The Robert Altman Rave: One of the greats is gone

One of the greats is gone. Robert Altman has died at age 81. If he had only directed 5 films ("M*A*S*H", "Nashville", "The Player", "Short Cuts" and "Gosford Park") he'd still be one of the greatest and most original directors of all time, but he made many other fantastic films as well. Of the 15 or so Altman films I've seen so far, I still enjoy "The Player" the most, even if "Nashville" and "M*A*S*H" were clearly, in their use of large ensemble casts, overlapping dialogue and loosely interconnected stories, the most original and revolutionary of his many films... or of any films made over the past four decades, for that matter.

 

 Like Scorsese, Altman has never won an Oscar for any of the movies he's directed (though he did receive a Lifetime Achievement Oscar earlier this year). Directors with just 5% as much innovation, imagination, talent and brilliance have won Oscars, but all five times that Altman was nominated he lost - again, just like Marty. I mean, the guy who directed "Rocky" won a Best Director Oscar. The guy who directed "The Sound of Music" also won. Don't get me going on the idiocy involved in some of these choices.
 
Anyhow, anyone who's a fan of film but is not already a fan of Altman should definitely check out those 5 films I mentioned above. Start with "The Player", a fantastic and hilarious satire of Hollywood, then go from there. Few filmmakers have battled so hard to stay true to their art. Robert Altman will truly be missed.
 
Mike Cowie
Tuesday, November 21st, 2006