Thursday, April 15, 2010

American movies, 1970-1979

from Robert Altman's Nashville (1975)
Most Altman fans pick Nashville as the man's greatest work, though I'd choose McCabe & Mrs. Miller, California Split, The Long Goodbye, 3 Women, Brewster McCloud, and possibly even Secret Honor and Popeye over Nashville. Geraldine Chaplin's character is so ill-conceived and idiotic that not even an actress of her caliber can do anything with it other than turn it into a shrill cartoon, the film has very little to say about the real city of Nashville but pretends to anyway, and a handful of characters are underdeveloped and poorly used. Still, it's got an atmosphere and tone that's unlike anything else I've seen, about a half-dozen scenes that are just about perfect, performances from Lily Tomlin, Gwen Welles, Ned Beatty, Barbara Baxley, and Henry Gibson that just nail it to the wall, a mood you can physically feel like weather, and I couldn't stop picking out images, including the one moment when Chaplin's really able to do something with the one-note caricature she's saddled with. I don't love this movie as a whole, but I love it anyway.

1 comment:

Lynell said...

"Nashville" is one of my favorite films. There are so many brilliant moments that in spite of its flaws, the movies surprises and touches me every time I see it.

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