Picks and Pans Review: The Good Old Boys

updated 03/06/1995 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/06/1995 01:00AM

TNT (Sun., March 5, 8 p.m. ET)

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You sure ain't no Valentine, Hewey," says a rich landowner (Wilford Brimley) to a weather-beaten cowboy (Tommy Lee Jones) who has just come home after wandering up in the mountains for a few years. That's about the warmest welcome this rough-rider is going to get.

It's 1906, and civilization is encroaching on the only world Hewey knows.

Polite society does have its temptations. Our awkward, charming cowpoke finds himself particularly taken with the local schoolmarm (Sissy Spacek). But getting this tumbleweed to settle down is like trying to put a bow tie on a mule.

Jones not only stars in this film, he also directs. His performance is wonderful. Behind the camera, he tends to flatter the landscape more than the actors, who include Sam Shepard, Larry Mahan and Terry Kinney. All the characters are colorful, even if a good deal of their dialogue gets buried under their barbed-wire West Texas twangs.

Based on Elmer Kelton's novel, this is a simple, spacious drama, poetic in its way until it begins to drift in its second half.

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