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SXSW Premiere: Duvall Stars in 'A Night in Old Mexico'

Thompson on Hollywood By Joe Leydon | Thompson on Hollywood March 11, 2014 at 12:35AM

I'm really, really glad I liked "A Night in Old Mexico," the engaging comedy-drama that had its North American premiere Monday at SXSW. And not just because the picture -- a Tex-Mex-flavored shaggy-dog story with a touch of Elmore Leonard to its twisty plot -- is a worthy star vehicle for the great Robert Duvall.
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Robert Duvall in 'A Night in Old Mexico'
Robert Duvall in 'A Night in Old Mexico'

I'm really, really glad I liked "A Night in Old Mexico," the engaging comedy-drama that had its North American premiere Monday at SXSW. And not just because the picture -- a Tex-Mex-flavored shaggy-dog story with a touch of Elmore Leonard to its twisty plot -- is a worthy star vehicle for the great Robert Duvall. Another good reason for my being happy: I was committed to doing an interview with Duvall for Cowboys & Indians magazine during the festival.

Granted, I chatted with the Oscar-winning screen icon a day before my Variety review appeared on line, at a time when, theoretically, he would not have known what I thought about his movie. And maybe, had I not found it up to snuff, I could have lied if he'd asked me point blank for my appraisal.

But here's the thing: I don't think it's possible to lie to this guy. As I have noted during previous encounters: He looks you right in the eye, and expects you to tell him the truth. And so you do. And if I had disliked "A Night in Old Mexico" -- that would have made for a very awkward interview. Indeed, I probably would have wimped out and called in sick or something. Look, it was very cold and rainy here in Austin last Saturday evening. I'm pretty sure I could have pulled it off if I'd picked up the phone Sunday morning and, while faking a coughing jag, told the publicist: "Gosh, I'm sorry, but I sure don't want Mr. Duvall to catch what I have..."

More at the Moving Picture Blog.

This article is related to: Robert Duvall, SXSW, South By Southwest Film Conference and Festival (SXSW), Festivals


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.