Do me a favor folks, over this Thanksgiving break check out one of these flicks; MASH, The Player, Gosford Park, Popeye, Prarie Home Companion, Nashville, Dr, T And The Women, Short Cuts, or McCabe & Mrs. Miller and dig on one of the greats of American Cinema and KC native that we have lost Mr. Robert Altman.
I have had so much admiration for the man over the years. Making the leap from live theatre to directing for TV to making the jump to the big screen with a maverick style that set a lot of the Hollywood folks on their ears.
What really impressed me about Altman was that he was still going strong into his later years. When most people are content to chill and collect a Social Security check he was still going strong making some damn fine films that big names would lie, steal and kill to be in. I could think of no greater honor for a major actor than to say, "I was in an Altman film!"
The best story about Altman I have heard was when he was making MASH. Fox was making Patton and Tora, Tora Tora! at the same time as MASH on the Fox lot. He wanted to make the film his way, so he told everyone to keep his stuff on the down low. Elliot Gould and Donald Southerland, the two leads, wanted him canned for his directing style, and he had little to no budget to deal with.
MASH went on to be a huge success, spawning a sit-com that Allan Alda fucked up, and made Altman a major player.
What I really dug about his style was trying to take real life, and put it up on the screen. Look at the overlapping dialouge in MASH to see what I'm talking about. To me, no one has pulled of decent reality on the screen since Bob Clark with Christmas Story and Porky's
Robert Atman, you will be missed.
(cue the MASH theme here)