January 31, 2017


Review #900: Nashville.

David Arkin (Norman), Barbara Baxley (Lady Pearl), Ned Beatty (Delbert Reese), Karen Black (Connie White), Ronee Blakley (Barbara Jean), Timothy Brown (Tommy Brown), Keith Carradine (Tom Frank), Geraldine Chaplin (Opal), Robert DoQui (Wade), Shelley Duvall (L. A. Joan), Allen Garfield (Barnett), Henry Gibson (Haven Hamilton), Scott Glenn (Pfc. Glenn Kelly), Jeff Goldblum (Tricycle Man), Barbara Harris (Albuquerque), David Hayward (Kenny Frasier), Michael Murphy (John Triplette), Allan F. Nicholls (Bill), Dave Peel (Bud Hamilton), Cristina Raines (Mary), Bert Remsen (Star), Lily Tomlin (Linnea Reese), Gwen Welles (Sueleen Gay), Keenan Wynn (Mr. Green), and Thomas Hal Phillips (Hal Phillip Walker) Directed by Robert Altman

Nashville is quite an experience, that much is for sure. It takes place over the course of five days, and yet it still manages to have one of the biggest assemblages of cast that work together to make for such an interesting movie of expression. There is no real main character, nor is there ever a moment where the film loses balance over what it wants to be: a film with people as diverse in nature and as interesting as the city it sets itself in. Even some of the settings (such as the Grand Ole Opry and the Parthenon in Nashville that is used for the climax) seem to reach out as their own character, with their own kind of blemishes just like these characters. For me, my favorites in the film were not so much because of likable they were, but because of how interesting they managed to be, with Beatty, Blakley, Chaplin, Gibson, and Tomlin being the big standouts who really have their own noticeable traits and flaws that one can see in themselves or others. The scene where Tomlin and Beatty are with their (deaf) children is especially telling in making these characters significant with a good degree of subtlety. The characters don't veer too much into cliches in part because they seem so real and seem so authentic to the vision of the film.

Even minor characters (like Welles or Black) are ones that we can still relate to, even if they aren't as high up on the success trail. Goldblum (in a voiceless but constant role) is also pretty memorable, in part because of the tricycle he rides throughout the film. DoQui and Welles certainly make a good pair together in the time they share together on screen. Phillips (and the dialogue that his voice is heard from for a good part of the film) is good in conveying the reach of his character without having to show him. There are so many scenes with their own range of emotion and feeling, where even a scene where Chaplin is talking poetic about buses in a junkyard is great. The film has a great deal of quality music (all done live, and by the actors themselves), all of the songs working intricately with the scene it goes with, such as with "I'm Easy"a key standout, sung by Keith Carradine, who carries the song with the right sense of tension and emotion (fun fact: this song won the Oscar for Best Original Song that year). The film doesn't try to resolve the plot threads in a concise manner, letting it up to the viewer to see where the path of these characters go from there, especially with a climax that is great in its surprise and its final beat with the last song ("It Don't Worry Me"). Nashville is a movie that does not try to bait and switch the realities of the time it was made in, and its impact can still be felt and related to over four decades after its release.

I hope you enjoyed this review, the 900th review done since this show began 2,234 days (over six years) ago. It is obvious (to me anyway) that Movie Night has progressed significantly in terms of quality and the kind of film that gets a shot at being covered. Though the show has gone on its own kind of pace, I hope that Movie Night continues to evolve in a positive way and that you all continue to enjoy this, even if in a small way. This is still a good hobby of mine, but it is also an excellent hobby to do every so often. Thank you all.

Overall, I give it 10 out of 10 stars.

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