for his behemoth Lonesome Dove gasp This is what s great about America, not a Rockwell portrait, not a ride down the Mississippi with Huck This is on the cusp of modernity, at the stirrings of current globalization The Story of the Death of The Small American Town

  2. says:

    The moment when The Last Picture Show became one of my favorite books occurs on page 75 Larry McMurtry describes an orange bulb glowing over the back seat of a school bus and the amorous activities of the two seniors sitting underneath it, but as he does through much of his sometimes poignant, sometimes flagrant, ultimately magnificent coming of age novel published in 1966, the state of being a teenager in the northern plains of Texas of the early 1950s is what McMurtry is writing about In any The moment when The Last Picture Show became one of my favorite books occurs on page 75 Larry McMurtry describes an orange bulb glowing over the back seat of a school bus and the amorous activities of the two seniors sitting underneath it, but as he does through much of his sometimes poignant, sometimes flagrant, ultimately magnificent coming of age novel published in 1966, the state of being a teenager in the northern plains of Texas of the early 1950s is what McMurtry is writing about In any other place or time, the orange bulb would be inconsequential, but McMurtry shows me why it is so muchLike the bulb, he partially illuminates an entire world.The novel focuses on Sonny Crawford, a soft spoken high school senior in the town of Thalia, where you ll find one street Main with any businesses on it Three of them the pool hall, the diner and the picture show are owned by Sam the Lion, a stoic old bachelor who for lack of a family looks after the boys who have none to speak of This includes a mute bastard named Billy abandoned as a child in front of the movie theater, but also Sonny and his best friend Duane Jackson, an All Conference fullback who roughnecks with a local drilling crew and lives in the boarding house with Sonny, who makes a living driving a butane truck for Fartley Butane and Propane.Sonny and Duane share a 41 Chevy pickup between them and rotate when Sonny can use the cab to court a smug sopho, or Duane needs it to neck with his girlfriend Jacy Farrow, whose father got rich in the oil patch and is regarded as the prettiest girl in town Duane dreams of the day he and Jacy will be married and can perform conjugal activities together, unaware that his girl views him as a distraction from boredom and a tool against her mother Lois, the fiercest woman in town Lois idea of a suitable boy is Lester Marlow, a citified geek who succeeds in luring Jacy away from a dance at the American Legion Hall to a pool party in Wichita Falls, where the rich kids attend naked Jacy and Lester had not been gone from the dance ten minutes before word got around that they were going to a swimming party where everyone would be naked The reason word got around so fast was that Lester told several of the younger kids about it just before he left He told them he and Jacy were going to swim naked, just like everybody else It was almost past belief, but when the kids saw him actually drive away with Jacy they instantly believed it and began to talk about it Nothing wilder had ever been heard of in Thalia it was even wilder than actually making out, because that was customarily done in the dark and nothing much could be seen.In no time there were groups of excited boys standing around, speculating about the look of Jacy s breasts They even had a hot argument over whether or not blond girls really had blond hair underneath their panties Some of the younger, illiterate kids thought that all women had black hair in that particular place, but the better read youths convinced them otherwise by reference to the panty dropping scene in I the Jury,a book the local drugstore could never keep in stock.While Duane experiences the ups and downs of dating a local celebrity, Sonny finds himself without a girl to court The only other woman in Thalia he lusts in any way after is Genevieve, a punchy waitress pulling down all night shifts at the diner while her roughneck husband recuperates from an injury That changes when Coach Popper offers to get Sonny out of his afternoon classes if he ll drive the coach s wife Ruth to a doctor s appointment in Olney As delicate as a mouse and almost as rarely seen, Ruth finds companionship she desperately needs in Sonny while the boys finds something he desperately needs alone with Ruth Meanwhile, Jacy begins sneaking away from Duane to cavort with the senior nudists in Wichita Falls every chance she gets She determines to make their host Bobby Sheen fall in love with her and comes close one late night, until Bobby discovers Jacy is a virgin Determined to give her backward and country image a makeover, Jacy determines to lose her virginity to Duane on the senior trip to San Francisco The only kink in her strategy is Duane, who might not agree to