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67 Nashville 
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Post 67 Nashville
see James review


Tue Jul 21, 2009 11:28 am
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Post Re: 67 Nashville
I just noticed that there were no comments on the page for Nashville and thought I would change that. This movie is wonderful. One of the best things about it is how unassuming it is. It follows the characters around, lingers on what it finds interesting, moves on, circles back, and unwinds so leisurely that one barely comprehends that they're watching a movie. It's the kind of movie that you can put on in the background just to keep you company. But one of the great strength of the movie is that, despite its casual exterior, it builds under the surface. For much of its run, it seems to be a chaotic patchwork of not-quite-interrelated stories and characters, but experiencing them separately makes it all the more meaningful when they're drawn together for the grand finale.

Still, I keep coming back to Nashville for its style. It's just not made the way so many other films are made. It doesn't have an axe to grind and it doesn't value one character's opinion over another. It's content to just observe a large collection of characters and watch what happens to them, all the while uniting them through theme and place. It's one of the best examples of Altman's "controlled anarchy" style of film-making, and one of his best films.


Wed Dec 09, 2009 1:16 am
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Post Re: 67 Nashville
Every month, when I go over the films I listed for the "Viewing Journal", I pick what film I believed was the best thus far. Last month it was Wong Kar-Wai's In the Mood for Love, before that it was Pinocchio, and in March it was The Wages of Fear. For August, I am going to make a prediction and say that Nashville will be the best film I see this month, its certainly one of the best I've seen all year.

Nashville is my third Robert Altman film, after A Prairie Home Companion and Gosford Park respectively. Its only now that I've gotten what Altman is actually doing in these films, covering an overarcing canvas and themes by using a series of characters as opposed to a few. Not only is this quite ambitious but when it works its visionary, and can make for incendiary cinema. Nashville struck me more then either of those films did, but the more I think about them after seeing this, the more I want to revisit them.

Altman covers a lot here, focusing on those with success and those who are constantly grasping for it, those holding onto the past and those who look to the future while being totally jaded about the present (Geraldine Chaplin's "reporter"). Its portrayal of these people is in turns enlightening, disheartening (Sueleen Gay's striptease with the promise of a future for her singing career) and uplifting (Haven Hamilton, hazily asking about the audience after
[Reveal] Spoiler:
he is shot in the arm
). The fact that Altman is able to give these characters such depth and is able to give us a feel for them, to get us to care about them, while focusing on the whole Nashville music scene, is an astounding achievement.

So far this year, only one film, Henri-Georges Clouzot's The Wages of Fear, has broken my top five favorite films; Nashville comes about as close as any other film this year has (I'm still not sure whether it takes that number five spot or not). If any film I've seen this year deserves that praise, its this one.


Tue Aug 10, 2010 8:24 pm
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Post Re: 67 Nashville
Nashville is an Altman film with a dozen stories converging and interlocking, maybe 18 major characters but no leads (or maybe each is the lead in his or her substory). It's funny, moving, and a proper review would go on for twenty or thirty paragrahs. Just about everything works. It's easily Altman's best movie and he was hardly a one-hit wonder. Even the vans going around broadcasting Walker's speeches worked both as satire and something an insurgent might say.

I like "200 Years" and "Dues" better than the Oscar-winning "I'm Easy," but the latter is convincing as a song that has four women in audience thinking it's about them when it really isn't. (Not only Lily Tomlin's character, although it's directed toward her: the lyrics don't match their situation, and certainly don't seem to reflect any feelings Tom is capable of feeling. I wonder how many times he's used it to seduce women.)

"Dues" has the advantage of being written and sung by an actual singer-songwriter, Ronee Blakley. Blakley's acting is interesting since she seems on the verge of a nervous breakdown during most of the movie (and is supposed to be). Her character Barbara Jean is recovering from injuries caused by a flaming baton, which made me look suspiciously at the Tennessee Twirling Academy. However, her husband/manager is as big a problem as her injuries; he's making Barbara Jean a nervous wreck.

Cast is very solid. Shelley Duvall is a bit scary in her skimpy costumes considering she is not short and looks like she weighs about 80 pounds. Geraldine Chaplin's "BBC Reporter" Opal gets a lot of the biggest laughs. I suspect, just like Ebert, that Opal isn't a reporter at all, but a hoaxster. Notice how she never has a cameraman, although she does take a lot of photographs, and has a great time speculating on the mortality of rusting cars and the deeper meaning of school buses. She would be great fun at an abandoned train station. Jeff Goldblum has an interesting appearance as a man who ferries customers around on a motorized tricycle that really has to be seen; he has no lines, but is a definite presence linking the movie together as is Opal, and all threads converge on the two sections of concert footage at the end. , I haven't even touched on Haven Hamilton coming through, Suelynn's sad striptease, Linnea's goodbye, Tom's sheer assholery (as Altman says, Tom is sick)... One of the best American films. We must have been doing something right to last 200 years. (9.5 of 10)

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Fri Feb 01, 2013 1:48 pm
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Post Re: 67 Nashville
Suelynn's striptease remains one of the most tragic and heartbreaking scenes I've seen in American cinema. The simple fact that Altman pulled it off and it stands out as strongly as it does is a testament to his craft; her character has haunted me for a few years now, its as strong a single statement made in a very successful film full of them.

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Fri Feb 01, 2013 2:58 pm
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