Quick recap:This is a satirical film about……Nashville. There are a billion different characters and story lines which I’m not even going to attempt to go into.
Fun (?) fact: Almost all the dialogue throughout the movie is improvised. Also, all actors singing were required to write and perform their own original songs.
My thoughts: I’m not sure where to begin on this review because frankly, I’m not entirely sure what I just watched. IMDb says this movie is in the drama genre but there is satire so I should’ve laughed, right? Or at least shook my head and quietly mumbled, ‘good job, Altman. You get it.’? I think my issue with the ‘satire’ label is that I have no concept of what life was like then. Director Robert Altman tried to capture what America was going through in 1975- the end of Vietnam War as well as the Watergate scandal, and then the bicentennial celebration in 76 which was supposed to honor the morals that the US was founded on. So, in the sense that I am an adult with critical thinking skills I get the point but I don’t really get it because I wasn’t alive then. In this instance, the movie’s core was lost on me but for someone older I could imagine it really having an impact and bringing back memories of that time.
So what I’m left with is a story about Nashville. Kind of. As mentioned above, there are so many story lines and characters that it mostly seems chaotic. The characters interact with each other and show up at various events together but they aren’t best friends or anything. I spent the first 2 hours trying to find a connection and then waiting for a big moment but it didn’t come until the very end. The ending is a twist and sort of ties everything together but not really. As an example, one of the characters is a soldier who keeps popping up around another character, Barbara Jean. He is shown in all scenes with her, even as just a face in the crowd in some instances. It is later revealed that his mom once saved Barbara Jean from a fire and wanted her son to find her. That’s it. That was the climax for that story line.
Other story lines- in fact, almost all of the story lines- are bleak and sad. There’s Sueeleen who can’t sing but since she’s hot she gets booked into a big gig. Once the people hear her they start to boo. She is then talked into a strip tease because that’s what the audience really came for. Another sad character is Mr. Green, whose wife is in the hospital. He spends the movie trying to hunt down his niece who would rather visit with boys than her sick aunt, who later dies. It seemed as if Altman was making fun of the country music scene but even his most famous character Haven Hamilton is pretty much what I would expect a country star to act like. I think I just didn’t get this movie or its importance. Moving on.
Final review: 2/5. It also annoys me that so many stars were in this movie. No reason why, but I think it added to the overall chaos
Up next: Muriel’s Wedding