Short Cuts

Short Cuts ★★★★★

how we’re all compatible through our incompatibility. a film that is defined by its characters and their imperfections. somehow finds the poetry and rhythm of everyday life amongst loosely connected strangers. I’m glad I didn’t watch this film until now, as I probably wouldn’t have appreciated this even just a few months ago. the transitions in the story, especially the ones that used symbols or topics, were so brilliant. Altman and co. really made some magic happen here, and it’s not even so much as something that’s technically complex. it’s just that every single one of its simple details and characteristics are executed to perfection. Lily Tomlin and Lili Taylor in the same movie! and they’re related! Tim Robbins is such a scumbag here, it’s great. Huey Lewis, Buck Henry, and Fred Ward are arguably worse scumbags—their exploits are not as easy to digest. Andie Macdowell (“There are no more birthdays”) brings so much emotion to her role, Jack Lemmon is great as always though I honestly wouldn’t even say it’s a top five favourite performance here for me. that scene of Lily Tomlin trying to console Casey was real sad, especially considering its direct influence on the eventual tragedy later on. Julianne Moore was already my fav actress before this and her work here definitely adds to the list. and this is just the performers! there’s plenty of standout scenes ranging from hilarious (the photo switch up), to uncomfortable (everything about the fishing trip), to tragic (the two deaths that occur), and confusion (that Chris Penn scene at Griffith Park...sheesh). there are deeply profound truths about humans contained within this story. the only complaint I can even come up with is that it doesn’t exactly plumb the Chris Penn-Jennifer Jason Leigh story to its adequate depths; there’s a lot left unsaid in their minimal screen time together, even if it does lead to that aforementioned shocking Griffith Park scene. one of the more brilliant aspects to Short Cuts is how it addresses the casual, and in some cases destructive, misogyny most of its male characters display. it also does a great job in showing how the women are not only affected by it, but also how they react to it, ranging from confrontation to suppressing or excusing it. and the Tom Waits character is a great example! I was initially a big fan of the relationship dynamic between he and Tomlin. but as the film progresses, and some uncomfortable truths about him are hinted at (by Lili Taylor’s character), it becomes tougher to really like them both; especially interesting if you consider the role that kids play in each of their respective stories: Tom Waits’s character’s implied mistreatment of Lili Taylor, and Lily Tomlin’s (for lack of a better term) run-in with Casey.

I not only love this movie because of all its thematic and technical achievements, but also because it’s kinda inspiring. that something like this, delivered in such a calm but assured way, can succeed. Altman was incredible. 

loved every single minute of it.

one last thing: I think that was Alex Trebek.

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