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
This film and Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia (1999), are similarly themed (both taking place in Los Angeles and running for three hours), and both have a large ensemble cast. Anderson is a huge fan and disciple of Altman. Julianne Moore appears on both movies. See more »
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 »
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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