The Player

The Player ★★★★★

“Movies: Now more than ever!” goes the cheery slogan of the movie studio at the center of Robert Altman’s 1992 black comedy, which marked his return to the spotlight after more than a decade of toiling in indies, television, and stage work — after the perceived failure of his 1980 'Popeye' adaptation got him basically blackballed by the major studios. Altman got his revenge with this scathing portrait of a murderously insecure movie exec (Tim Robbins), and lined up dozens of actors and filmmakers to chomp on the hand that feeds them in cameo roles. But it’s not just a good Hollywood satire (and one that’s only grown more perceptive); Altman took the opportunity to jab beyond the Hollywood power structure at the spirit of corporate soullnessness that had infected it during his exile. And, bonus, it’s funny as hell.