Five days in the Nashville country and gospel music scene, filled with stars, wannabe stars, and other hangers-on - individual stories of this small group intertwined - provides a commentary on American society. The stars include: good ol' boy Haven Hamilton, whose patriotic songs leading up to the American bicentennial belie his controlling and ruthless nature; Barbara Jean, the country music darling who is just returning to Nashville and performing following recovery from a fire-related injury which may have taken more of an emotional toll than a physical one; and good looking and charismatic Tom Frank, one-third of the successful group Bill, Mary, and Tom, he who is trying to go solo, which masks his need to not be solo in his personal life as he emotionally abuses woman after woman in love with him, including Mary who is married to Bill. The wannabe stars include: Albuquerque, whose real name is Winifred, who is trying to run away from her husband Star in he not approving of her ...Written by
The character of Barbara Jean is loosely based on Loretta Lynn and the Haven Hamilton role is based on Red Foley. See more »
In the conversation between Linnea and Opal in the car, Linnea is eating a popsicle while she tells Opal about her children. A moment later, the popsicle is nowhere to be seen. See more »
All I remember, the next few days was us just lookin' at that TV set and seein' that great fat-bellied sheriff sayin' 'Ruby, you son of a bitch.' And Oswald. And her in her little pink suit...
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In the opening credits, the featured actors and actresses are announced by a radio deejay as though they were country music stars. See more »
I suppose the brilliance of "Nashville" is that almost 30 years after its initial release, Robert Altman's slice of Americana has lost none of its punch. Despite being made in the Watergate and Vietnam era, the film remains relevant as ever.
In fact, one could argue, the film's even more relevant today in this age of celebrity-worship and apathetic, gutless American media who believe missing suburban wives are more pertinent and crucial to this nation's well-being than questioning facts and our leaders' motives for waging a needless, costly war.
The film's about the politics of country music, families, stardom, search for stardom, political manipulation and populist political candidates. The unseen presidential candidate's spiel in "Nashville" could easily have been sound bites from contemporary populists; he could be seen as the cinematic trend-setter for the Ross Perots, Jesse Venturas, Howard Deans and Ralph Naders.
The film is at once a political drama, musical and documentary all effortless woven together by a master storyteller, who truly is an American treasure. In "Nashville," Altman's overlapping dialogue works to perfection as he captures this panoramic view of five days in Nashville through the eyes of two-dozen characters.
With so many characters, it's Altman's genius that he keeps this an engrossing character study. Although he tosses aside all conventions of narrative storytelling, we get to know characters better in "Nashville" than we do in many contemporary dramas with fewer characters. There's Ronee Blakley's country singer; Lily Tomlin's doting housewife and mother; Scott Glenn's caring soldier; Keith Carradine's lecherous pop star; Ned Beatty's disinterested father; Keenan Wynn's loving husband; Michael Murphy's sleazy campaigner; and Gwen Welles' sad wannabe country singer, whose scene at a political fund-raiser is heartbreaking. And Jeff Goldblum's motorcyclist and Geraldine Chaplin's Opal are the threads that weave through all the lives in this marvelous tapestry.
There are plenty of terrific songs in "Nashville" - some might complain too many - but the best are Carradine's Oscar-winning "I'm Easy" and "It Don't Bother Me." They add to the nice sense of cynicism that layers the movie.
Altman's one of the big reasons the 1970s is regarded as the greatest decade of American filmmaking. Look at just a few of his contributions in that decade - "Nashville," "MASH" (1970), "Brewster McCloud" (1970), "McCabe and Mrs. Miller" (1971), "Images" (1972) and "The Long Goodbye" (1973). His films also influence other talented filmmakers, including Alan Rudolph (who worked on Altman films) and Paul Thomas Anderson, whose storytelling style - "Boogie Nights" (1997) and "Magnolia" (1999) - clearly is Altman-inspired.
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