Wednesday, November 6, 2013
602. NASHVILLE (1975)
Running Time: 159 minutes
Directed By: Robert Altman
Written By: Joan Tewkesbury
Main Cast: Henry Gibson, Ronee Blakely, Keith Carradine, Karen Black, Ned Beatty
Click here to view the trailer
ALTMAN WEEK: CHAPTER V
Here we go again with the unpredictably Robert Altman. By unpredictable, I mean that I can never quite predict what I'm going to think of his films. Thought I'd hate "McCabe and Mrs. Miller" and I was wrong and I thought I'd hate "Nashville", for some reason, and I was wrong again.
The blueprints here are very similar to those of "Short Cuts", in that we're thrown a big handful of characters (with notable actors to boot) and are all set to follow various different plot lines, on our way to the climax. The film is set in Nashville, Tennessee (imagine that) and takes us into the heart of the country music business and all the corruption that comes along with it. Who knew these sweetheart country & western musicians were such scum buckets? Well, they may not be in reality, but Altman doesn't paint a very desirable lifestyle for the boot-scoot-boogie generation. Against the backdrop of the south and the country tunes, there's also a splash of politics, as the whole thing leads to a rally for Replacement Party Presidential candidate, Hal Phillip Walker, where many of the top names in the country music industry will perform, including: Haven Hamilton (Gibson - what a character name, I love it), the veteran of Nashville and perhaps the most dastardly of all the country & western stars, Barbara Jean (Blakely), the just released from the hospital, sweetheart of Nashville and perhaps country music's biggest star and Tom (Carradine), a womanizer who over the course of the film begins to disassociate himself with his musical partners, Bill and Mary of "Bill, Mary and Tom".
Like "Underground", this may have been a film that I enjoyed for the wrong reasons, which again proposes the question: Is there a right and wrong way to enjoy a film? I don't think so, because I'm sure a lot of the subtle winks that Altman was making toward the camera were going right over my head, yet I enjoyed "Nashville" just fine for the overlapping stories, the memorable characters and the songs, my God the songs! Granted, I'm not a big country music fan (a little Garth Brooks here & there and maybe a touch of Zac Brown Band, from time to time) and sure, these weren't the greatest songs ever written or anything like that, but they were damn good! To think that the actors actually wrote and performed their own songs - that's the ultra fascinating part. Here's a small list, with links for the outsiders:
Bluebird by Timothy Brown
Keep A Goin' by Henry Gibson
For the Sake of the Children by Henry Gibson
One, I'll Love You by Ronee Blakely and Henry Gibson
Yeah, I dug the Gibson tunes. This guy swoops in and not only does a fine job in "The Long Goodbye", but totally steals the show for me in "Nashville", proving he can write tunes and bring the acting chops. Perhaps ONE OF (one of hundreds) the most memorable characters that THE BOOK has introduced me to. Add to that fine performances from Ned Beatty, Allen Garfield, Keith Carradine and Keenan Wynn, as well as a somewhat nostalgic (for me personally) atmosphere. See, I grew up with a father who LOVED him some country music and in a community where a lot of the residents (myself NOT included) loved their Nascar, not to mention barbecues and that down home feel. When you mix that with the corruption and unease of the time (Watergate and Vietnam), it made for an ultra unique setting and I dug it. I'm not even going to touch the ending, only to say that it took me by surprise - whether I liked it or not, I honestly can't say.
RATING: 7/10 So yeah, despite a rough start ("MASH"), Altman is definitely pleasing me as a movie goer, while only getting to that very high upper echelon of rating one time. Can "The Player" keep the good Altman streak alive.
MOVIES WATCHED: 755
MOVIES LEFT TO WATCH: 246
November 6, 2013 7:38pm
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