the breakup so easily Jacy considers becomingfriendly with Sonny and using him to make Duane jealous When she learns about Sonny and Ruth Popper, Jacy determines to put that romance on ice.Duane is so sick of Thalia he proposes to Sonny that they take off With donations from Genevieve and Sam the Lion, the boys drive the furthest they ve ever been away from home, to Matamoros, but their adventure south of the border bringssorrow than it does excitement Following the senior trip, Jacy activates her battle plan against both Duane and Sonny, but she too discovers that rather than feel empowered by sex, she seems lonelier than ever view spoiler Sam the Lion dies from a massive stroke at the poolhall hide spoiler and while Sonny and Billy inherit the poolhall, the picture is ultimately forced to turn out the lights for good The changes confuse Billy a great deal All through October, then through November, Billy missed the show Sonny didn t know what to do about it, but it was a bad time in general and he didn t know what to do about himself either He had taken another lease to pump He wanted to work harder and tire himself out, so he wouldn t have to lie awake at night and feel alone Nothing much was happening, and he didn t think much was going to One day he went to Wichita and bought a television set, thinking it might help Billy, but it didn t at all Billy would watch it as long as Sonny was around, but the minute Sonny left he left too He kept going over to the picture show night after night, norther or no norther he sat on the sidewalk and waited, cold and puzzled He knew it would open sooner or later, and Sonny couldn t think of no way to make him understand that it wouldn t.I don t recall high school being nearly as dramatic as portrayed here, while the amount of sex in a time when pregnancy wasdifficult to prevent and cast a much greater social stigma strains some credulity in the novel That said, McMurtry s facility with shaping characters, capturing the landscape of Texas and preserving a certain amount of wit, no matter how tragically some of the events develop is virtuoso The rose is plain, mostly, only surface thick, like a Young Adult novel The emotional range of the story is deep Loneliness lurks in the background, always, even during the hijinks which McMurtry dives the reader into from a very high and dazzling platform After civics there was a study hall, and then lunch, a boring time One year Duane and Jacy had been able to sneak off to the lake and court during lunch, but it was only because Lois Farrow was drinking unusually hard that year and wasn t watching her daughter too closely Lois was the only woman in Thalia who drank and made no bones about it That same year Gene Farrow gave a big barbecue out at a little ranch he owned, and all his employees were invited Duane was roughnecking for Gene then and took Sonny along on his invitation Lois was there in a low necked yellow dress, drinking whiskey as fast as most of the roughnecks drank beer She was also shooting craps with anyone who cared to shoot with her That was the day that Abilene won over a thousand dollars shooting craps, six hundred of it from Lois and the other four hundred from Lester Marlow, who was Jacy s official date Lois thought Abilene cheated her and wanted Gene to fire him on the spot, but Gene wouldn t She cussed them both out, got in her Cadillac, and started for town, but the steering wheel got away from her as the Cadillac was speeding up and she smashed into a mesquite tree Lois just got out, gave everybody a hard look, and started to town on foot Nobody stopped her Gene Farrow got drunk and Abilene kept gambling While he was rolling dice with Lester, Duane took Jacy over behind some cars and in the excitement got her brassiere off Sonny himself won 27 in a blackjack game, and he was not even an employee That night somebody busted Lois lip and blacked her eye some thought Gene Farrow did it but others claimed it was Abilene He had known the Farrows before they were rich, and he wasn t a man to put up with much name calling, and nobody but Lois would have had the guts to call him names in the first place if there was anything in the world she was scared of nobody knew what it was She was a tall, rangy blonde, still almost as slim as her daughter, and she was not in the habit of walking around anyone.Larry McMurtry, who lovingly dedicates the book to his hometown, never gets caught writing characters He documents them The Last Picture Show alternated me between wanting to spend time in Thalia with these souls, and help them escape The book received one of the finest film adaptations ever, in 1971 Adapted by McMurtry and Peter Bogdanovich, directed Bogdanovich and filmed in black white, Timothy Bottoms was cast as Sonny, Jeff Bridges as Duane, Cybil Shepherd as Jacy, Cloris Leachman as Ruth, Eileen Brennan as Genevieve, Ellen Burstyn as Lois Farrow and Ben Johnson as Sam the Lion Leachman and Johnson both won Academy Awards

