Bogdanovitch’s eye-level shots lend a flatness to the point of view in the picture that’s perfectly in keeping with its mood and geography. An endless variety of human emotions and an endlessly expanding Texas landscape radiate out from the camera in all directions, yet somehow no one seems able to change anything or go anywhere. The compare/contrast film for a double-bill would have to be American Graffiti, another rueful picture about the end of innocence and high school, but a very different one. If American Graffiti were left out to bleach and crack in the Texas sun for a hundred years, you’d get something like The Last Picture Show, perhaps. In Lucas’s film, the characters move through an Oddysean geography of episodic adventures; in Bogdanovich’s the characters are stranded forever on Circe’s island. In Lucas’s film, all the characters tremble with anticipation and anxiety about the possibilities of the future; in Bogdanovich’s, the characters are forced to confront the fact that they already know full well what the future holds. Put more succinctly: American Graffiti is about desperately wanting to get laid for the first time; The Last Picture Show is about the day after you get laid for the first time.