Monday, November 10, 2008

The Election's Over...and the Legend of the Maverick Lives on



This man ran for the highest office in the United States of America. His platform? Well...He's a Maverick. Or, at least that's what we're told. In any case, I think that John McCain is a true American hero, I think he has done wonderful things as a senator for the nation that he loves, but I think its good that the nation chose to go in a different direction.


Anyway, I know what you are all thinking. Aaron done and lost his mind because this here is a movie blog. Well, give me a moment I needed to give you the set up to what is on my mind before I go and drop some thoughts on you.


The thing is that the John McCain campaign did one thing incredibly well...it inspired me to think on all things "Maverick". That's right all this talk about "Maverick" of course lead to way too many bad jokes about Tony Scott's 2986 film, Top Gun, but more than that it made me miss the true American Maverick: Robert Altman.


Mr. Altman has been gone from us for nearly two years now and there is not a week that passes that I don't at least allow myself to stop and reflect on at least one of this master's major pieces of art. Robert Altman made his best films in the 1970's, as did most American filmmakers, but he did not stop there. In the 1980's, regarded as his lost decade, he brought us the revisionist memoirs of Richard M. Nixon in the powerhouse, one man show, known as Secret Honor. He did not stop there, though, he came back as good as ever in the 1990's with the back-to-back masterpieces The Player and Short Cuts. He then left us with a bang, his last two films were as good as anything he had delivered up until that point: Gosford Park, which was nominated for Best Picture and Best Director at the Academy Awards (they were his 6th and 7th nominations) and A Prairie Home Companion, a wonderful ensemble piece about the world of variety radio that hearkened back to his 1975 film, Nashville.
Robert Altman, as mentioned before, was nominated for seven Academy Awards. He never won an Oscar in competition, though it 2006 he received an honorary Lifetime achievement award for always breaking the mold and pushing the medium to new and better heights.
Robert Altman made a ton of movies, many good ones, a few great ones and two perfect films, Nashville and McCabe & Mrs. Miller. This post reflects some of that sentiment though not all of it. Robert Altman was a great American filmmaker that lived up to his title of Maverick and never made a film just because someone else wanted him to. More than a great filmmaker and a maverick of his form, he was a great artist and visionary of his period. He may not be the greatest artist in American film, but he is one of the most important because he finished the handbook on American Independent Film making that John Cassavetes started.
So, on this last evening before Veterans Day we salute a veteran of two kinds. The war heroes represented by Arizona Senator, John McCain; and, the fallen artists represented by Robert Altman.
R.I.P. Robert Altman: 1925-2006

1 comment:

Travis said...

I agree completely. Viva Altman!