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Film / Texasville

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Texasville is a 1990 Dramedy directed by Peter Bogdanovich. It's the sequel to his 1971 film The Last Picture Show, reuniting most of that film's cast. It's an adaptation of Larry McMurty's 1987 novel, his literary sequel to The Last Picture Show.

It's 1984. Anarene, Texas is preparing to celebrate its centennial, but the town is much the same as it was in 1952. It's still small, isolated, dependent on the volatile nature of the oil business. And everyone is sleeping with everyone else.

Duane Jackson (Jeff Bridges) is now 50 and owns his own oil drilling company. He lives in a huge house, with a swimming pool, hot tub and two-story backyard doghouse, but is also several million dollars in debt. His marriage to the feisty Karla (Annie Potts) isn't terribly solid. His older children have the same issues with love and sex that Duane and his pals did when they were young. His younger children are prone to mischief. And he's dogged by the usual small town gossip. Even his wife tells him he's suffering from a midlife crisis.


Duane's life is filled with familiar faces from the past. Sonny Crawford (Timothy Bottoms) is now Anarene's mayor and owns the town convenience store, but his mental state isn't completely healthy. Lester Marlow (Randy Quaid) has an even messier life than Duane's. Ruth Popper (Cloris Leachman) is now Duane's bookkeeper and confidant. Genevieve (Eileen Brennan) now works for Sonny but still observes Anarene's foibles with amusement.

But the town gets shaken up when Jacy Farrow (Cybill Shepherd) returns. After having a minor acting career and living in Europe, she's facing her own midlife crisis. It's only a matter of time before Jacy and Duane re-enter each other's lives, but they're much different people than they were when they were 18.

Shot in color instead of The Last Picture Show's Deliberately Monochrome style, it did get some good reviews. But the long passage of time since the first film and a studio that didn't have much confidence in it meant that Texasville didn't do much business and is now overshadowed by its predecessor.


This film provides examples of:

  • Always Identical Twins: Averted. Jack and Julie Jackson are fraternal twins.
  • Call-Back:
    • Not as many explicit ones to The Last Picture Show as you'd expect (though the director's cut apparently had a lot more). Still, there are quite a few, particularly in the case of Sonny, who seems very haunted by the past. He keeps a photo of Sam the Lion and Billy in his convenience store. And since it was filmed in Archer City, Texas, just like the first film, there are many Hey, It's That Place! moments.
    • A subtle musical one. The Last Picture Show had a lot of Hank Williams songs on its soundtrack. At one point here, Hank Williams Jr.'s version of one of the songs included in the first film, "Kaw-Liga", can be heard.
  • Fun T-Shirt: Karla is very fond of these, wearing a different one in almost every scene.
  • Hollywood Midlife Crisis: Duane, Jacy, Sonny and Lester all deal with this in different (not always healthy) degrees, but it's more of a Deconstruction of this trope than anything else, since the main theme is more about making peace with the disappointments in life instead of impulsively trying to change things.
  • Hollywood Old: In contrast to The Last Picture Show, where they were all engaging in Dawson Casting to play teenagers, Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd, Randy Quaid and Timothy Bottoms were all around 40, but were playing characters who were supposed to be turning 50.
  • Lighter and Softer: This film leans much more into the comedy side of the Dramedy equation than The Last Picture Show.
  • Likes Older Women: Duane's son Dickie is having affairs with two older married women.
  • The Missus and the Ex: Since they're both strong-willed women, Duane dreads Karla meeting Jacy. Instead they become fast friends, to his bewilderment.
  • Nothing but Hits / Reality Has No Soundtrack: As in the first film, there's no score, but various period music used diegetically, mostly Country Music (particularly Willie Nelson), but also pop songs by Bruce Springsteen, Madonna and Culture Club.
  • Old Flame:
    • Duane and Jacy, though they decide to keep things platonic.
    • Not quite the same situation, but Ruth has Sonny start living with her after his nervous breakdown.
    • Unexpectedly averted with Jacy and Sonny, who have little contact here, despite having been (very briefly) married in The Last Picture Show.
  • The One Who Made It Out: We learn that Jacy was this, but after some trauma in her life she's decided to revisit Anarene.
  • Out of Focus: Sonny was the protagonist of The Last Picture Show. Here, Duane takes the lead and Sonny is an important secondary character.
  • Put on a Bus: Lois Farrow, Jacy's mother. She wasn't in the novel. Ellen Burstyn turned down the offer to appear in the film (probably because she wasn't interested in playing a woman who would've been in her 70s in the story), and the film implies that Lois is dead now.
  • Quirky Town: Anarene is portrayed much more in this light than in The Last Picture Show.
  • Title Drop: Texasville was Anarene's original name.
  • Trickster Twins: Jack and Julie, Duane's mischievous youngest kids.
  • 20 Minutes into the Past: Made in 1990, set in 1984.
  • Video Credits: Again, in the style of The Last Picture Show.