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A different kind of L.A. Story
FilmOtaku22 March 2005
Robert Altman has never shied away from casting every actor known to mankind in his films, and this is certainly true with his 1993 film "Short Cuts", a film set in Los Angeles over the course of a couple of days. In terms of primary actors, ones that had a substantial enough part to merit a supporting tag, I count at least 22; but more impressive than the sheer number of the cast is the fact that the film does not suffer from character overload, nor do their intertwining stories (and they are all separated by no more than one or two degrees).

I started this review by going through each character and the story each brings to the table, but after about three paragraphs worth of explanation, it is clear that it is not only a bad idea, but probably counterproductive to the review itself. "Short Cuts" is simply about human relationships, all of which seem to be completely unhealthy. The beauty of Altman's script and direction is that this isn't imminently apparent in all cases. Something as subtle as a sigh and a minor roll of the eyes speaks volumes in a film this well done. The acting in the film is, to be expected, great in most cases. Andie MacDowell, though not quite as insipid as usual, is still pretty bad, but gems like Lyle Lovett, Peter Gallagher, Tom Waits (who I am really biased toward) and a fairly fresh and new Julianne Moore more than make up for any minor acting mishaps.

There are not many films that are so involved that I simply throw up my hands at the prospect of doing my standard summary review for them, but "Short Cuts" is one of them. The script is compelling enough to easily sit through all 187 minutes of the film, the ending doesn't disappoint, and the film contains a cool jazz score. If you're a fan of ensemble films, this should be on your list. If you're an Altman fan, this should be on your short list because I consider it to be one of his best. 8/10 --Shelly
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Six degrees of separation
csm2318 May 2002
In front of a group of fishermen, a waitress bends over for a slab of butter. They take in the image like hungry wolves gulping meat, as her skirt rises high, revealing everything. They like what they see, so they ask her, `Can we have more butter, please?' The double meaning is obvious.

In a nightclub, a singer languishes over a sultry little song about `a good, punishing kiss.' The conversation in the foreground -- ex-cons relating cruel, violent stories from prison -- moves to the rhythm of the jazz saxophone, a dissonant snare-drum-prose accompaniment to the song. It's a deliberate ambiguity that binds the viewer in the scene's artistic tension.

In an upscale home with a breathtaking view of the city of angels, a struggling artist is being questioned about her relationship with another artist. She's naked from the waist down, suggesting both sexual aggressiveness, and vulnerability, simultaneously. She's seductively defiant with her husband. She confesses to an affair; but she does so angrily, indignant for being asked. It's sweet and sour, light and dark, truthful but deceptive, all at once. More double entendres.

Robert Altman's Short Cuts weaves all these disconnected scenes together like common strands of rope. It's the interplay of opposites that firmly holds them all together. The title itself, `Short Cuts,' has dual meaning: it's an interconnected mixture of `short cuts,' as in `off the cutting room floor' or `film clips;' and, it's an unmistakable reference to the web of human life, the social short cuts between ourselves and everyone else, as in the famous `six degrees of separation,' which tells us that we are only six personal relationships away from everyone else in the world. Set in LA, this idea makes for a lovely irony: although the main characters are completely absorbed in their individual worlds, they are intimately connected to each other. They just don't know it.

Short Cuts is one of Altman's masterpieces. See it if you can.
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This then, is a rare gem: A Hollywood movie of artistic enormity.
Scorsese-26 March 1999
After watching this film one thing I was left with was a feeling of tremendous euphoria, a glowing feeling which lasted well into the next morning. I could not help but think that this collage of events in the lives of 22 people in sunny LA was realism. Not the harsh gritty realism of 'Taxi Driver', but a different realism. This movie is who we are, as people. This movie chronicles the emotions we may have when confronted with a persistent crank caller, or the lingering suspicion of a partner's affair. And the acerbic intelligence of the script is tempered with director Altman's stunning technical virtuosity.

The style is very pastiche, and one scene cuts to another, as the title suggests, with reckless abandon. This lends a very fresh and watchable quality to what is by any standards a long film. While most of the characters never meet, the movie is given shape by the connections between scenes. The connections are of two kinds: thematic connections for which the credit goes to the script, and also visual connections whereby the direction and editing employed by Altman allow him to create recurring imagery with which he weaves the sprawling, kicking constituent bits and pieces of this movie together. This style works very well indeed and at the end of the film, miraculously you are left not with the impression of having just watched a series of 'short cuts', but something entirely more holistic in nature.

