Friday, November 8, 2013

844. The Player (1992)

Running Time: 123 minutes
Directed By: Robert Altman
Written By: Michael Tolkin, from his novel
Main Cast: Tim Robbins, Greta Scacchi, Fred Ward, Whoopi Goldberg, Peter Gallagher
Click here to view the trailer


Battling a pretty nasty cold, I still manage to drag myself out of bed and to my wheeled computer chair to bring you the final installment in the "Altman Week" festivities. Let's get right into it, shall we...

Tim Robbins is Griffin Mills, a sleazy Hollywood executive who spends his days hearing film pitches and giving the writers hope, while usually shooting their ideas down. He has the perfect parking space, a nice office, a girlfriend who also works for the production company - his life is pretty flawless. That is, until he begins receiving threatening postcards, which are seemingly coming from a disgruntled writer. One day, Griffin, wanting to get to the bottom of the threats and get on with his life, does a little digging and tracks down the man he thinks is responsible for sending the threatening postcards. The man is a writer, David Kahane, whom he tracks down and tries to butter up by telling him that he wants to make the movie that David pitched him. Some words are shared, but the writer is inconsolable and during a shoving match, Griffin, in a fit of rage, murders David. The only problem is that the postcards keep coming the next day and it turns out Griffin killed the wrong man. Now, not only is he still dealing with the death threats, but now he's got the police on his tail, as he's the #1 suspect in the murder of David. Meanwhile, Griffin begins dating David's roommate/girlfriend (Scacchi), all the while battling to try and protect his job from the new hotshot executive in town, Larry Levy (Gallagher).

Bear with me, as I'm hopped up on cold pills and really ready to crawl back into the warm embraces of my bed. Let's see, let's see, "The Player"...Well I liked it, that's for sure. It wasn't your typical movie and really held a special uniqueness. Altman, ever ready to poke fun at something, satirize or expose an industry, puts modern Hollywood in his crosshairs and takes a kill shot. I mean, he doesn't paint Hollywood with a very flattering brush, now does he? Should we be surprised that this one got the awards recognition that it did, seeing as how, in my view, there are more than a couple big "F you's" in there, aimed directly at the (then) modern Hollywood machine? Anyway, forget about all the undertones and the satirizing, the story is pretty great too and this is a perfectly enjoyable film (as are most of Altman's pictures) without reading into the subtleties and little jabs at Hollywood. Robbins is really brilliant here and it's probably the best thing I've ever seen him in - personally, I'm usually not a big fan of the guy. Oh and keep your eyes peeled, because the film is chock full of cameos, from Bruce Willis to John Cusack and basically everybody in between.

The film has a certain sleekness and really zooms in on the movie industry's dirty side, Hollywood's obsession with happy endings (etc.) and somehow seems to really capture the true scumminess of the movie business. I could go on and on, but I need rest and while I didn't really delve as deep as this film deserved, I think I'm going to wrap it up.

RATING: 7.5/10  Seriously, this TOP 20 list is going to be a bitch to make. So many really good to great movies have come down the pike and I still have over forty to go.

1. Short Cuts
2. The Player
3. The Long Goodbye
4. McCabe and Mrs. Miller
5. Nashville
6. M*A*S*H


November 8, 2013  1:37pm


  1. Couldn't agree more. This is a good, fun, unique film. It felt almost like a roast of Hollywood, which might explain why it was so well received even though it's so critical. I always seem to enjoy films that take a look behind the scenes of showbiz - maybe it's because the filmmakers have first hand experience with the subject matter.
    I hope you feel better soon.

    1. thanks for the well wishes. Glad I made something legible out of that, as I'm really feeling like crap.


SINS OF OMISSION - Entry #66: La piscine/The Swimming Pool (1969)

Running Time: 120 minutes Directed By: Jacques Deray Written By: Jean-Claude Carriere, Jacques Deray, Alain Page Main Cast: Alain Del...