During a future ice age, dying humanity occupies its remaining time by playing a board game called "Quintet." For one small group, this obsession is not enough; they play the game with living pieces ... and only the winner survives.
A down on his luck gambler links up with free spirit Elliot Gould at first to have some fun on, but then gets into debt when Gould takes an unscheduled trip to Tijuana. As a final act of ... See full summary »
May is waiting for her boyfriend in a run-down American motel, when an old flame turns up and threatens to undermine her efforts and drag her back into the life that she was running away from. The situation soon turns complicated.
Harry Dean Stanton
This is an insane and fast-paced romantic comedy about a bizarre dinner date among Bruce (Goldblum) and Prudence (Hagerty), and their lunatic therapists, and Bruce's jealous, gun-wielding ... See full summary »
Two convicts break out of Mississippi State Penitentiary in 1936 to join a third on a long spree of bank robbing, their special talent and claim to fame. The youngest of the three falls in ... See full summary »
A fictionalized former President Richard M. Nixon offers a solitary, stream-of-consciousness reflection on his life and political career - and the "true" reasons for the Watergate scandal and his resignation.
A Goofie But Charming Altman Satire of "New-Age" Politics
HealtH by Robert Altman is probably the goofiest film made by the master of improvisation cinema. It is a satire on the many organized associations which have emerged in the modern world concerning better living. Think of the many associations which are linked to industries, such as in sports, food, and medicine. So many of these associations become political entities in and of themselves, not just influencing the politics without but also within. Altman's film pokes fun with the sharpness and sting of a fireplace poker to reveal the insanity of the politics within these associations. In this case, the organization is a fictional health-food organization in which a new president must be elected at their annual convention being held at a Florida hotel.
Three women with polarized demeanors, sensibilities and comportment are vying for the top job. And each has their own strange quirkiness. Gloria Burbank (Carol Burnett), who works as a deputy consultant for the US President, is the least confident and least vocal of the three. However, her libido becomes overly active when frightened. In an initial television interview with Dick Cavette (playing himself) along with the two others, she's terrified of the spotlight and constantly gropes Cavette. Isabella Garnell (Glenda Jackson) is the most sober of the three. She is dedicated with a sense of what "should be done" in terms of future plans, but she's not as appealing as her two rivals, barely cracking a smile. Even her female assistant regards the other rivals as "rock stars". Esther Brill (Lauren Becall) is the most flamboyant and outwardly vocal of the three. She claims not only that she's 83 years old but her dog is almost 41. (Burbank whispers to Garnell , asking how many 41 is in dog years, to which Garnell replies that the dog should be dead.) Brill's main gesture is a kind of one-arm salute which, upon occasion, causes her hand to stay in the air, and she loses consciousness.
From the start, we see the nuttiness of the whole operation. The hotel has been decorated like a quasi-Disneyland. People are dressed in costumes of plants and other food-stuffs. The audience and participants are treating the gathering like some cultural event, and yet, it's only about health food. As the film progresses, we see the inner politics, scandals, and back-biting of an organization which is supposed to be centered upon improving people's lives.
This is certainly the nuttiest film in the Altman Canon. The overlapping dialog is ever-present, and there is even overlapping gestures and behaviors. If you can understand Altman's point about health and well-being organizations being overtly political among their own people, this film is a hoot. Everything is applied with the subtlety of a sledge-hammer, but Altman has never been one to shirk from the controversial. It's a riot in a certain Altman way, but not the kind of comedy which is for all tastes.
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