There was not a false note in the acting and the star-studded cast did great justice to a remarkable script. The casting is flawless, from Tim Robbins' adulterous cop to Julianne Moore's adulterous painter. The camera-work is refreshing in its fluidity and control, transmitting an intense watchability. However many feelings there are in the human emotional vocabulary (and I am sure there are a fair few), it seems that 'Short Cuts' is somehow able, in the course of three hours, to display (in the actors) and evoke (in the audience), each and every one of them. For those who are of the belief that modern Hollywood is unable to produce films of artistic merit, watch this movie now or hold your peace forever.
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One of my all time favorite films.
nonexistent26 October 1999
Well, I've watched this film about seven times now, and I feel quite certain that I can add it to the list of my favorite films alongside Dr. Strangelove and The Red, White and Blue Trilogy.

The casting is flawless, with fantastic performances by Jennifer Jason Leigh, Julianne Moore, Peter Gallagher, Frances McDormand, Robert Downey, Jr. and many (I mean *many*) more. The camera floats around the world of these characters with perfection, tapping each on the shoulder and providing precious and oh-so-interesting insight into their happiness (or lack thereof, for the most part), sadness and their emotions.

See this film. You will not regret it. I have my fingers crossed for a special edition DVD of Short Cuts.
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"I Hate LA...all they do here is snort coke and talk."
Warning: Spoilers
The many residents of Robert Altman's "Short Cuts" do so much more than that: they lie, cheat, steal, kill, ache, long, burn-out, shine bright, fade in the background, sing, dance, drink, make love, screw, shout, scream, fight, and purge their souls-though few ever really listen or watch closely. "Short Cuts" is arguably Altman's finest film (with nods to "MASH," "Nashville," "The Player," and "Gosford Park"). It's also probably the best of the sub-genre of intertwining vignette films, the overlapping mosaics that Altman trail-blazed. It's odd, because had I seen "Short Cuts" before I viewed P.T. Anderson's "Magnolia" (which I loved upon first view but not so much the second time around), I would've realized that film was an eerie knockoff of this Altman classic--right down to the casting of Julianne Moore and Jack Lemmon. "Magnolia" is full of nervousness, operatic melodrama, and ham-fisted symbolism, whereas "Short Cuts" is full of smooth transitions, hyper-realism, and keen insights into human behavior. I'll take the earthquake at the end of "Short Cuts" over the raining frogs of "Magnolia" any day. Altman's film runs well over three hours and features nearly twenty main characters. As such, it's one of those movies where everyone will have their personal favorite bits and characters. I found Lori Singer's cello playing daughter of a booze-hound jazz singer, Anne Archer's empathy riddled clown, and Frances McDormand's young son who insists on telling everyone about how he feels about his toys (which are showered on him in the absence of real love) though no one ever pays him any direct attention, to be the most compelling. There's also some great bits involving a dog and Tim Robbin's adulterous cop, and a hilariously disturbing mix up at a photo hut involving Lilly Taylor and a fisherman. With Mr. Altman now passed, one wonders, will anyone ever be able to make a film like this again? Surely not. "Short Cuts" is nothing short of a masterpiece and a testament to Altman's unique brand of film-making and humanistic view of the misanthropic world he inhabited.
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A Brilliant expose on life in America
Stu-531 January 1999
Robert Altman has made a three hour work of art. It revolves around 22 characters, each with their own problems, and intertwines them via various occurrences. Each character is delightfully contrived, each plot point seamless.

Without spoiling anything, all that can be said about Short Cuts is that the satire is first class, the comedy is brilliant, the drama powerful and the character study impeccable. Do not miss this one if you're a fan of the drama genre.

Ten out of ten.
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4 stars
matt caccamo11 January 2001
Wonderful, beautifully acted film about lives interweaving in Los Angeles against the backdrop of an invading poisonous bug. Ensemble cast is perfect, with standout performances by Robbins and Downey Jr. Altman succeeds in bringing us a film examining the coincidence of everyday life that we are too busy to notice. Shows a keen sense for relationships and the hardships of loss.
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Altman's greatest?
David18 September 2003
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.
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Space Jazz
tedg18 March 2001
Warning: Spoilers
Spoilers herein.

Altman is uneven, and not all of his failures are interesting. But he does one thing better than anyone else. And so far as I know, he invented it. Most filmmakers start with someone else's vision, and then make it real. The better ones have their own vision, and the story is a framework for their art. But either way, the work is divided between the creative talent (the writer and director and other supporting trades) and the performers.

