POO: Altman films

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Was watching "Short Cuts" for the first time in years. I'm not sure how I feel about the fact that I think every female star (even Frances McDormand) is given a nude scene, or at least an underwear scene, including a suicide attempt and the dead body in the river. Something about it just seemed so ... gratuitous in their casualness. Like, if this were a stage play, one of the actresses would have a casual nude scene, just in passing, matter of fact. Or just Julianne Moore's famous scene. I wonder, if this movie were made a few years later, if Altman would have had more of his male stars get naked, too, beyond Huey Lewis flashing his wiener.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 13 August 2012 17:31 (seven years ago) link

five years pass...

NASHVILLE tho Short Cuts a close second

flappy bird, Tuesday, 20 February 2018 07:45 (one year ago) link

mccabe

finally watched 3 women the other day, rly natural+confident homegrown u.s. surrealism-- made me think of persona of course but not because it felt made after studying it. (also so deeply a california movie, without having to openly stress it as much as the long goodbye or the player or p.t. anderson.) duvall rly great, as pretty much always. maybe too much of the murals shot thru water i guess.

difficult listening hour, Tuesday, 20 February 2018 08:59 (one year ago) link

Check out Images (out on blu soon via Arrow) for more of Altman in a similar mode.

Animal Bag's Greatest Hits Vol. 5 (Old Lunch), Tuesday, 20 February 2018 13:04 (one year ago) link

Images, out 3/20 on blu-ray---good?

https://mvd.cloud/images/AA025.jpg

The early seventies were a period of remarkable activity for Robert Altman, producing masterpiece after masterpiece. At the time he came to make Images, MASH and McCabe & Mrs. Miller were behind him, with The Long Goodbye, California Split and Nashville still to come. Originally conceived in the mid-sixties, Images concerns a pregnant children's author (Susannah York, who won the Best Actress award at the Cannes Film Festival) whose husband (Rene Auberjonois) may or may not be having an affair. While on vacation in Ireland, her mental state becomes increasingly unstable resulting in paranoia, hallucinations and visions of a doppelgänger. Scored by an Oscar-nominated John Williams, with "sounds" by Stomu Yamash'ta (The Man Who Fell to Earth), Images also boasts the remarkable cinematography of Vilmos Zsigmond (Close Encounters of the Third Kind).

more info:
https://mvdb2b.com/b2b/s/AA025
https://mvdb2b.com/b2b/s/AA025

dow, Wednesday, 28 February 2018 19:41 (one year ago) link

A Prairie Home Companion is my personal favorite

Would need to concentrate on 3 Women to verify that McCabe is the best that others would acknowledge

Moo Vaughn, Wednesday, 28 February 2018 19:44 (one year ago) link

dow check out the post directly above yours

i haven't seen it, excited for this reissue

flappy bird, Wednesday, 28 February 2018 19:47 (one year ago) link

3 Women is the one I keep coming back to over and over.

kurt schwitterz, Wednesday, 28 February 2018 19:49 (one year ago) link

McCabe massively overrated. 3 Women is fantastic. but Nashville is my pick.

flappy bird, Wednesday, 28 February 2018 19:50 (one year ago) link

I finally saw Images at the RA retro at MoMA a few years ago ... it's worth seeing but doesn't really work. He did Bergmanism better by doing it less in 3 Women.

ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 28 February 2018 19:55 (one year ago) link

Images is a failure -- he nailed this shards-of-glass approach on 3 Women -- but every film from this period is worth watching.

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 28 February 2018 19:57 (one year ago) link

Nashville is more sweeping than the other films of the period, but I don't find it to be better

Moo Vaughn, Wednesday, 28 February 2018 19:59 (one year ago) link

McCabe for me too.

You are wrong about McCabe, flappy, but it's not uncommon for ppl to not really gel with it on first encounter and fall in love with it later. Was my experience and apparently Tarantino's as well.

circa1916, Wednesday, 28 February 2018 20:02 (one year ago) link

Think the story was he bought a print of it for Linklater because it was one of his favorite movies and decided to watch it first himself and ended up keeping it, heh.

circa1916, Wednesday, 28 February 2018 20:04 (one year ago) link

Every Altman film from Brewster McCloud through Nashville is worth seeing at least once or twice, and most are stone classics. After that, things get a bit spottier.

And yes, I intentionally excluded M*A*S*H (one of his lesser efforts), so sue me.

Here Comes The Brain Event (Old Lunch), Wednesday, 28 February 2018 20:05 (one year ago) link

There are times when I think Tanner '88 is my favorite of them all, but not a film so...

Here Comes The Brain Event (Old Lunch), Wednesday, 28 February 2018 20:06 (one year ago) link

why would you stop before Buffalo Bill, 3 Women, A Wedding? All better than Brewster.

ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 28 February 2018 20:07 (one year ago) link

heads up Oc and Stiggs has aged really well.

kurt schwitterz, Wednesday, 28 February 2018 20:07 (one year ago) link

No.

