Brewster McCloud (1970)
Pssst, want to check out Brewster McCloud in our new look?
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It might be true to say I respect Robert Altman's bizarre comedy, Brewster McCloud, more than I actually enjoy it. I understand that it takes its cue from the notion of man flying and thus disrupting the natural order. It's the myth of Icarus as anti-establishment Nixon-era movie. Should man be able to fly? Or rather, be allowed to? The title character means to, but like all the other characters in the film, failure awaits. In his case, he seems to have been chosen, and has the protection of, a guardian angel, but forces around him (including Shelley Duvall in her introductory role) are intent on making him fall from grace and be denied transcendence. Those who stand in his way are seemingly killed by birds, but the police subplot (which stars a detective called Shaft a year before Richard Roundtree would incarnate the indelible character), which ends on a tedious car chase, is a kind of dead end itself. But overreaching and failure are the themes, from the MGM lion to the carnival end credits sequence, and I think I'm allowed to ask whether the film itself overreached and fails. I think in this case, there's just too much going on, and Altman's interest in collage overwhelms the picture. We have the plot and subplots and messaging, but also intruding radio broadcasts AND cut-aways to René Auberjonois as an ornithology professor slowly turning into a bird to comment on the action. It's noisy, it's crazy, and you're not entirely sure there's a plot to hang the ideas on. Like I said, I do respect it for what it's trying to do more than enjoy it for what it actually does.
What a gloriously weird movie. It amazingly sets the templates for Nashville AND Popeye.
to see which of your friends have seen this movie!