Altman does things the other way around. He starts with large groups of exceptionally talented actors, gives them little direction, shoots mountains of takes, and then weaves it all together. The life of the film emerges from the actors. Then Altman takes that motion, those rhythms and plays them against one another. It is as close as one can get to cinematic jazz, at least jazz from actors.

P T Anderson is first a writer. His primary creation is the script. So while `Magnolia' bears some superficial resemblance to `Short Cuts.' it is a completely different beast. Chamber music compared to jazz. A more apt comparison is to `The Thin Red Line,' which works with the same sort of jazz weave, except the focus in `Line' is on remembrances through sounds and voiceovers. Here the focus is on the immediate miniensembles.

This is quite simply one of the most important films of the decade.

It must be sort of a Rorschach test to report which characters impressed the most. In terms of the character for me it was Lori Singer's character. Strange. She really is playing the cello, and with passion. She really is playing something `totally, absolutely real, but not.' But her career otherwise seems to not have taken off.

Moore and Downey are among the best actors alive, and it really shows. Robbins, McDormand and Leigh sometimes are extraordinarily great, but not so here -- they apparently need guidance. Tomlin and Waits are a gas. What fun.

My only complaint is that sometimes Altman puts together shockingly long and complex tracking shots, and they are missing here. They would detract from the players.
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Well acted but emotionally lacking
bob the moo1 October 2001
A classic bit of Altman - the story of cross-cutting lives over several days in LA. Featuring an all-star cast featuring a host of great character actors including Tim Robins, Julianne Moore, Jennifer Jason Leigh to name a few.

The performances are wonderful without exception (even Andie McDowell does OK). The intertwining stories are interesting up until the end - three hours goes past almost effortlessly and unnoticed. My only problem with the film is the lack of any real emotional punch or meaning in all of the stories. The majority of the stories have the potential for strong emotions to draw the audience in but the majority don't let it out too much (like real life I suppose), the one story that does let the characters feel (the story of McDowell's child) is not that convincing. Some of the stories don't make a lot of sense and don't feel based in reality. Compared to Magnolia, Glengarry Glen Ross, 12 Angry Men and other ensemble pieces this engages on an interest level but lacks an emotional involvement. I know that this is often on critic's top-ten lists but I felt that interesting stories and great acting do not make up for the lack of an emotional centre to the film. And the conclusion makes very little sense in relation to one of the stories in particular.
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Among Altman's Best
gavin694224 July 2014
The day-to-day lives of a number of suburban Los Angeles residents.

In many ways, this film is a follow-up to Altman's "Nashville", another story of several people (twenty-four) going about their day in Nashville. How many characters are in this story of folks in Los Angeles? Probably about the same.

If anything, this story strikes me as better. Better scripted, for sure, and with much more mystery and suspense (and more dead bodies). We have an incredible cast: Tom Waits and Jennifer Jason Leigh steal the show, but Robert Downey, Tim Robbins, Chris Penn and a dozen others are amazing, too.
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overdone, underthought
carnivalofhell3 March 2003
In my opinion, "Short Cuts" is one of the most unwatchable films I have ever

seen. Altman took a series of Raymond Carver's most masterful stories (and one poem, I believe), made them into short films with some terrific actors, chopped each film into 30 second clips and threw them in a blender so they were

completely out of sequence. Watching "Short Cuts" is very much like watching

TV with someone who will not stop channel surfing; the moment cohesion

begins to fuse the various scattered moments together, the film breaks them

apart. The stories/chapters themselves would probably have been fine if they

had been left as individual segments (to attempt a little cohesion between

stories, some of Carver's separate characters were fused into one--Lily Tomlin who plays the wife in "They're Not You're Husband" is also the woman who hits the little boy with her car in "A Small Good Thing"--why Altman then chose to destroy narrative cohesion WITHIN the stories is beyond me), but with so much going on simultaneously, it's impossible to follow. Carver's writing motto was "No tricks"; in other words, he eschewed gimmicks and clever little devices and instead just wrote honest, sometimes brutally frank depictions of life as it is, warts and all. Altman's movie is one big gimmick, one long pointless trick. It's amazing to me that a movie combining several of my favorite things in the world- -Raymond Carver, Tom Waits, Lily Tomlin and a clown--could be so bad!

