Friday, October 14, 2011

Top Ranked Films of Robert Altman

Robert Altman
(7 titles, tied for 17th, 33rd in pts with 19243)

These are all the films of Robert Altman that made the top 1000 in our 2011 update of the Top Ranked 1000 Films on the Net, all polls.

1. Nashville (1975) #224
2. McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971) #303
3. MASH (1970) #333
4. The Player (1992) #368
5. Short Cuts (1993) #446
6. Long Goodbye, The (1973) #547
7. Gosford Park (2001) #593

Not quite in the top 1000
8. Three Women (1977) #1207
9. California Split #1958


Not a heavyweight, Altman does make interesting and sophisticated films, especially The Player, both a satire of the movie production industry and of murder films as well, as a high powered Hollywood producer gets involved in both. This film has cameos from the most stars ever assembled, and I counted 16 Oscar winners somewhere in the cast, including lead star Tim Robbins. The Player should be #1 here, not Nashville.

MASH is the quintessential military comedy – there aren’t many! I guess it’s no Dr. Strangelove, but still, this is far better than the tepid and preachy tv series it spawned. How can you not like a film with lines like “bring me the tall sultry blonde with the pouty lips!” And Sally Kellerman’s rant, “This is not a hospital, this is an insane asylum!”

McCabe and Mrs. Miller is one of the more interesting westerns ever made, more of a modern-style story featuring songs from folk rocker Leonard Cohen (nice choices too, they fit the film), and a darker, more expressionist tale compared to classic John Ford type westerns. Likely enhanced by choosing Warren Beatty and Julie Christie as the romantic leads, they work well together here and each is oddly credible as western pioneers who become business partners in a brothel and cardhouse.

All the others are worth seeing: Nashville, Short Cuts, Three Women, Gosford Park, The Long Goodbye – none are must-see classics for me, like MASH and The Player, but all have their merits, hence their listing here. Three Woman especially should be ranked among these, it’s an underrated eccentric character study – and was also Shelly Duvall’s first film, as Altman found her at a party prior to the films shooting in Texas! Gosford Park is borderline top 1000 for me, ok but not compelling, same with Short Cuts.

My favorite Altmans:
1- The Player
2- MASH
3- McCabe and Mrs. Miller
4- Three Women
5- Nashville
6- The Long Goodbye
7- Short Cuts

See the full list of top ranked 100 directors here: Top Ranked 100 Directors, 2011 Edition

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