A fictionalized former President Richard M. Nixon offers a solitary, stream-of-consciousness reflection on his life and political career - and the "true" reasons for the Watergate scandal and his resignation.
Nine short stories relocating the settings from Carver's Northwest to Los Angeles during a spraying of malathion brought on by a Medfly epidemic - intercut tales of disconnection and emotional emptiness. The stories concern variations upon the theme of Los Angeles angst --a happily married couple, Ann and Howard have to deal with the deep emotions felt when their child, Casey is struck by a car before his birthday and lapses into a coma, while the baker Andy of their child's neglected birthday cake sinks into a rage and torments them in their grief. Three men Stuart, Gordon and Vern leave on a much anticipated fishing trip, only to discover the drowned body of a nude woman floating in the river and decide to finish their fishing trip and ignore the corpse. A Los Angeles cop, Gene uses his badge as an excuse to cheat on his wife, Sherri. A pool cleaner Jerry resents his wife, Lois for her part-time job as a phone sex performer. A waitress, Doreen is devoted to her limousine driver ...Written by
Anne Archer and Tim Robbins have worked with Director Adrian Lyne. Archer starred in Fatal Attraction (1987), and Robbins starred in Jacob's Ladder (1990). See more »
When Honey and Gordon eye each other suspiciously after mixing up their photo envelopes, they try to find identifying information on each other. Gordon repeats the phone number he sees on Jerry Kaiser's car to remember it better, however the last 4 digits of number he is repeating differ from the actual phone number on Kaiser's car. See more »
After seeing Short Cuts and pondering over it as a cinematic experience, I feel a strange feeling that I haven't had before with any Robert Altman film: confusion. Normally, understanding that Altman's style is one of using confusion and misunderstandings to move the plot along, I was surprised when I reacted so positively to MASH, Nashville and The Player but not this.
The cast, overall, is quite good with Robert Downey Jr. and Madeline Stowe giving the best performances along with the great Jack Lemmon in perhaps the scene with the only real emotional pull as he describes the sad truth of why his family broke apart. Everyone else seems lost and misguided, floating around in this LA world Altman is exploring without much to do. They act out, involving themselves in affairs, drugs, their children's lives and the simple desire to survive each day but none of it particularly moved me. Even one plot line involving Bruce Davison and Andie MacDowell that should have had great emotional depth has almost none to speak of.
I have the greatest admiration for Altman and his ambitious vision of how to create interesting stories and characters. Yet, despite many claiming this to be one of his best works, I didn't feel at all that it was on par with MASH or Nashville as it seemed to meander and sag heavily in the middle until a final occurrence brought many of the characters together. This may be what Altman wanted; the meaningless and accidental nature of many of life's adventures that nevertheless still affect us. However, I wish it would have been made more cinematically stimulating.
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