Another IMDB user commented that the movie seemed more like a big party for

the actors then something the viewer can appreciate and this seems to me to be a very apt point.
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Aged Well
juliano665 June 2008
This film really has gotten better with age- I saw it when it came out and even at 26 with one CA trip under my belt, I really wasn't mature enough to understand it. I felt like a lid had been opened up on a terrible nightmare(L.A.)and was better off unopened. Also, I thought it was kinda pathetic Huey Lewis agreed to whip out "lil' Huey" on screen-- showed how far he'd fallen. These sentiments haven't changed, but 15 years later I can really appreciate the subtle social and human commentary as well as the fascinating weave of stories and characters Shortcuts has to offer. Easily Altman's masterpiece and some of the best work from many of the illustrious cast. This film stands pretty much alone--Only thing it really reminds me of is Maupin's 'Tales of the City'. All in all Shortcuts still resonates and the helicopter-armada/earthquake elements give it that end-times feel which makes this movie somewhat eerily prophetic at times.
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This is arguably the best movie I have ever seen........
moowithme21 May 2000
If you haven't seen this film then check it out. It is so complex and all the characters are so thorough and rich. This also has one of the most honest scenes in American cinema. Julianne Moore and Madeline Stowe are brilliant as are Lily Tomlin and Tim Robbins. This is Robert Altman's best film by far.
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A 3-hour soap opera that feels twice as long
akepa_9820 January 2002
This film is cemented in my memory as the most excruciatingly miserable cinematic experience of my life. The film is nothing more than a glorified soap opera focusing on the petty lives of a throughly unlikeable and utterly uninteresting cast of characters. I went in to the theatre having no idea how loooonnngg this movie was (over 3 hours of pure hell). It was like the Energizer bunny - it just kept going, and going, and going, much to my horror - I was bored of this movie after the first half hour. After 2 hours of watching this drivel, I was desperately hoping for a nuclear apocalypse or some natural disaster to wipe out all the characters and end the movie. There actually is an earthquake in the film (at about the 2.5 hour mark or so), but unfortunately most of the characters survive it. By that point I wasn't sure I would survive the movie. Steer clear of this wretched film.
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Life imitates art.
lastliberal4 July 2007
I heard the news today, o boy. In Wichita, Kansas, land of Fred Phelps and boneheaded school boards, several customers in a convenience store walked over a woman who was stabbed and continued to looks for the chips and beer. One even took a picture of the dying woman with her cell phone camera.

One of the short stories in Altman's Short Cuts basically depicts the same incident. Fishermen can't be bothered to stop fishing to get a dead woman out of the water. One even shoots what looks like a whole roll of film of her naked body floating in the streams/lake/river, who knows? And, apparently only one cares - Fred Ward's wife, Anne Archer.

That is the theme that I felt throughout the film where Los Angeles residents were misunderstanding, resenting, deceiving, disappointing -- and even killing -- one another. They had loser lives, doing loser jobs, and they just seemed to float along in a fog of alcohol, uncaring about each other, drunk with their own concerns and problems.

It was pathetic, and depressing, and a masterpiece of American angst.

One to watch over and over.
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Worst adaptation ever.
nixnutz31 January 2001
I don't think that I can really be objective about this movie, but if I were I might say that it was simply over-long and boring. But having read all of the Raymond Carver stories that the film was based on I had hoped to like it. Altman took liberties with the plots and details of each of the stories, mangled them to fit into an intertwining structure, and added a particularly boring tale of his own. Carver's stories are compact and carry an incredible emotional impact and honesty, Altman replaces the details from the originals with some c**p from his own, less fertile, less insightful imagination and somehow loses all of their impact in the process.

It was a treat seeing Annie Ross, but still, just thinking about this movie makes me angry. I've seen worse movies, but this is my least favourite.

Keep in mind, you could read all 10 stories in half the time it takes to see this movie.
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Faulty From Start To Finish
thejohnhurst6 May 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is a disaster. There is not one single memorable performance by the cast of "stars". They walk through this movie like they are having a boil removed.

If you want to see a little boy happily running to school, get hit by a car, walk home injured and die, have at it. Criterion should be ashamed.

Of course there is the requisite sad sack waitress, a drunken husband, and a philandering cop. All starkly uninteresting characters. Oh yea, the cop takes the family dog and deposits him on the other side of town because he is tired of the barking and then gets the hots for a clown. This is reality? A former husband cuts up everything in his ex's house while a door to door salesman shampoos the rugs. More reality? Wow. This is the worst movie I have seen in years.
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One of the best films ever made 10/10
The_Wood10 March 2002
Short Cuts is Robert Altman's masterpiece. I find this film so compelling I revisit it quite often. The fact that this film has not been released on DVD yet is a shame. It's really hard to explain what Short Cuts is about -- or is it really about anything? Like most Altman films -- Short Cuts has a voyeuristic feel to it. It feels like we are eavesdropping on the most private moments of people's lives. With over 22 main characters -- that's a lot of people to get to know, but Short Cuts manages to make a memorable character out of every one of them. This is a truly great film. My favorite performance in the film: Either Lyle Lovett the baker or Tim Robbins as the cop.

