Yes I know everybody and his brother has already written about Robert Altman, but what the hey. His movies were like nobody else’s. This is the end of an era.
My favorite movies of his were two of his lesser-known ones. Brewster McCloud was Altman’s next movie after MASH. I don’t remember much about it, but I was really moved by it when I saw it in 1971. The only specific scene I remember is when Sally Kellerman wants to prevent a certain picture from being developed. She barges into the darkroom where they’re developing the film. She turns on the lights and says “oh, I thought this was the ladies’ room.” Funny, the trivia that stays with you for decades.
Short Cuts wasn’t lesser known maybe, but it was less popular and acclaimed than MASH and Nashville. Short Cuts is as “Americana” as you can get. Even though the setting is modern (as of 1993) L.A., historians will be holding this movie up next to the works of Mark Twain, William Faulkner and Tennessee Williams.
The movie lasts three hours but it's riveting. It'll be over before you know it. Like most of Altman’s movies, it jumps all over the place. It’s hard to keep track of all the characters and how they’re connected. Every emotional button gets pushed — humor, sadness, joy, fury, hope, you name it — sometimes all at the same time. While you’re trying to remember who this person is and how he/she relates to that person, you’re on the wickedest emotional roller coaster ride of your life.