Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Director Robert Altman dead at 81

The Player was my favorite movie of Altman's.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Player (1992) is a movie that tells the story of Griffin Mill (Tim Robbins), a Hollywoodstudio executive who believes he is being blackmailed by a screenwriter whose script he once rejected. It was directed by Robert Altman using a screenplay by Michael Tolkin based on his own novel. The movie's best known feature is its more than 60 cameo appearances by major Hollywood actors, producers and directors, all playing themselves.

The film, loaded with movie references and Hollywood insider jokes, is a critique of the Hollywood movie business, which treats artists poorly and sacrifices quality for commercial success. It might seem surprising that so many big Hollywood names agreed to play themselves in the film, but Altman himself admits that "it is a very mild satire" and it offended no-one.[1]

Altman had had his troubles with the Hollywood studio system in the '70s after a number of studio films (McCabe & Mrs. Miller, The Long Goodbye) lost money or had trouble finding audiences despite the critical praise and cult adulation they received. Altman continued to work outside the studios in the late '70s and throughout the '80s, often doing small-budget projects or filmed plays to keep his hand in. The Player was a comeback to making films in Hollywood, although it was made for Fine Line Features rather than a major studio. It ushered in a new period of filmmaking for Altman, who continued on to an epic adaptation of Raymond Carver's short stories, Short Cuts (1993). Altman won a number of European best-director awards for The Player (the BAFTA, best director at the Cannes Film Festival) and he was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe as best director (the film won the Golden Globe for best "comedy or musical"). Tolkin received an Edgar Award for Best Motion Picture Screenplay.

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