Sunday, April 22, 2007

Nashville (1975)

Robert Altman died recently, and there was a lot of stuff written about his work in magazines and papers. I got intrigued and put some of his movies on our Netflix queue. Two problems: 1) Most of his stuff is rated R, so it becomes hard to watch these around my daughter. 2) The first one that came was “Nashville.”

I never knew much about Altman, but I have seen two of his movies, “Popeye” (1980) and “M.A.S.H.” (1970). “M.A.S.H.” kicked ass, and I seem to remember liking “Popeye”. (I was a kid when I saw it.) Considering how prolific Altman was, I am surprised I haven’t seen more of his films. He is clearly considered one of the great American filmmakers. I’m not a movie expert, but it seems that he was one of the pioneers of a filmmaking style where you jump from one set of characters to another without a clear narrative, ultimately tying the disparate storylines together at various points. Films like “Slackers,” “Magnolia,” and “Dazed and Confused” seem like they may have been Altman-influenced.

In any event, I can’t tell you much about “Nashville,” as I only made it through about twenty minutes. In that time the film jumped around between a lot of people involved in the Nashville music scene in some manner. I didn’t like any of them, and all they did was jabber away at each other with annoying noise in the background. They were all also a bit grotesque. Even the attractive actors are dressed and made up so garishly that the film is just hard to look at. So I found “Nashville” painful to the eyes and ears. I’m sure if I had stuck with it some really interesting things would have happened, but life is too short. Maybe some other time.