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Short Cuts (The Criterion Collection)
If aliens came down to earth to see if humanity was worth saving, showing them Short Cuts, Robert Altman's bluesy riff on life in LA in the 90s, would not be a good idea. Based on the stories of Raymond Carver (adapted by Altman and Frank Barhydt), this ambitious film is a devilish valentine to living in LA, where happiness comes at a premium. There are at least eight separate stories that crisscross, most about people who choose not to relate to the lives they are living. Seemingly by design, none of the stories (nor the performances for that matter) have more impact than the others--this is a true mosaic film. The most representative plot deals with a group of friends (Buck Henry, Fred Ward, and Huey Lewis) who decide to keep fishing even after discovering a body in the river. The story works as a morose comedy and a flag holder for the movie: the inability to take the correct action. Others would rather talk about seeing Alex Trebek than discuss their faltering relationships. A huge and talented cast twists in the wind, bumping into moments of truth, sex and passion. Some even come out all right in the end. The accidental nature of life--a common theme in many Altman films--has never been so maddeningly persistent nor so absorbing. The score by Mark Isham with songs sung by Annie Ross (also a cast member) fuels the moodiness, as does the opening number in which Medfly helicopters spray the town to the tune "Prisoner of Life." Delivering the film a year after his biggest hit in two decades, The Player, Altman proved his artistic tenacity as an aged artist with the heart of a new filmmaker: he's not afraid at risking it all. --Doug Thomas --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
While the individual threads may coax discussion, it is their blending that enables a variety of perspectives. Most of them are poignant, for instance the life of a pool cleaner and his wife who vocalizes orgasms on the phone in her job as a tele-sex worker while changing her kids' diapers. Or the life of a couple whose son has been in a tragic accident that brings their lives to an abrupt halt. Etc.
Be warned, many of these vignettes, while very tautly scripted and cleverly screenplayed, remain "unresolved," which may not work for some viewers. Personally I feel that films like this are more genuine reflections of the world in which we live: people often don't change, questions are frequently left unanswered, and unbecoming things do happen every day.
It's a pure pleasure to find a movie that weaves such a deep and intelligent tapestry of human lives, with all their idiosynchratic travails and triumphs. An absolute gem for you to own, not just rent.
Other stories include Andie Macdowell and Bruce Davidson and their little boy who is hit by a car driven by Lily Tomlin whose lover is played by Tom Waits. The first couple experiences grief while the second rebirth. Tomlins daughter is played by Lily Taylor and her group of friends include Robert Downey Jr. and Jennifer Jason Leigh and their story line just never fully develops into anything. Tim Robbins plays a philandering motorcycle cop whose wife is played by Madeline Stowe.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
This DVD does not play in region 1, but id did not say it on product details.
Will think twice before buying again.
Un autre film chorale (à plusieurs personnages) de Robert Altman qui reprend une fois de plus des thèmes qui lui sont chers. Read morePublished on Dec 19 2012 by CINEVORE
Well crafted film both funny and serious - almost perfect in all respects. This is the only Altman film I really like and boy is it good. Read morePublished on April 11 2012 by Dubwicht
I certainly liked this film, especially after a 2nd viewing. But it's weak spots kept me from feeling it's one of Altman's very best. Read morePublished on April 23 2011 by K. Gordon
I just wanted to respond to Michael Crane's review, if you've read it. I don't say this to insult him in any way, but I agree with most but not all of what he says. Read morePublished on March 11 2003
Minus the critical acclaim, buzz, influence over films like Magnolia, Short Cuts, on its own, is a mediocre movie. Read morePublished on Aug. 11 2002