The Last Movie Star (2019) (a film review by Mark R. Leeper)

May 22, 2019 | By | Reply More

CAPSULE: In his day Vic Edwards was the Number One box office action actor on the screen. It is now about 45 years later and age has taken its toll. Vic walks bent over and can hardly get about. When a little-known film society wants to award Vic its Lifetime Achievement Award and pay all expenses, Vic reluctantly agrees to go along. He very soon finds he had good reason to be reluctant. Vic is a sort of copy of the real Burt Reynolds, on whom he is closely based. Vic will rediscover his past, while making peace with the present. Rating: +2 (-4 to +4) or 7/10

Vic (played by Burt Reynolds) was once a major American movie star, the number one box office draw for six years but the film industry is an unforgiving one. Make a bad career choice and the phone stops ringing. Edwards is old, handicapped and very mean-spirited. The Festival and the actor take an immediate dislike for each other. The event, ‘The International Nashville Film Festival’, would need plenty of fixing just to make it as good as slapdash.

The pick-up at the airport is 45 minutes late and his driver is dressed in Goth leather shorts and spends the whole driving time on the telephone. This is Lil (played by Ariel Winter) and she is arguing with her boyfriend, nearly cracking the car up in the process. The festival is mostly hidden away behind a bar and in one single screening room. The attendees are mostly in their teens and twenties. The event is run from behind a bar. Vic is less than happy to find out that Lil is to be his aide this weekend and his driver for the whole festival.

Vic feels disrespected, not so much because the festival is falling apart under him, but because the kids running the festival seem totally clueless that anything at all is going wrong. Finally, he has had enough and has his driver Lil drive him around the state, visiting places that figured in his own life. Vic is uncomfortable in front of people and he does not like that the once virile sex symbol is now bent over and in need of a cane to walk.

Again, this is very parallel to the real Burt Reynolds’ experience. As they travel, Vic can learn from Lil about the modern world from which he had isolated himself. Lil can benefit from Vic’s wisdom gathered over the years.

Because this film is at least in part a tribute to Reynolds’ career, the film provides visual quotes of his better-known films. We will see the Reynolds character fishing with a crossbow as a young virile stud and he is conversing with the very old Burt Reynolds.

This is a very sentimental film about a man who rarely showed the world a sentimental face. I rate it a +2 on the -4 to +4 scale or 7/10.

Mark R. Leeper

© Mark R. Leeper 2019

Category: Films, MEDIA

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