Also features full frontal nudity by Julianne Moore. This movie has everything.
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For me, an underwhelming experience.
bobsgrock14 July 2010
After seeing Short Cuts and pondering over it as a cinematic experience, I feel a strange feeling that I haven't had before with any Robert Altman film: confusion. Normally, understanding that Altman's style is one of using confusion and misunderstandings to move the plot along, I was surprised when I reacted so positively to MASH, Nashville and The Player but not this.

The cast, overall, is quite good with Robert Downey Jr. and Madeline Stowe giving the best performances along with the great Jack Lemmon in perhaps the scene with the only real emotional pull as he describes the sad truth of why his family broke apart. Everyone else seems lost and misguided, floating around in this LA world Altman is exploring without much to do. They act out, involving themselves in affairs, drugs, their children's lives and the simple desire to survive each day but none of it particularly moved me. Even one plot line involving Bruce Davison and Andie MacDowell that should have had great emotional depth has almost none to speak of.

I have the greatest admiration for Altman and his ambitious vision of how to create interesting stories and characters. Yet, despite many claiming this to be one of his best works, I didn't feel at all that it was on par with MASH or Nashville as it seemed to meander and sag heavily in the middle until a final occurrence brought many of the characters together. This may be what Altman wanted; the meaningless and accidental nature of many of life's adventures that nevertheless still affect us. However, I wish it would have been made more cinematically stimulating.
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Staggering, profound, amazing
ahab-515 April 1999
Basically, there are two types of people in this world: Those who appreciate "Short Cuts" for the work of genius that it is, and those who miss the boat entirely. If you´ve ever felt that your tastes are a bit out of step with the mainstream, and that quirky characters and challenging ideas interest you more than explosions and predictability, then this might be a movie for you. If, on the other hand, you freak out because a film can be "depressing" or its characters "weird" or the length is more than 92 minutes, then don´t waste your time here.

But for those who belong to the first category and, for whatever reason, have not yet seen this masterpiece, then I urge you to do so as soon as possible. "Short Cuts" is a movie for the ages, a truly disturbing, funny, entertaining, profound and shocking vision of America at the close of the 20th Century. I recommend that you watch the film with someone whose intelligence you respect, because the chances are you will want to discuss this one for a long time after the closing credits are through.

Needless to say, 10 out of 10. "Short Cuts" is the standard against which others are judged.
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**** out of ****; Grade: A-
J-Crew13 January 2000
A sprawling, cohesive epic about living life in America. The huge cast participates gamely, with Altman eliciting terrific performances from nearly everyone. Long, yes, but worth every moment. Recognizable displays of humor, disgust, lust, and anger make this a pivotal document of late 20th century life.
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Snippets which translate to getting away with it!!
dataconflossmoor26 February 2007
This is without a doubt my favorite Robert Altman movie!!! The immense amount of acting talent in the film is incredible!! All of the different story lines pan out to whereby a myriad of instances effectively depict how people really are, and not how they perceive themselves to be!! The emotional augmentation of introverted feelings and quirky lifestyles in "Short Cuts" manifest themselves to a point of rudimentary selfishness with virtually every one of the pivotal characters in the film!! The lack of a necessary and preliminary confrontation with everybody ultimately leads to a copious quantity of latent hostilities!!! Taciturn proclivities become a lethal weapon for all of the running characters in this movie!! ..Social mediocrity is not just about an inadequate household income, or a meager pecuniary net worth, but also, how the average person lacks the psychological stamina to candidly assume his position on any given issue, whether it be personal, political or otherwise!! Robert Altman itemizes a devious element of human interaction that ruthlessly erupts a plethora of instances which illustrate a mollified functional insanity through a fusillade of formidable and tumultuous bits and pieces!! I for one, found this approach to be extremely intriguing!! I indulged the entire genre of this film with a macabre enthusiasm. An integral motif to this movie became a case of everyone's situation getting relegated to the despondent plight of accepting the ramifications of avoidable character inadequacies!!

