THE PLAYER
DIRECTOR: ROBERT ALTMAN
USA 1992
CINEMATOGRAPHY: JEAN LAPINE
CAST: TIM ROBBINS, GRETA SCACCHI, FRED WARD, WHOOPI GOLDBERG, PETER GALLAGHER, BRION JAMES, CYNTHIA STEVENSON, LYLE
LOVETT, ANGELA HALL, DINA MERRILL
ONE WORD: It's Hollywood ... and now Robert Altman can do anything he wants!


I finally saw this film -- and didn't fall asleep on it, though I did get bored a few times. Feels like the National Enquirer of the story telling technique, creating a movie script. And while Robert Altman deserves credit as a good director, and clever activist, his work still is a bit on the boring side, trying to make the best of it. While there is a lot to snob at in Hollywood, there is also a lot which was left behind, and not even touched. Methinks there is more in this movie that didn't get shown. Not a single casting couch....

With several digs at the studios, Robert Altman finally found a way to make films in America that will make enough money that it will keep the bastards that hate him at bay, since money is the rule. A studio executive has a job that is not pleasant by any means, but he manages to get through though his methods are not at all honorable, but then, as he says, neither is the job. In the process, he manages to kill a writer that has been harassing him, and take up with his girlfriend. And when he manages to slip away (as so much of Hollywood does -- wonder what the justice system would look like with the Beverly Hills police on duty in this country) he even gets someone to come up with a story about his adventures with a twist.

While, a fun movie to watch, with several pumps at the local police -- this is the Pasadena department, not the downtown L.A. department --, the film manages to keep things interesting, though not at the pace of stars which films like IT'S A MAD, MAD, MAD ..WORLD does, or even ROGER RABBIT for that matter.

Robert Altman's main focus of attention seems to be the jerks who decide which films get done, rather than the studios per se. And too many of those characters take on too many 'pitches' for ideas, rather than actual scripts, or 'test' shoots, which could be less expensive. Instead, one see the political arena for the making of a film, with the underlying motive being the juggling act to see who can surpass who in the money department, and who can get who in trouble to save their own jobs.

What else is new..?? We have to put up with that everyday at work anyway.... but there are some funny bits, like Burt R. discussing why he thinks his bosses are A.............., even though he is one of the richest, and highest paid stars in the business. And several other characters walking in and out all the time, just to give us a feeling that something is happening all the time, which in Hollywood always is, and it usually is not about the film A or B is doing. If you live nearby, you know all this. If you don't, you could be in for a nasty surprise.

The film is fun, much like any other Altman project, which always manages to fit some satirical comments here and there. The acting is very good, specially Tim Robbins as the clever executive fighting for survival every day in his office.

3 GIBLOONS

 

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