The Long Goodbye ★★★★

Urtext for a certain type of hazy, goofball, shambolic, eccentric neo noir. The Big Lebowski, Inherent Vice, and Under the Silver Lake are descendants of what Robert Altman was doing here.

I've read lots of praise for the unflinching attention of violence towards women. Namely the scene where a goon smashes a coke bottle on his girlfriend's face to intimidate Marlowe. Later she is shown with a big bandage on her visage. But that's ripped straight out of The Big Heat -made twenty years prior- when Lee Marvin's goon throws a pot of scalding hot coffee at damsel Gloria Grahame's face. Later she is shown with a big bandage on her visage. It's ok with me. Films don't exist in a vacuum. Let's just not pretend the original noirs were entirely devoid of violence (inc. violence towards women). Maybe some folks haven't seen The Big Heat?

Not sure why Altman used "Hooray for Hollywood" at the end when he could have used another iteration of "The Long Goodbye" theme song that amusingly weaves in and out using various styles (supermarket muzak, lounge piano, mariachi). "Hooray for Hollywood" is one of those ironic needle drops that Altman undoubtedly thought was more cute and clever than it is. Minor quibble. Everything else? It's ok with me.

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