O.C. and Stiggs ★★★½

This is the kind of film that puts all those nostalgic 70s and 80s coming-of-age comedies to shame.

So much anarchic criticism of bourgeois America while embracing all the spontaneity of youth that really isn’t expressed enough in cinema, only Altman’s signature style can do it justice. Altman is maybe one of America’s best filmmakers, the way he can produce a scene as if its on a stage and almost consciously zoom and drift throughout it is the main contribution he has made to Hollywood’s limited transcendental style, I’m always drawn to Altman’s scene settings the way I am with Yasujiro Ozu’s, only Altman is more in tune with the craziness that 1970s America was (hot on its reactionary heels post Vietnam) compared to Ozu’s deep rooted influence of Zen Buddhism as means to redirect post war Japan to it’s mono no aware. Altman’s uncanny ability to express everything at once with everyone talking over each other and introducing scenes almost parallel in time with people doing the same thing, gives a weird fast paced transience; like western society is constantly competing with the vacuum of itself, mostly saying a lot but achieving nothing. Altman has us seeing this hustle bustle of modern life almost as an essay on anthropology, displaying our baseless self righteousness and the simultaneous retreat from it.

There’s some rich performances in this movie, aside from the guys who play OC and Stiggs, Dennis Hopper dutifully appears as if returning from his term in Apocalypse Now, a borderline madman veteran that only he alone can play. King Sunny Ade provides a joyous free spirited performance that centres the film beautifully, I had never seen videos of him before. Also the grandfather that spews horrific things about his former job as a cop is hilarious, not to mention the flamboyant teacher that has a closeup just before a cut in the film that made me giggle for minutes.