As a ‘hunk,’ Burt Reynolds was not really my ‘type,’ so perhaps that’s why I was never really interested in him nor his films. I can’t remember much of what I have seen from his filmography – Deliverance, perhaps? Smokey and the Bandit? I liked the idea of ‘The Last Movie Star,’ wherein an aging actor has to confront, acknowledge, ponder what he has done with his. Reynolds here plays Vic Edwards, a Burt Reynolds type character who was once on top, but now is broken: alcoholic, pill-popping, with no new roles in sight. (I am sure if this were toay. this star would probably be doing television, on a Hulu-produced series perhaps) When Edwards gets invited to be honored at Nashville International Film Festival, he accepts and flies there – only to realize it’s really just a small gathering of film buffs at a bar. These first scenes are cringe-worthy. You really feel for the reality of the Edwards character, and Reynolds is great: vulnerable, resigned to the fact of his reality even as he clings on to dignity. Ariel Winters plays his assistant and becomes one of those instantly annoying characters – I wanted to turn her off in each of her scenes, and it doesn’t help that she is shrill and over-acting in her every single moment here. The film takes a sentimental side turn when Edwards visits his Knoxville hometown, and the film stays on this sweet and sentimental path towards the end.
I didn’t hate the film, and even found newfound appreciation for Reynolds. I wished it was better. good enough for him to enjoy a comeback of some sorts but I feel this film will get lost in the shuffle – there’s nothing great bout it even if there’s some good in it.