A couple days ago, I was given the wonderful opportunity of seeing a screening of Last Night in the Alamo (1983) that was directed by Eagle Pennell. It was “restored” by Louis Black and he was the co-creator of SXSW. He introduced the film and did a Q&A after the film concluded. Pennell was a Texas filmmaker and the film is set in Houston, Texas. The film is about a few patrons at a bar during the last night before it is closed for good. Each character has their own personalities and mannerisms without seeming fake or mousy. It’s interesting to see how this film influenced other films just by having fully realized characters that people can relate to.
I thoroughly enjoyed the film. It was loud, brash, and unapologetic. It’s impressive that for a film that is set in Houston to so accurately depicted what it was like. The characters were fully formed and had interesting motivations. Some just wanted to relax, others were trying to be impressive, and some were just trying to drink their pain away. The film felt like it was in bar and never tried to go over the top for a joke that had no real punchline. My favorite character was Ichabon (played by Steven Matilla) who curses constantly and doesn’t care what others think about him to an extreme level. He’s a constant drunk and antagonizes Mary (Tina-Bess Hubbard) to no end. Despite his personality, he’s relatively thoughtful in his drunken self and keeps the tone lighthearted.
My favorite interaction probably comes from the girl next door and Cowboy (Sonny-Carl Davis). He goes over to her place without knocking or anything and thinks that he can objectify her. She denies and gives a great monologue that is 20-30 years before its time. I was thoroughly impressed with the deep messages that were being explored despite being an over-the-top comedy. It showed heart and was endearing in its own kind of way.
Overall, I really enjoyed this film. It won’t be out on DVD until the end of the year. But when it does come out, I would highly recommend it to everyone.