  3. says:

    Well, this ain t no Lonesome Dove Yes, it s penned by the same author, and it s set in Texas, but that s basically where the similarities begin and end The grand, expansive romanticism in LD is nowhere to be found here Neither is the hope for a better life, or struggle against punishing weather systems The only element that the characters here are fighting against is loneliness.It s so bleak, it s so dead, the life in this small Texan town It s so empty It s so limited Monotonous Rinse a Well, this ain t no Lonesome Dove Yes, it s penned by the same author, and it s set in Texas, but that s basically where the similarities begin and end The grand, expansive romanticism in LD is nowhere to be found here Neither is the hope for a better life, or struggle against punishing weather systems The only element that the characters here are fighting against is loneliness.It s so bleak, it s so dead, the life in this small Texan town It s so empty It s so limited Monotonous Rinse and repeat.Funnily enough, I loved that Or, rather, it broke my heart, but it resonated a deep truth for me I imagine John Updike probably loved this book especially the bedroom scenes between Ruth and Herman Popper Or any scene featuring the incredibly jaded, promiscuous Lois, drinking from her flask.Everyone in this book is reaching for temporary relief from heartache and invisibility through sex There s a TON of sex in this book, some with prostitutes, much of it teenage, some of it middle age And some of it teenage AND middle age.It s a near perfect book I think this would have completely had me, like completely, had it not been for that scene If you ve read it, you know what I m talking about If you haven t, well, let s call it the bovine rape scene in which a gaggle of teenagers wrestle down a blind heifer and fuck her So sorry I spoiled it for you And McMurtry spoiled the book a bit for me too, by including this lovely bit of bestiality I m not that easy to shock, and I don t think I m naive, but I had a really tough time believing a whole bunch of boys would think this is a great idea And two of them being main characters well, it made me care a lot less about their fates or feelings knowing this is their idea of fun and not just once, this wasn t their first rodeo, folks Do I sympathize with people who sodomize animals with their friends Hm, not particularly In fact, I didn t care a lot about the teenagers here In addition to the moo love, the pretty 16 year old Jacey was shallower than a toddler s wading pool Instead, my heart went out to the older characters, the mothers, the wives, who had barely managed to get to their 40s without committing suicide Their despair is real Their need to connect, even if temporarily, is tremendously poignant Their disappointment so far reaching vaster even than the desert landscape traversed by the cowboys of Lonesome Dove

  4. says:

    Sonny, Duane, and Jacy come of age in a dusty Texas town What will happen to them once they graduate high school I snagged this for the princely sum of 1.99 on the Kindle It was worth every penny.As I said in the teaser, The Last Picture Show is a coming of age tale, a tale of what happens to people as they get older and drift apart While I never read it before, it fit like a favorite t shirt.Larry McMurty paints a vivid picture of small town life as Sonny and the rest graduate high school a Sonny, Duane, and Jacy come of age in a dusty Texas town What will happen to them once they graduate high school I snagged this for the princely sum of 1.99 on the Kindle It was worth every penny.As I said in the teaser, The Last Picture Show is a coming of age tale, a tale of what happens to people as they get older and drift apart While I never read it before, it fit like a favorite t shirt.Larry McMurty paints a vivid picture of small town life as Sonny and the rest graduate high school and struggle to find their places in the world Duane wants to marry Jacy Jacy wants to do something that will get the town talking And Sonny wants Duane s girl Nothing really goes the way anyone planned Just like real life.I thought the three main characters were very realistic depictions of teenagers, not just some middle age guy s faded memories of what high school was like, and likeable, despite their character flaws Sonny, in particular, was kind of a walking train wreck but I wound up caring about him anyway By the end of the book, I was feeling almost as lonesome as he was While all of the characters did some questionable things, everything rang true.McMurtry s writing has the same bullshitting on the front porch feel Joe Lansdale s does and I have to think he was an influence on Lansdale on some level The Last Picture Show feels a lot like the coming of age stories Lansdale has been writing the last twenty years or so, only with less cursing.There were tons of quotable lines All three main characters said stupid things that were a lot like things I would have said back in the day.If you re looking for a book about friendship, love, finding your place in the world, and a bunch of high school seniors trying to have drunken sex with a heifer, look no farther 4.5 out of 5 stars

  5. says:

