Mar 27, 2010

March Madness supplement: Robert Altman

My esteemed colleague, The Man From Porlock, is running Altman's oeuvre through a 32-film set of brackets. Already on the cutting room floor are Quintet, Dr. T and the Women, Fool for Love, Ready to Wear, Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean, and HealtH, The Gingerbread Man, O.C. & Stiggs, Vincent & Theo, Kansas City, A Perfect Couple, Streamers, Images, Beyond Therapy, Brewster McCloud and Thieves Like Us. His round two results are as follows:—
A late-game injury to Neve Campbell helped Nashville overcome The Company, while A Prairie Home Companion caught Tanner '88 looking past the primary and pulled off a minor upset. McCabe & Mrs. Miller ignored Dick Nixon's epithets and handily defeated Secret Honor; on the other hand, the wacky surgeons of M*A*S*H paid a steep price for their hangovers and were stunned by Cookie's Fortune. Another major upset: a few punches to the gut were all Popeye needed to knock off Gosford Park. Short Cuts survived a tight contest with California Split. And the heavily favored The Player rewrote the script to the underdog hopes of A Wedding. Elite Eight, Key Matchups: Will Barbara Jean meet the Angel of Death when Nashville takes on A Prairie Home Companion? And how will team captains Philip Marlowe and Griffin Mill try to outsmart each other when The Long Goodbye squares off against The Player in what Variety is already hyping as "The Battle of L.A."? Stay tuned!
The gap between Altman's good ones and his bad ones is so noticeable that a lot of these decisions make themselves. However: Popeye beats Gosford Park? Somebody must have slipped something into his spinach since the last time I looked that film hummed to high heaven. It little matters, since it comes up against Short Cuts in the next round. As for Cookie's Fortune, a film which needs help getting up and downstairs, beating the coltish sprezzatura of M.A.S.H., I'm foxed. M.A.S.H would surely have given McCabe and Mrs Miller a good run for its money in the next round; against Cookies Fortune, on the other hand, the world's most loving cinematic tribute to the color brown will probably prevail. Prediction: this is coming down to Nashville versus the Player.

1 comment:

  1. I was as stunned by those upsets as you were, Tom. Suffice to say Popeye caught the servants of Gosford Park napping. As for Cookie's Fortune, it may seem geriatric on the surface, but rumor has it Glenn Close may have spiked something in the surgeons' drinks. In either case, neither is as stunning as Northern Iowa knocking off Kansas.

    Thanks for the fun shout-out.