Here Comes The Brain Event (Old Lunch), Wednesday, 28 February 2018 20:10 (one year ago) link

3 Women is great, I think I liked Buffalo Bill okay but I frankly don't remember much about it, perhaps need to rewatch to see if his streak does in fact remain unbroken through 3 Women. A Wedding...not that into it. Brewster isn't among his greats but gets definitely points for taking big + weird chances.

Here Comes The Brain Event (Old Lunch), Wednesday, 28 February 2018 20:13 (one year ago) link

If I'm honest, I may find Altman's later films more interesting or at least entertaining than the earlier ones, too few of which I've seen (I'd like to see Buffalo Bill especially). He's never struck me as having anything particularly trenchant to say about any sort of social or historical concern, and seems more interesting as a weaver of tall tales with sometimes-interesting character portraits. He seems most interesting, however, as an at least semifictional observer and to some extent participant in what he really knows - the popular or semi popular performing arts world he inhabits - and therefore I find most compelling his backstage final film among others in what might be deemed its late-period oeuvre, including the similarly quasi-documentarian The Company. I suppose that Nashville among others might be part of the same lineage, but it bites off more than I think he was (ever really) capable of chewing.

Moo Vaughn, Wednesday, 28 February 2018 20:14 (one year ago) link

Any one of The Long Goodbye, McCabe, and California Split might be my favorite from that era, depending on my mood on a given day.

Here Comes The Brain Event (Old Lunch), Wednesday, 28 February 2018 20:15 (one year ago) link

The Company is hands-down his best latter day film. But he definitely went out on top with his last few.

Here Comes The Brain Event (Old Lunch), Wednesday, 28 February 2018 20:16 (one year ago) link

Thank you, this thread, for reminding me that I still need to watch the lo-res video file of HealtH that I pilfered from god knows where (since it's apparently the only Altman film that's never going to receive an official home video release ever).

Here Comes The Brain Event (Old Lunch), Wednesday, 28 February 2018 20:18 (one year ago) link

I saw California Split for the first time only recently and it's top tier. Would be on my shortlist.

circa1916, Wednesday, 28 February 2018 20:20 (one year ago) link

There's an Altman Coffee table book that normally sells for like 40 bucks but is now 9 dollars in a few places. Ordered a copy on Amazon just the other day.

https://www.amazon.com/Altman-Kathryn-Reed/dp/1419707779

circa1916, Wednesday, 28 February 2018 20:24 (one year ago) link

It's pretty cool. I've read several Altman biogs so not a lot of new info but definitely a lot of production photos and ephemera I've never seen before.

Here Comes The Brain Event (Old Lunch), Wednesday, 28 February 2018 20:27 (one year ago) link

Looking at my Letterboxd ratings from the MoMA retro, I really don't like the minor ones I caught up with there, all 2.5/5:

Health (liked it more when I was younger)
Images
That Cold Day in the Park
Countdown (the hire job w/ Caan and Duvall playing astronauts)

I preferred Kansas City (3/5)

ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 28 February 2018 20:28 (one year ago) link

Oh, I recently recalled in the midst of the post-Weinstein era that the recent-ish Altman oral history ended on a somewhat sad note as everyone talks around the story of Kevin Spacey ruining what turned out to be Altman's last directorial gig at the Old Vic. I knew he was a bad egg.

Here Comes The Brain Event (Old Lunch), Wednesday, 28 February 2018 20:34 (one year ago) link

Oh yes and I've never seen Jazz '34, which I see is available online.

Moo Vaughn, Wednesday, 28 February 2018 20:36 (one year ago) link

Also on the Kansas City DVD, iirc.

Here Comes The Brain Event (Old Lunch), Wednesday, 28 February 2018 20:45 (one year ago) link

You are wrong about McCabe, flappy, but it's not uncommon for ppl to not really gel with it on first encounter and fall in love with it later. Was my experience and apparently Tarantino's as well.

― circa1916, Wednesday, February 28, 2018 3:02 PM (three hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

yeah I've only seen it once and will definitely revisit soon

flappy bird, Thursday, 1 March 2018 00:04 (one year ago) link

Altman's (better) films almost require multiple viewings. There's often so much going on in the frame and on the soundtrack that it's impossible to take it all in on a single viewing. I think I catch new dialogue every time I see the tavern scenes in McCabe.

Here Comes The Brain Event (Old Lunch), Thursday, 1 March 2018 00:16 (one year ago) link

McCabe demands multiple viewings, yes. My only reaction upon seeing it in high school was "huh?" Now I could be easily convinced that it is his best.

Dangleballs and the Ballerina (cryptosicko), Thursday, 1 March 2018 01:19 (one year ago) link

I had a similar reaction to 3 Women at first blush. It grows in my esteem with every rewatch.

Here Comes The Brain Event (Old Lunch), Thursday, 1 March 2018 03:32 (one year ago) link

I loved 3 Women on my first viewing, but I can probably credit that to my having already seen both Persona and Mulholland Dr.

