Saturday, March 07, 2009

Horton Foote, R.I.P.

Horton Foote died this week. Foote's Tender Mercies is one of my favorite films of all time and I try to watch it every couple of years. In a cynical world it is a testament to the goodness of people and Robert Duvall is simply amazing as the alcoholic Mac Sledge, trying to turn his life around with the help of a good woman and her son.

In fact the Los Angeles Times ran a story today entitled Comfort films to warm recession's chill, about "movies you've seen so many times you can whisper the lines along with the actors, the images nearly as familiar as the faces of your friends." Two of the ten films were written by Horton Foote. Tender Mercies and To Kill A Mockingbird, for which Foote wrote the screenplay. Foote won Academy Awards for both films.

I love the scene the Times selects from Tender Mercies:

"Hey mister, were you really Mac Sledge?" a woman asks after spotting Duvall's character on a dusty small-town street. With barely a glance in her direction, he breaks into a wry smile and settles the cowboy hat a little lower on his head, "Yes ma'am, I guess I was."
Foote's immense talent made you feel you were in the small Southern towns these films depict.

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