    After Lonesome Dove, I wanted to see what McMurtry s writing was like when he wasn t invoking the Great West The novel dedicated to the small Texas town where he grew up,The Last Picture Show, is a rather bleak look at life in the 50s Sonny is in high school with his best friend Duane and still a virgin In fact, the entire book is about the discovery of sex of most of the primary characters I was a bit taken back by the casual mention of sex with farm animals that was engaged by both Sonny a After Lonesome Dove, I wanted to see what McMurtry s writing was like when he wasn t invoking the Great West The novel dedicated to the small Texas town where he grew up,The Last Picture Show, is a rather bleak look at life in the 50s Sonny is in high school with his best friend Duane and still a virgin In fact, the entire book is about the discovery of sex of most of the primary characters I was a bit taken back by the casual mention of sex with farm animals that was engaged by both Sonny and Duane and their friends I guess things were downhill from the Lonesome Dove world where this was rare and frowned upon I have no idea whether this was is so prevalent, but then, having lived in Texas and traveled around it some, I suppose it is believable they did elect Ted Cruz after all to the Senate The primary tension is around Sonny s listlessness, his affair with the wife of the high school sports coach, the ill fated relationship between Duane and the beautiful Jacey, Jacey and her willful sexpot mother Loris, and others in the community The writing is ok, but the bleakness got a bit depressing As Loris explains to Jacey while encouraging her to sleep with Duane much to Jacey s surprise , Things happen the same way over and over again I think it smonotonous in this part of the country than it is in other placesEverything gets old if you do it often enough I don t particularly care who you marry, but if you want to find out about monotony real quick just marry Duane p 49 This matter of fact talking is particular to Loris but speaks volumes about sexual attitudes marry being a euphemism for sex throughout and just feels so sad and helpless Expressed differently to Sonny by Ruth, his 40yo lover, Loneliness is like ice After you ve been lonely enough you don t even realize you re cold but you are It s like I was a refrigerator that had never been defrosted at all never p 126 The book was an ok read but falls far short of the beauty and vision of Lonesome Dove I also felt that the characters, as well drawn as they were, still lacked a bit of depth in many places particularly Duane and the coach and the book left me wanting and feeling sad.The book is the first of McMurtry s Thalia series of five books I did not develop enough sympathy for either Sonny or Duane to continue along these dusty, dreary north Texas landscapes to continue I will finish the Lonesome Dove books and maybe give the Houston series, in particular Terms of Endearment a chance, though

  6. says:

    Best read of the year so far This, ladies and gentlemen, is what I call a real page turner I couldn t turn them quickly enough and although this was a very down to earth story always my favourite kind I was literally over the moon with it Bleak and dark oh, so bleak with a sprinkling of brilliant and intelligent humour, this was a totally unforgettable story full of equally unforgettable characters As much as I loved Lonesome Dove and was truly impressed with McMurtry s powerful story Best read of the year so far This, ladies and gentlemen, is what I call a real page turner I couldn t turn them quickly enough and although this was a very down to earth story always my favourite kind I was literally over the moon with it Bleak and dark oh, so bleak with a sprinkling of brilliant and intelligent humour, this was a totally unforgettable story full of equally unforgettable characters As much as I loved Lonesome Dove and was truly impressed with McMurtry s powerful storytelling skills I wasn t expecting to love this novel as much as I did WOW Let me try and explainclearly why I think this is a great novel By now, most of you, friends, who ve been following my reviews know I m from a tiny little village in the southwest of Portugal What you don t know is how small that small little village actually is, so I m going to tell you now so we all can be sure that I know perfectly well what I m talking about We re talking about a place with 500 inhabitants in the 1980 s Yes, you read it correctly, 500 people living in the middle of nowhere Some didn t even have a TV at the time Can you imagine it Maybe you can t and maybe you never will, but I do as I ve been there That s where I learned most of what I know now and lived my teenage years In that small little village I learned that we re all made of the same material and we all want the same things in life Love and understanding Love and companionship And sex, obviously McMurtry has also been in that same little place He knows how it feels He wouldn t be able to tell a story like this just by using his imagination I know he also felt it in his skin and bones I know he also felt like he had all the time in the world to observe people in the same way one would look at a goldfish swimming around and around all day in its bowl Hell, I know some people there better than I know myself and I m sure some of them feel the same way about me Even McMurtry, so far away in Texas, knows me well Oh, so well

  7. says:

    The only really important thing that I came in to tell you was that life is very monotonous Things happen the same way over and over again I think it smonotonous in this part of the country than it is other places, but I don t really know that it may be monotonous everywhere I m sick of it myself Everything gets old if you do it often enough Set during the early 1950s in the small Texas town of Thalia, the story revolves around Sonny, an independent high school senior who plays fooThe only really important thing that I came in to tell you was that life is very monotonous Things happen the same way over and over again I think it smonotonous in this part of the country than it is other places, but I don t really know that it may be monotonous everywhere I m sick of it myself Everything gets old if you do it often enough Set during the early 1950s in the small Texas town of Thalia, the story revolves around Sonny, an independent high school senior who plays football, hangs out at the pool hall and goes to the movies at the town s only theater Sonny s best friend Duane is dating Jacy, the local rich girl, and Sonny harbors his own secret and guilty crush on her As their last year of school plays out, Sonny is often disinterested and bored with the predictable routines of the people he s known his whole life, but he begins to learn that many of them have depths he never suspected.McMurtry does an excellent job of immersing the reader in the kind of ennui that can come with living in a small town where it seems that nothing ever happens, and the occasional shocking event is smoothed over by the soothing blanket of the mundane Even the smarter characters like Jacy s mother Lois and Sam, the owner of the pool hall, seem to have piled up the weight of their regrets to the point where they are unable to break free of the lack of inertia that keeps them all rooted in Thalia.This is a terrific short novel and one of my favorite McMurtry s However, this reread has presented me with a dilemma I ve read the sequel Texasville before, but it s been a while and I think I generally liked it I didn t realize that there are threebooks after that I m tempted to read them all, but McMurtry has burned me before with the sub par sequels and prequels to the excellent Lonesome Dove I m on the fence as to whether I should give them a chance or not

  8. says:

    Thalia is a decaying, dusty Texas town in with little to offer teenagers Sonny, Duane, and Jacy They are looking for love, experimenting with sex, drinking booze, and wantingthan the town of Thalia can give them This coming of age novel, set in the 1950s, is populated with eccentric small town characters that hang out at the poolhall, the all night cafe, and the picture show When the theater closes, it s onereason to want to escape this dying town Larry McMurtry does add some hum Thalia is a decaying, dusty Texas town in with little to offer teenagers Sonny, Duane, and Jacy They are looking for love, experimenting with sex, drinking booze, and wantingthan the town of Thalia can give them This coming of age novel, set in the 1950s, is populated with eccentric small town characters that hang out at the poolhall, the all night cafe, and the picture show When the theater closes, it s onereason to want to escape this dying town Larry McMurtry does add some humor as he writes a good portrayal of lonely, unfulfilled people in this fading rural area

  9. says:

    Unlike some period pieces set in the 50 s or 60 s, this book comes across as totally honest and authentic THE LAST PICTURE SHOW is full of real characters living out the highs and lows in a small Texas town I loved this book, and the film version was well done too.

  10. says:

    I cannot understand how this book has received such high ratings It was only the second book I have ever been unable to finish due to pure distaste for it It s described as a coming of age story, but all I picked up on was that this is a fucked up town full of fucked up people For instance Duane and Jacy The star couple of the high school Jacy s family is rich, Duane is poor Jacy s parents don t like Duane, blah blah blah Typical storyline for a rich girl and a poor boy Jacy is thin I cannot understand how this book has received such high ratings It was only the second book I have ever been unable to finish due to pure distaste for it It s described as a coming of age story, but all I picked up on was that this is a fucked up town full of fucked up people For instance Duane and Jacy The star couple of the high school Jacy s family is rich, Duane is poor Jacy s parents don t like Duane, blah blah blah Typical storyline for a rich girl and a poor boy Jacy is thinking of going all the way with Duane, even though they won t be married until after school Blah blah blah, right Well, at first, I was rooting for Duane, the poor kid who landed the rich girl who doesn t care that he s poor Then, one night Jacy goes to a party with the rich kids Duane is pissed off and he and his friends get drunk, and decide to do the most normal thing on that Friday night chase down the blind cow on someon e farm and have sex with it That s right, a bunch of teenage boys and one cow I m pretty sure the term cow orgy was used by the author So, how can I go on rooting for Duane to have sex with Jacy when he has put his dick in a cow Forget that This ins t the only thing I read in the book that grossed me out, but I won t go into the rest of it.All I can say is that I can t enjoy a book if I don t identify with or at least partially like a character At least ONE character Almost all the people in this book are fucked up This isn t a painting of small town life This is a book about a car crash in the form of words If I can save at least one person from reading this book, my job is done

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