The 10 best things about Short Cuts–and a chance to win!

This Thursday at 7PM, Young Friends of Film presents Robert Altman’s Short Cuts, along with an after party with complimentary beer, wine, and snacks. Buy tickets, or read more and RSVP to the event on Facebook.

1. The more things change… Back in the 90’s, when the movie came out, we were all: “will all the computers blow up when the clock turns to 01/01/00?” In 2008, we’re anxiously watching the craggy dips of the Dow. Millennial anxiety suddenly doesn’t seem like such a quaint artifact.

2. It finds idiosyncratic life in literature. In one of Raymond Carver most famous stories, “Cathedral,” the narrator is tasked with describing the titular building to a blind man. It’s difficult to think of another auteur who could make so much out of such a tricky, subtle and anti-cinematic writer.


3. It offers proof that Tom Waits is a surprisingly great actor. Yes, he is amazing in Rumble Fish, and in his cameo as a dealer of non-lethal weapons in Mystery Men. But Short Cuts allows Waits to play opposite Altman regular Lily Tomlin, one of the more powerful combos in a wall-to-wall celebrity-fest.

4. It provides lots of conversational fodder for that post-screening YFF party. Trust us, you won’t have to resort to a “line” when you want to strike up a convo with that fetching lad or lass. I mean, what’s the deal with the ending? Is this a more brilliant movie than Nashville?

5. Lyle Lovett’s malevolent phone calls. Be careful who your order your birthday cake from, people!

6. It shows that a character study can be epic. No better reason to make sure you see this masterpiece up on the big screen.

7. It’s one of the late Chris Penn’s best performances. Chris Penn shows some of the same acting chops that are making his better-known brother a sure-fire Oscar contender this year for Milk, but with an unpredictable, even dangerous edge.

8. It offers an irrestistable how-to on avenging a slimy ex. To wit, Peter Gallagher as helicopter pilot Stormy Weathers, and the havoc he wrecks with a little help from the Rug Doctor.

9. That scene with Julianne Moore and Matthew Modine. Don’t know what we’re talking about? See the movie.

10. It shows us the soul of Southern California. Perhaps unsurprisingly for someone who so fully explored the country music business, Altman powers his tale of fragmented lives with a powerful musical undercurrent: the soulful stylings of jazz chanteuse Annie Ross. Ross will be joining us during the YFF screening of Short Cuts

This list could go on and on, but we want to hear your take. Post your favorite thing about Short Cuts in the comments below by Friday, December 5th at midnight (EST). We’ll pick one random commenter and send you a Criterion DVD of the film.

Read Vincent Canby’s review from the New York Times.

YFF presents: Short Cuts (screening and post-party)

Thursday, December 4 at 7PM

Buy tickets

Read more and RSVP to the event on Facebook.

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5 Comments on “The 10 best things about Short Cuts–and a chance to win!”

  1. Austin Says:

    How about my *five* favorite things about Short Cuts?

    1. Tom Waits
    2. Tom Waits
    3. Tom Waits
    4. Tom Waits
    5. Robert Downey Jr.

  2. I’m afraid you underestimate the contributions of Tom Waits. 😉

  3. Stevie Holcomb Says:

    My favorite thing about Short Cuts: Peter Gallagher. Oh, yeah, baby!

  4. Brooke Volkert Says:

    The pairing of Lily Tomlin and Lili Taylor as mother and daughter. Their similarities are obvious, but I never would have though of it.

    Also – Annie Ross. I know she’s a jazz performer, but who would have thought she could act? The only other movies I’ve seen her in are Pump Up the Volume and Basket Case 2, not that those films aren’t brilliant in their own right.

  5. I hope Short Cuts is a part of the Criterion Collection like Bunuel’s “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie.”

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