SXSW Film Reviews

Pavarotti of the Plains records the story of Texas legend Don Walser with simple, plainspoken eloquence.

Pavarotti of the Plains: Don Walser's Story

D: TJ Morehouse. (Video, 80 min.)

If you're not from Texas, Don Walser will by-gawd make you wish you were. His voice and his musical vision are as pure as you'll find, and Morehouse's documentary takes an affectionate look at the Big Man through interviews with Willie Nelson, Gary P. Nunn, Rosetta Wills, Jim Lauderdale, and others. It shows Walser to be as honest and warm as that big voice, his scenes punctuated with a high-pitched giggle and, several times, with tears. Morehouse traces Walser's story from his hardscrabble roots in the Panhandle town of Lamesa to his two appearances at the Grand Ole Opry and his NEA Master Heritage Award. Through it all, Walser put his wife and family before his passion for music. Well into his 60s now, he ignores physical ailments (all too evident in the film) to get onstage and charm audiences with that voice of his. He is a touchstone for country music and for a Texas that's changing before our eyes, and Pavarotti of the Plains records his story with simple, plainspoken eloquence. (Paramount, 3/16, 1:30pm)

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

Questioning How We Embrace Mortality in <i>She Dies Tomorrow</i>
Questioning How We Embrace Mortality in She Dies Tomorrow
Director Amy Seimetz new film is death positive

Jenny Nulf, July 31, 2020

<i>Pet Sematary</i> Remake to Close SXSW Film
Pet Sematary Remake to Close SXSW Film
Midnighters, Festival Favorites, plus shorts all announced

Richard Whittaker, Feb. 6, 2019

More Screens
Austin Artist Brings Gamera to Vibrant Life in a New Box Set
Austin Artist Brings Gamera to Vibrant Life in a New Box Set
Matt Frank builds the perfect monster

Richard Whittaker, Aug. 28, 2020

SXSW Film Reviews: 'TPB AFK: The Pirate Bay Away From Keyboard'
Daily Reviews and Interviews

Richard Whittaker, March 15, 2013

More by Marrit Ingman
Wonder Stories
Wonder Stories

July 25, 2008

King Corn
The film’s light hand, appealing style, and simple exposition make it an eminently watchable inquiry into the politics of food, public health, and the reasons why corn has become an ingredient in virtually everything we eat.

Nov. 9, 2007


sxsw film, Pavarotti of the Plains: Don Walser's Story, Pavarotti of the Plains, don walser, tj morehouse

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle