Saturday, September 6, 2008
I went through a period during my senior year of college and into the summer thereafter where I watched a shitload of Robert Altman movies. I mean, the dude made so many it's unbelievable, and for a while maybe I fancied I'd try to see them all. One of the great things about Altman is that, throughout his career, he had a fairly consistent style and POV, which really lends itself to an auteur theory analysis, and it's fun to watch him attempt different genres. Most of his movies are pretty good, and even some of the not so good ones are usually interesting. So it's easy for me to see now why I was plowing through his movies so ferociously.
Problem is, something I've learned about his films is that they tend to improve vastly upon repeat viewings. So instead of watching his movies by the truckload, I probably should have been re-watching the ones I found most interesting.
I've noted before that Altman was a favorite director of mine who nonetheless didn't have a movie that I would call "great." It was more his career as a whole that means the most to me. The cumulative effect. But now, having seen Nashville twice, I concede that it's a great movie. It's a pretty strong argument that I need to go back and watch some of the ones I've already seen, maybe once I stop posting regularly.
I'm still not sure I understand the political message of this film, if there is one, but it's clear to me now what a powerful study of human behavior it is. It's unspoken message, and really the message of most of Altman's movies, is that you can never imagine just how complex everyone is. Follow someone around long enough, and you'll see them at their best, at their worst, you'll see them be a hero, an asshole, a hypocrite, a best friend. You don't get that as much the first time you see it, because it's hard to keep track of all the characters and all the subplots and all the little details.
Like I said, I see now that this is a great movie, once you explore it, and I'm pretty sure I'm going to feel the same way when I go back and check some of his other movies out again. 3 Women was always my favorite, so I'm particularly excited to see it again.