Short Cuts (1993)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  1 October 1993 (Italy)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 33,548 users   Metascore: 79/100
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The day-to-day lives of a number of suburban Los Angeles residents.



(writings), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 17 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ann Finnigan
Howard Finnigan
Zane Cassidy ...
Casey Finnigan
Dr. Ralph Wyman
Lois Kaiser
Joseph C. Hopkins ...
Joe Kaiser
Josette Maccario ...
Josette Kaiser
Honey Bush


While helicopters overhead spray against a Medfly infestation a group of Los Angeles lives intersect, some casually, some to more lasting effect. Whilst they go out to concerts and jazz clubs and even have their pools cleaned, they also lie, drink, and cheat. Death itself seems never to be far away, even on a fishing trip. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

medfly | lie | drink | concert | jazz | See All (228) »


Short Cuts raises the roof on America See more »


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for graphic sexual language, and for nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

1 October 1993 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Vidas cruzadas  »

Box Office


$6,110,979 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(as Dolby Stereo)| (70 mm prints)


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The notorious bottom nude scene ultimately played by Julianne Moore deterred a lot of other actresses, including Madeleine Stowe, who switched roles in the film. Ironically, Stowe's new part required nudity too, though it was topless, rather than bottomless. See more »


When Paul and Howard are sitting in the hospital cafeteria, the food items on the table keep changing between shots. See more »


Gene Shepard: That was a 35 dollar belt!
See more »


Referenced in The 66th Annual Academy Awards (1994) See more »


Imitation of a Kiss
Composed by Roy Nathanson (as Nathanson), David Cale (as Cale), Marc Ribot (as Ribot)
Performed by The Low Note Quintet
See more »

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User Reviews

Altman's greatest?
18 September 2003 | by (Chapel Hill, NC, USA) – See all my reviews

When Altman is good he's among the greatest, and SHORT CUTS is among his best (M*A*S*H, BREWSTER McCLOUD, NASHVILLE). Adapted from Raymond Carver's collection of stories, SHORT CUTS offers a roving, restless glimpse into the lives of several Los Angelinos. The characters aren't completely real - in an 'I-can-relate-to-these-people' sense (I never expected this from this movie anyway), but are presented in a slightly hyperreal sense with Altman highlighting the everyday lives of characters who try valiantly to maintain their public personas (cutting across class boundaries in the process), even when things are spinning out of control beneath the surface (literally symbolized by the ending, though at least he didn't stoop to throwing in a rain of frogs...).

Los Angeles is famously mocked as a place that's all surface and no depth (see ANNIE HALL), and the slight exaggerations seen here characters plays with this, even as the isolation and instability of certain characters humanizes them. Through it all there's plenty of humor - though, as is usual with Altman, even the humor packs a wallop. Annie Ross' deadpan complaint gets to the heart of it all: "I hate L.A.

  • all they do is snort coke and talk." The irony in such nastiness

becomes a bit more apparent when you consider where that assessment is coming from, within Altman's tragi-comic variant upon the notion that California's trends become America's truisms a decade or two down the road.

There are so many great moments here - Chris Penn's growing befuddlement (and seething, simmering murderous anger) with his wife's phone sex operator job; Tom Waits and Lily Tomlin as a boozy working class couple; Peter Gallagher and Frances MacDormand's marriage, collapsed into tantrums and furniture vandalism; the Tim Robbins/Huey Lewis confrontation; Jack Lemmon, Julianne Moore and Matthew Modine all deliver strikingly memorable performances. Every time I watch this, I get something new out of it - though it requires a bit of patience, SHORT CUTS is really worth checking out.

36 of 52 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Short Cuts - Andie McDowell's responses suebeer
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