7.7/10
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140 user 53 critic

Short Cuts (1993)

Trailer
2:23 | Trailer

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The day-to-day lives of several suburban Los Angeles residents.

Director:

Robert Altman

Writers:

Raymond Carver (writings), Robert Altman (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 17 wins & 17 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Andie MacDowell ... Ann Finnigan
Bruce Davison ... Howard Finnigan
Jack Lemmon ... Paul Finnigan
Zane Cassidy Zane Cassidy ... Casey Finnigan
Julianne Moore ... Marian Wyman
Matthew Modine ... Dr. Ralph Wyman
Anne Archer ... Claire Kane
Fred Ward ... Stuart Kane
Jennifer Jason Leigh ... Lois Kaiser
Chris Penn ... Jerry Kaiser
Joseph C. Hopkins Joseph C. Hopkins ... Joe Kaiser
Josette Maccario Josette Maccario ... Josette Kaiser
Lili Taylor ... Honey Bush
Robert Downey Jr. ... Bill Bush
Madeleine Stowe ... Sherri Shepard
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Storyline

Nine short stories relocating the settings from Carver's Northwest to Los Angeles during a spraying of malathion brought on by a Medfly epidemic - intercut tales of disconnection and emotional emptiness. The stories concern variations upon the theme of Los Angeles angst --a happily married couple, Ann and Howard have to deal with the deep emotions felt when their child, Casey is struck by a car before his birthday and lapses into a coma, while the baker Andy of their child's neglected birthday cake sinks into a rage and torments them in their grief. Three men Stuart, Gordon and Vern leave on a much anticipated fishing trip, only to discover the drowned body of a nude woman floating in the river and decide to finish their fishing trip and ignore the corpse. A Los Angeles cop, Gene uses his badge as an excuse to cheat on his wife, Sherri. A pool cleaner Jerry resents his wife, Lois for her part-time job as a phone sex performer. A waitress, Doreen is devoted to her limousine driver ... Written by lament

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Short Cuts raises the roof on America See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 October 1993 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Vidas cruzadas See more »

Filming Locations:

California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$106,553, 3 October 1993, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$6,110,979
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby (as Dolby Stereo)| 70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A summary from Radio Times of when Short Cuts (1993), was broadcast on Sky read, "Robert Altman's audacious, multilayered drama, inspired by the short stories of Raymond Carver". When I quoted this to a lad I knew, his response was "Wow". He subsequently recorded the film at home for me to watch. When I told another lad I knew about the conversation I'd had, he amusingly thought the "Wow", was part of the summary, so I explained that it wasn't! See more »

Goofs

Gene Shepard throws a rock through his mistress's living room window while she's away on vacation. Yet when she comes back, the window is unbroken. See more »

Quotes

Claire Kane: [Stuart has just returned from his fishing trip] Your hands stink.
Stuart Kane: [sniffs his fingers] Kinda smells like pussy, don't you think?
Claire Kane: [laughs, smacks him on the shoulder] I *hate* that. Go wash your hands.
Stuart Kane: Smells like a rainbow to me!
See more »

Connections

References The Human Shield (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

Berceuse
(1919)
from "The Firebird Suite"
Composed by Igor Stravinsky
Performed by Lori Singer
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Altman's greatest?
18 September 2003 | by davidalsSee 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.


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