Last Night at the Alamo (1984)

Last Night at the Alamo (1984)

“So, anyway, this is what that son-of-a-bitch did…”

A group of regulars meet at the Alamo bar in Texas on the night before it closes.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Character Studies
  • Get Togethers and Reunions
  • Masculinity

Response to Peary’s Review:
As Peary notes, this unusual little sleeper is “observant, atmospheric, [and] different.” The Alamo’s pathetic barflies — “inconsequential little men” during the day — “have made the bar their personal [nighttime] domain, where they can strut their false machismo and stroke their fragile egos”. Each male character reveals his own worst side during the final night at the Alamo, with the “legendary” Cowboy (Sonny Davis) especially humbled; as Peary notes, this film is indeed a “swift kick in the rear to men who hang around bars bragging about their success with women” when in fact it is the women who ultimately “realize that these men are inadequate.”

Redeeming Qualities:

  • A realistic portrayal of men desperately trying to stroke their own “fragile egos”
  • Lou Perryman as Claude, a blubbering drunk who’s in perpetual trouble with his wife

Must See?
No, but it’s worth seeking out.


One thought on “Last Night at the Alamo (1984)

  1. First viewing. Not a must, ultimately, but it’s easy to understand why it would hold interest as an early indie and/or would have cult appeal due to the Eugene O’Neill-esque allure of its hangdog characters and atmosphere.

    It’s certainly a departure, to say the least, for screenwriter Kim Henkel – taking a decided break from scripts like those for ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ and ‘Eaten Alive’ (!). You almost wouldn’t know this is the same writer, ‘cept that this film also has a certain maniacal je ne sais quoi. And, as in his horror flicks, Henkel is capable of tossing out the occasional zinger: here, we get bell-ringers like (and this is from a female), “It’s always those damn women. If they didn’t have all the pussy, there’d be a bounty on their heads. Isn’t that right, Cowboy?”

    The level of acting here is the very least necessary to pull the material off: it’s not bad, it’s not great, it’s believable. As Cowboy, Sonny Carl Davis has the requisite, charming, ‘aw shucks’ quality to hinge the film on. (It’s curious: the comments implying that, because he doesn’t have a full head of hair under that cowboy hat, he’s somehow less of a man.)

    Essentially this is a one-note show. I wouldn’t call it a waste of time, but where you come in is pretty much where you go out.

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