5 best movies that take place in Texas
Through the 20th century and well into the 21st, westerns proves time and time again to be one of the most entertaining and exciting genres around. From the gunslingers of the Golden Age depicted fighting outlaws in 19th-century black-and-white ghost towns to the modern neo-westerns that come from Taylor Sheridan and the Coen brothers, there’s really nothing like a well-made western. Naturally, one of the key places for a western is the great state of Texas. Located about as far west as one can go in the contiguous United States — part of its westernmost border actually serves as a line between the US and Mexico — Texas is an integral part of all kinds of American films. Some manage to truly transcend their location, remaining some of the most impressive films to come out of the US in recent years.
No Country For Old Men
Based on the Cormac McCarthy novel of the same name, No Country For Old Men is not only the best Coen brothers movie but also the best movie to take place in Texas in recent memory. With Josh Brolin and Javier Bardem giving the best performances of their careers and supporting actors like Woody Harrelson and Tommy Lee Jones doing a great job as well, the movie remains memorable for countless reasons. More than anything, No Country For Old Men is a glorious send-up of Texas.
Hell or High Water
Like No Country For Old Men, Hell or High Water paints a modern-day western set amongst some of Texas’s most beautiful landscapes. Starring Chris Pine and Jeff Bridges and written by Taylor Sheridan, the movie follows two brothers who rob banks to save their family farm (all while evading the authorities as best they can). It’s one of the best movies set in the state, and easily the strongest since No Country For Old Men.
The only movie Talking Heads frontman David Byrne ever wrote and directed, True Stories is a loving and heartfelt letter to the people of Texas and the music that comes out of the state. Reminding viewers of other such films as Napoleon Dynamite, the movie features normal people leading such normal lives it almost seems surreal. It’s not hateful, it’s not judgmental, it’s purely and simply as small-town Texas as can be.
The first film ever made by the Coen brothers, Blood Simple stars Frances McDormand and singlehandedly reinvigorated interest in the noir genre. It’s one of the most significant neo-noirs to come out of the genre, and it’s one of the best movies of the back half of the 20th century to be set in Texas. The Coens have set plenty of films in the state since (including No Country For Old Men), but few are so sublime as Blood Simple.
A character study about a quiet drifter played by Harry Dean Stanton, Paris, Texas is German director Wim Wenders’s love letter to the country on the other side of the ocean and the state that so easily epitomizes many of the things that make America America. It’s all about masculinity and the American family, so it only makes sense for it to take place in Texas.
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