Friday, January 4, 2013

Short Cuts (1993)

L.A. Movie #1 (Many movies are set in Los Angeles, but I figured I might showcase a few that deal with everyday life in that city)

Synopsis: It’s like California Suite, except it’s funny, and different sets of characters actually interact with each other.

Blurb From the VHS Jacket: “In ‘The movie event of the year’, director Robert Altman (The Player, M*A*S*H and Nashville) explores the lives of ordinary people living in extraordinary circumstances. Interweaving 22 unforgettable characters in a series of remarkable stories, he takes you on an incredible journey.”

What Did I Learn?: 1) The best way to cure marital problems is for a husband and wife to get rip-roaring drunk together. 2) Nobody wants to be reunited with a long-lost relative during a family emergency. 3) Julianne Moore looks pretty amazing without panties.

You Might Like This Movie If: You enjoy a good, off-beat short story.

Really?: 1) I had a bit of trouble believing the two young, female hikers near the end of the film would want to have anything to do with a couple of creepy, middle-aged men. 2) Goodness knows, if I found a dead body in the woods I would report it immediately, but maybe I’m just old-fashioned. 3) I have a feeling most men who date waitresses realize they get better tips when they wear short skirts, but what do I know?

Rating: Featuring no less than 22 Hollywood stars (everyone from Huey Lewis to Lyle Lovett), and based on the writings of Raymond Carver, Short Cuts is a wonderfully-written, and very well-acted movie. The film has far too many simultaneous short stories for me to provide any sort of useful summary, but I will say that director Robert Altman does a magnificent job with the material, and the viewer is never entirely sure of what to think of these flawed, yet all-too-human characters. Watch for great performances from Andie MacDowell and Jack Lemmon, and an outstanding one from Tim Robbins as a short-tempered-and-sleazy (but extremely funny) motorcycle cop. At two-and-a-half hours, Short Cuts is a bit long for my taste, but it is still highly recommended. 10/10 stars.

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