First off, Morris, you should tell dad that this is now on dvd. I remember him once saying that this was one of his favorite films, and since he's likely not seen it in years (or decades) he might want to check it out again.
And why might my father want to check it out again? Because it's a pretty cool movie - far from perfect, but quite interesting. My knowledge of Altman pre-The Player is woefully thin. Until I watched this I'd only seen MASH (which is, of course, great) and The Long Goodbye (which I can admire to some extent, but don't particularly like). Nonetheless, I think I've got a pretty good feel for what "Altmanesque" means, and if you like those kinds of movies, you'll likely enjoy this. There are dozens of characters, there's not a lot of plot, more illustration and observation and layered sounds. You are just dropped into a world without much context, and allowed to glimpse key moments and events. In this case the setting is a wedding (that's the first thing in the movie, and is over in less than 10 minutes), and then you actually meet the people and learn their stories. Some of it is deadly serious. There's also direct social commentary. There is ridiculous (but really funny) humor. And some bits are left a bit mysterious (like the Mia Farrow character, Buffy). My favorite bit by far is the hilarious would-be romance between Carol Burnett's Tulip, the mother of the bride, and Pat McCormick's Mac Goddard, an uncle of the groom. It's not remotely realistic, but it's a scream, and it really makes me wish I was alive when Ms. Burnett was working more regularly. But that's certainly not the only good bit. The backstory of the parents of the groom is touching (and sad). And the initial interaction between the bride and the groom's ex (played by Pam Dawber) is perfectly malicious.
In the end I'm not sure how well this all works when put together, and Altman might overplay it all in the film's final sequences. I'd say he probably does. But it's interesting, and if you like his work you'll want to see this movie.Posted by armand at May 7, 2006 05:40 PM | TrackBack | Posted to Movies