THE LAST PICTURE SHOW Men behaving badly, women acting brilliantly.
  • THE LAST PICTURE SHOW Men behaving badly, women acting brilliantly.

Running at SIFF Cinema Uptown from November 9–11, the "Men Behaving Badly" mini-fest involves a quartet of beloved '70s films, each presented on a freshly restored digital print and "featuring troubled men dealing with tumultuous circumstances as best they can," says SIFF. It's a nice wide net, capable of snagging virtually every movie ever made, from Birth of a Nation to The Dark Knight Rises, and SIFF has narrowed it down to a good, strong, aesthetically harmonious four.

Five Easy Pieces (1970)
Bob Rafaelson directs Jack Nicholson to one of his best performances in this spare, gritty, and wry drama about a prodigal son of privilege chasing vague romance as an oil worker before being called home for a reckoning with his dying father. What you'll remember most: the great supporting performance by the late Karen Black, who creates a weird '70s sexpot like no other.

The Last Picture Show (1971)
A poetic black-and-white portrait of 1950s Texas idleness set to a Hank Williams soundtrack, Peter Bogdanovich's The Last Picture Show remains a miracle of American filmmaking. Not only does it improve upon its source material (Larry McMurtry's acclaimed novel), the film draws career-best performances from every member of its vast cast. While the men (Jeff Bridges, Timothy Bottoms, Ben Johnson) behave badly, the women act brilliantly; it's hard to think of another film so dense with rich female performances. Cloris Leachman, Ellen Burstyn, Cybill Shepard, and the late, great Eileen Brennan all do work that will take your breath away. If you've never seen The Last Picture Show, you must.

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