21 November 2006

Zombie Robert Altman

Famed American director Robert Altman died yesterday, and, along with Sven Nykvist, he's probably the most important cinematic figure to pass while I've been writing (I had nothing to say about Jack Palance, as he was the drunk responsible for Marisa Tomei's Oscar). He's the man we could have slapped for making the multi-character "we're-all-connected" sub(crap)genre (see Magnolia, Playing by Heart, Crash, and a bunch of other shitty movies for more examples). His films were wildly varied in quality, but no one's denying the man sure wasn't prolific. He made a few masterpieces (McCabe & Mrs. Miller, 3 Women), some overrated junk (Gosford Park, Short Cuts, The Player), some plain ol' junk (Popeye, Ready to Wear, Dr. T & the Women), and some underrated gems (The Company, Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean). He won an honorary Oscar last year, because the Academy had goofed, realized he was old, and not awarded him a best director trophy. It's always sad when cinema greats die after making a lousy film like Prairie Home Companion. The same thing happened to Walter Matthau (Hanging Up), Jack Lemmon (The Legend of Bagger Vance), Raul Julia (Street Fighter), Stanley Kubrick (Eyes Wide Shut), Federico Fellini (The Voice of the Moon), and many many others (expect this to happen to Antonioni and Bergman if they don't throw out another picture to wipe clear Eros and Saraband, respectively). Plus, how can you not honor the man who discovered Shelley Duvall?

Notable Filmography:
MASH (1970)
McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Images (1972)
The Long Goodbye (1973)
Nashville (1975)
3 Women (1977)
A Wedding (1978)
Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982)
Secret Honor (1984)
Aria ("Les Boréades") (1987)
Tanner '88 (1988)
The Player (1992)
Short Cuts (1993)
Kansas City (1996)
The Gingerbread Man (1998)
Cookie's Fortune (1999)
Gosford Park (2001)
The Company (2003)


Joshua said...

Even in a blog about the recently deceased you can not help but put a picture of a half naked hot boy. I see how you operate Joe.

Anonymous said...

Somewhat tangential comment, as I'm not sure I've seen an Altman movie besides The Player, but I'm excited to see you call it "overrated" -- just as happy as I was to read your slam of "the multi-character 'we're-all-connected' sub(crap)genre)". Always glad to read someone else not liking Magnolia. And then I sifted through some Lynch posts, and, well, time to bookmark ya. Looks like there's a ton of stuff to read back through here. Thanks!

J said...

Most people would suggest Nashville as the best film to start off interest in Altman, though I think some might also suggest Short Cuts, but, for me, SC means nothing today, when you've seen it redone about a thousand times.

D A J said...

I have pondered all of this in my heart and am still not prepared to go the way of Neve.