Let's delve into some of the characters: You had a lot of the "Sex, Lies and Videotape" cast (Andie McDowell and Peter Gallagher)With them, you encountered a lot of the same agitated torment!! Jack Lemmon had a bit role, he was very believable as an apathetic prototype of the fragmented curmudgeon!! Lily Tomlin exemplified the impervious lower middle class deviate to an empathetic state of reasonable plausibility in this film!! She was constantly stalemated by everyone around her, and ultimately became the proverbial victim of her isolated environment!! The typical L.A. Cop was so believable!! He thought he was God's gift to the world! As a matter of fact, all of the segments in "Short Cuts" were superbly executed, however,the segment I found to be the most fascinating was the YUPPIE couple that this movie paired off!! (Julianne Moore and Matthew Modine) They were the urban W.A.S.P.'s who became afflicted by modern immorality!! Attempting to be appropriately "Liberal", their basically provincial ideas inhibited them from properly communicating with each other!! This revelation emanated a volatile rancor which was about as subtle as the United States surprise attack of nuclear fireworks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of WWII!! All of the correlating plots to "Short Cuts" are intertwined, one picking up where the other one left off, as they all seem to be tossing around a Frisbee of absolute moral oblivion and debauchery!!

SO!! What was the resonating potpourri of philosophies in this movie? What was the aggregate collage of convoluted ethics? What was the proletariat's's pot luck stew of calamity here? As it turns out, the most crucial dilemmas in "Short Cuts" were the inane ones: No birthday cake!! My wife is not wearing underwear because she thinks she's one of her paintings!! The ubiquitous and arrogant attitude of "Because I said so!!" I need a part time job, how about phone sex? The utterly trite and solicitous plea of "It should not be that difficult to understand that I just do not want to accept responsibility!!" Enmity in my present and previous domiciles is the prevailing villain for motivating my belligerence!! Last but not least, we all got away with something!! Watch the movie to find out what!! Robert Altman's compendium of cosmopolitan neurotics evokes a precarious form of nauseating reality for all parties concerned!! I thought this film was excellent because the characters were all indisputably self serving!! Add insult to injury, they were not even good at it!! Such a peculiar depiction of these thwarted individuals throws caution to the wind about receiving an Oscar, and focuses more on Altman's quest for professional integrity!! The petty preoccupations of such non-corresponding individuals, as demonstrated in "Short Cuts", would indicate that perhaps the most coveted accolade in which Robert Altman wanted to be the recipient of was one of accomplishing a unique perspective of audited emotional reality!!!! "M*A*S*H was Alman's trophy case movie, "Short Cuts" is more of an alternative film which spurred on a heinous angle of domestic identification!! Whether they are burdened with financial problems or not, everyone in this film is seeking an unearned gratification of one form or another!! "Short Cuts" is very similar to the movie "Crash" I am probably one of the few people who likes it better, "Short Cuts" engages in an insidious perspective of human behavior on an intellectual level. People's afflictions in "Short Cuts" were cerebral!! In the movie "Crash" they were about violence!! More movies should pinpoint the pejorative aspects of human nature like "Short Cuts" did!! People are more like this movie portrays them to be than they are on generic television programs!! I guess convictions and societal accountability are just entirely too much trouble!!
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Reaching the perfection
Ricardo Santos25 January 2000
As could be thought, the personalities of Robert Altman and Raymond Carver resulted complementary. Both practice an inside outlook of the American medium-class, both are deep gazer of the details and the persons. Altman has a unique sense of irony, relating the characters and the objects surrounding them. All this have a place in this splendid, earthy, made of human tissue, comprehensive, 3 hour delightful movie. The screenplay, made of pieces, extracted from several Carver writings, are exquisitely sewn. It had to be a hard word to put it altogether. A piece of art.
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It's a Good Thing Ray Carver Didn't Live to See This
michael-101211 October 2006
Any resemblance between "Short Cuts" and the work of Raymond Carver is purely accidental. The stories which form the basis of this film are as powerful as any in American literature, yet in Altman's hands they turn to dust. They say nothing, add up to nothing, mean nothing. To call the film's vignettes caricatures of the originals is to give them far more credit than they deserve. Carver's stories are populated with real people who struggle. They aren't pretty, but they're not low-lifes, either. They inhabit a moral universe. You won't find among them any sadistic ex-husbands or artists who walk around naked from the waist down. The stories are masterpieces of coherence and integration. They don't contain pointless helicopters or earthquakes or suicides, or any of the other gratuitous stuff this film serves up. If you want to know the difference between art and Hollywood, read Carver and then watch this movie. That should do it.
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