Monday, July 23, 2012

Movie Review of Nashville

The 59th movie on AFI's list is the Robert Altman film Nashville.  It's a typical Altman film with a giant ensemble cast, realistic dialogue and a rambling plot.  It follows a few days in Nashville's country and gospel music industry in the 1970's. 
I wasn't a huge Robert Altman fan before I saw this film, and I'm still not.  You would think that with realistic characters and authentic-sounding dialogue, a film would be interesting.  But Nashville is not.  I would even say that it is unspeakably dull.  Because the camera's attention wanders in and out of characters' conversations and doesn't cut during the boring parts, my attention span did the editing for Robert Altman by drifting in and out of the movie.  Things my wife was doing, the antics of household cats, the weather, and lint between my toes at various times were more interesting to me than the action on-screen. 

The movie's music is meant to be a snapshot of the real Nashville's music in the 1970's.  And boy-howdy, country music was in a bad place back then.  On the scaffolding of cowboy ballads, folk music and songs about unfaithful wives was built a teetering Babylon of maddening pretention where untrained singers screeched above full orchestras, when early synthesizers beeped and booped next to the howl of slide guitar, when nauseating, nasal male voices told you in no uncertain lyrics exactly what to think.  The lumbering adult-contemporary beast opened wide its maw, gobbled Hank Williams Jr. and took a shit on 70's culture.  That rhinestone-encrusted piece-a'-shit was country music from this era. 

Nashville is many things bad.  It's a black comedy that isn't very funny.  It's a snapshot of a musical genre that deserves infamy and scorn.  It's another reason I have to curse Robert Altman's name and progeny, and yet another selection from the supposed 70's golden age of cinema that just bores not just the hell, snot and shit out of me, but the lymph, earwax and spinal fluid. 

In conclusion: Fuck.  Nashville. 
1/2 a repetative refrain of "It Don't Worry Me" out of 100

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