Back in 2009 I was privileged to be in the virtual front row for the restoration on “The Whole Shootin’ Match,” a funny and poignant and raw regional film made in 1978. As I wrote, for MUBI, back in 2009, “The Whole Shootin’ Match" was in a sense the movie that inspired the Sundance Film Festival, but to pigeonhole it as a Sundance movie would be both inaccurate and unfair. “The Whole Shootin’ Match,” shot in Austin, Texas well before “Keep Austin Weird” was the town’s unofficial motto, turned a sympathetic but not uncritical eye on its direction-challenged male characters. As I noted in my piece about the film, the DVD contains a supplement in which Roger Ebert, an admirer of the film, tells its maker, Eagle Pennell, that it’s a movie about alcoholism.
Alcoholism took Pennell’s life in 2002, which robbed America of a truly distinctive filmmaker. While “The Whole Shootin’ Match” is still available via the excellent DVD set put out by Watchmaker in 2009, Pennell’s other feature, “Last Night At The Alamo,” made in 1983, has taken until now to get its own restoration. Done by the same folks who took care of “Shootin’ Match,” it’s having an L.A. premiere at Cinefamily on April 30, 2016. A New York premiere is in the works, and a Blu-ray/DVD package will materialize in 2016. I’ll be writing more about the movie after it hits the Big Apple, in the meantime, here’s a trailer, which kicks off with Roger’s description of the movie: