The Alamo

Bomb Rating: 

The Alamo is considered the central battle and primary rallying cry in the fight to make Texas an independent republic and, subsequently, a state of the U.S. Like I care. All Texas has ever given the rest of the country is a whole bunch of attitude and one-term presidents with a penchant for foreign wars. It's a state where toxins are good business, Ken Lay is a civic hero and it's legal to stone your own children to death as long you claim that God told you to do it. Fuck the Alamo, and fuck Texas.

"The Alamo" is to historical epics what "The Black Hole" was to science fiction films. It screams "made for TV" louder than most game shows. I actually became disoriented when it wasn't interrupted every seven minutes by deodorant commercials. Though it claims to be historically accurate, we learn little beyond the fact that both the Mexicans and the "Texians" want the Alamo for themselves.

The characters speak like bad writers write. Even when they all die at the end, we're not quite sure who many of them are or why they're important. We are able to pick out Col. Travis (Patrick Wilson), the inexperienced leader who hatches the brilliant strategy of "let's sit here until we all get shot," and Sam Houston (Dennis Quaid), the Texas general who hatches the brilliant of strategy of "let's not reinforce the Alamo so they all get shot." Joining the defenders are living legends Jim Bowie (Jason Patric) and Davy Crockett (Billy Bob Thornton), who eventually (spoiler) get shot.

Mexican general Santa Ana, meanwhile, is portrayed as a two-dimensional oaf blustering his way to his inevitable post-Alamo defeat. His subordinates roll their eyes a lot. He's so cartoonish I expected his comeuppance to consist of the Texans setting his ass on fire and making him run double-time to the river to douse it in a puff of steam.

By the end, many in the audience were in tears, not because they were emotionally affected, but because it was so bad they couldn't stand it anymore. It's the first movie I've ever attended where there was a queue to get out 20 minutes before the credits rolled. If you do go, because you're being punished or a masochist or just a product of the Texas educational system and don't know any better, play this game: Pick a random theatergoer in front of you and watch to see how much time passes before he checks his watch. Do this several times. My observed average: about 40 seconds. If this game gets old, shout out, "Where's the basement?" every time there's a pause in the action. If you're lucky, like I was, you'll get the whole audience to join in.

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