Dangleballs and the Ballerina (cryptosicko), Thursday, 1 March 2018 03:55 (one year ago) link

oooh true

flappy bird, Thursday, 1 March 2018 04:08 (one year ago) link

That says a lot for 3 Women, which I saw when it first came out, and remains the clearest and most compelling--scenes still still roll in memory with no known cue, the swimming pool murals appeared as I was waking up a couple mornings ago---- more recently, "Wellll, you two have a lot in common." "Lak whut?" "Oh, I don't know! Aren't you both from Texas or something?" kept coming up while I was trying to wait patiently for the doctor.

(I'd like to see Buffalo Bill especially). He's never struck me as having anything particularly trenchant to say about any sort of social or historical concern, and seems more interesting as a weaver of tall tales with sometimes-interesting character portraits. He seems most interesting, however, as an at least semifictional observer and to some extent participant in what he really knows - the popular or semi popular performing arts world he inhabits -
Which is why you might like Buffalo Bill, on a night when he's ramblin' around, gassin' about previous events and what he made of them, with the travelling Wild West Shows, Indian actors/re-enactors and all---Lester Bangs connected this to Dylan's theatrical self-presentation in his '74 reunion tour with The Band: a battered Americana legend-merchant in "full scraggle" (the raspy rattle of "It's Alright Ma" on that year's live Before The Flood is a good example).

dow, Sunday, 4 March 2018 17:10 (one year ago) link

That is, Bangs specifically cited this movie as a thematic link to Dylan's self-presentation, whether D. was thinking of or had seen this movie or not.

dow, Sunday, 4 March 2018 17:32 (one year ago) link

one month passes...

Watched OC & Stiggs again this weekend and yah I still think it's aged well and gets a bad rep. It's really fun seeing the Altman-isms translated for an 80s teen comedy. I don't get the hate for this.

kurt schwitterz, Monday, 23 April 2018 22:23 (one year ago) link

FYI..."Images" is free to watch if you have Amazon Prime: https://www.amazon.com/gp/video/detail/B07578H9YR/
Susannah York is very good in it, and the score works well (never would have guessed John Williams and avant-garde Japanese percussionist Stomu Yamashta would team up), but its variations on a theme get a little tiresome (ok, she's schizophrenic, this isn't real, I get it). Cathryn Harrison, who was the lead in Malle's "Black Moon," is also in it. Altman fans should check it out, but don't expect a masterpiece.

ernestp, Sunday, 29 April 2018 19:34 (one year ago) link

nine months pass...

1. California Split
2. Nashville
3. The Long Goodbye
4. Brewster McCloud
5. 3 Women
6. The Player
7. Short Cuts
8. A Wedding
9. McCabe & Mrs. Miller
10. Secret Honor

not my thing: Thieves Like Us
Dud: Images, Buffalo Bill, MASH

haven't seen the rest
but I have Kansas City and Streamers waiting

flappy bird, Sunday, 10 February 2019 08:12 (eight months ago) link

McCabe below Short Cuts and A Wedding is completely looney tunes but at least you're in the ballpark. I wouldn't put California Split first but I def rate it higher than most.

Musts to see if you haven't yet: Gosford Park, The Company, Tanner '88 (probably in my top five Altman projects)

Shaved Cyborg (Old Lunch), Sunday, 10 February 2019 14:48 (eight months ago) link

Thieves Like Us might be as high as #3 for me

never liked Brewster

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Sunday, 10 February 2019 14:52 (eight months ago) link

Also Vincent & Theo and Prairie Home Companion were quite good iirc but it's been a while since I saw either.

Shaved Cyborg (Old Lunch), Sunday, 10 February 2019 14:54 (eight months ago) link

01. Nashville
02. 3 Women
03. Short Cuts
04. McCabe & Mrs. Miller
05. The Company
06. The Long Goodbye

Those six are his undying masterpieces. The rest is a great jumble of movies I like a great deal more than most (Popeye) and a great deal less than most (California Split).

zama roma ding dong (Eric H.), Sunday, 10 February 2019 18:48 (eight months ago) link

1. The Long Goodbye
2. McCabe and Mrs. Miller
3. Thieves Like Us
4. The Player
5. 3 Women
6. Nashville
7. Vincent and Theo
8. Gosford Park
9. Secret Honor
10. The Company

Your sweetie-pie-coo-coo I love ya (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 10 February 2019 18:50 (eight months ago) link

1. California Split
2. The Long Goodbye
3. McCabe & Mrs Miller
4. Nashville
5. Brewster McCloud
6. Short Cuts
7. The Player
8. Gosford Park

I havent seen 3 Women, Thieves Like Us (well ive seen bits of it), A Wedding, The Company, Tanner '88

. (Michael B), Tuesday, 12 February 2019 11:45 (eight months ago) link

Cannot believe the disrespect being shown to O.C. & Stiggs itt rn.

Shaved Cyborg (Old Lunch), Tuesday, 12 February 2019 12:48 (eight months ago) link


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