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Just saw this and thought it was fantastic! Immediately marked it as favorite..
A 3-hour web of incident loosely based on Raymond Carver's stories. It's like The Player or Nashville, but using the middle class, and it's at once tragic, darkly funny and elliptical. The huge cast (which includes such diverse actors as Julianne Moore, Jack Lemmo and Lyle Lovett) are connected in large and small ways, and their stories hold some truth. Behavioral truth is important to Altman, and that can be seen in how he uses casual nudity in a non-sexual way, just to show how couples, for example, are at ease with each other (and only once is it distracting, or perhaps we are made to feel the scene's discomfort). What I loved about this film is that it's about what we don't know. What we as an audience don't know and have to fill in with our imaginations, and what the characters don't know and how it motivates the mistakes they make in the piece
Stylistically, it's true, 90s Altman is a bit made-for-TV. But he does have a very natural way of drawing a good story out of his actors, and I'm never disappointed with his efforts. On the other hand, I have still yet to watch an Altman film that I flat out love.
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In 9 official lists
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This movie ranks #35 in Venice Film Festival - Golden Lion
This movie ranks #288 in The Criterion Collection
This movie ranks #424 in Halliwell's Top 1000: The Ultimate Movie Countdown
This movie ranks #469 in Sight and Sound 2012 - Combined List
This movie ranks #485 in They Shoot Pictures, Don't They?
This movie ranks #813 in The Guardian's 1000 Films to See Before You Die
This movie ranks #825 in TimeOut's 1000 Films to Change Your Life
This movie ranks #852 in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
This movie ranks #937 in Have You Seen? A Personal Introduction to 1,000 Films