Robert Altman is a director that I have a love-hate relationship with. In nearly all of his films he uses more or less the same approach. He gets a bunch of oddball characters together and puts them in a central location and lets them run wild. They usually suffer from verbal diarrhea and ramble all over the place, continuously overlapping one another while fighting to be heard in a sea of stream-of-consciousness dialogue. This approach works in good films like The Player, MASH, and Short Cuts where there is a strong underlying story to tie everything together. In lesser Altman movies like Prairie Home Companion, California Split, and Nashville, there is no real “plot” to hang the movie on so the characters just ramble on and on without any real consequence.
I know some people will be up in arms at me for labeling
The music in the movie is a mixed bag. I wasn’t much on the more “real” music but some of the tongue-in-cheek songs were pretty funny. (I dug the one Henry Gibson song about the guy not cheating on his wife because of “the kids”.) These songs walk the line (pardon the pun) between parody and the real thing and for the most part are a hoot. The other shit like the Oscar winning “I’m Easy” aren’t nearly as good.
The performances are all over the place but I guess that’s to be expected since their characters are all over the place too. Lily Tomlin is probably the best one in the cast as the mother of two deaf sons who bones the womanizing Keith Carradine. I also liked Ronee (A Nightmare on
Speaking of assassinations, the final scene is easily the best part of the movie. The way Barbara Harris rallies everyone together for a song after Blakely gets gunned down is pretty moving stuff. If Altman had told a more cohesive story populated with characters I actually gave two turds about,