ZERO STARS/**** Image B- Sound A Extras C+
starring Dennis Quaid, Billy Bob Thornton, Jason Patric, Patrick Wilson
screenplay by Leslie Bohem and Stephen Gaghan and John Lee Hancock
directed by John Lee Hancock
by Walter Chaw There's an old joke from "Hee Haw" about crossing a potato with a sponge: "It didn't taste too good, but boy did it soak up the gravy!" In John Lee Hancock's appalling and sidesplitting The Alamo, Billy Bob Thornton as Davy Crockett tells a gruesome variation on that punchline, only as an actor's moment (and with the "grease" off of slaughtered and incinerating Indians substituted for gravy). "Now, when someone passes me the potatoes, I just pass them right on." An interesting lesson taught about genocide and cannibalism: it's not the commission of atrocity to be mourned, it's the loss for a taste for French fries that's really the tragedy. The Alamo is essentially how "Hee Haw" saved the world--every time Davy pops his head above the titular fort's ramparts, visions of Roy Clark and Buck Owens popping out of a cornfield dance in your head. There are moments when, I kid you not, I looked to see if there was a price tag dangling, Minnie Pearl-style, from Jim Bowie's (Jason Patric) hat.