Last night my head hurt too much from my stupid head cold so rather than lay there in agony, I plugged in my DVD of Robert Altman’s 3 Women. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve watched this movie. My dad took me to see it when it came out and I liked it then. …He fell asleep. Most frustrating to me because I didn’t understand it. That’s cool because I still don’t. Part Bergman’s PERSONA and part Laugh-In mixed with equal parts Mary Hartman Mary Hartman
— the movie is sort of artsy Rubick’s Cube of ideas around society, sexuality, female love, female hate, the evil of men, and the California desert that reminds everyone in the movie of Texas.

It is just so fucking cool! I love the fact that the whole thing came from an odd dream Robert Altman had, that he let Shelly Duvall make up her own loopy dialogue (all those various descriptions of meals involving melts and that rambling discourse on hula dancing classes for $10 at the Y!) and that Sissy Spacek (ever the method actress) was still sort of stuck in her CARRIE mode. …and, that creepy Janice Rule in her hippy rags shooting bullets thru her beautiful but sexually violent paintings! “My legs!!!” And, that look on Ms. Duvall’s face when she discovers the senior citizens doing the nasty in her bed! …Better than any over-the-top look that Kubrick forced her to emote a few years later! And, I think it inspired genius that Duvall thought it would be cool to have her skirt caught in the car door in every scene where she drives! Priceless!

I listened to Altman’s commentary once, but I found myself wishing I could hear Duvall and Spacek discuss the movie more. I love that there was once in time in movie history where a film like this could secure a big budget from a major studio!
This movie would never get made today. In fact, it sort of captures a moment in time that could have only happened in the hot California desert of late 1976 — to hit cinema screens and confuse 1977 movie patrons just before STAR WARS and the mega-plexes began to take it all over.

February 2, 2006. Uncategorized.


  1. k replied:

    As usual, I don’t know the movie, but from the aspects you chose to highlight for us non-cognoscenti I get the impression that this is just another great movie I should have a closer look at.

    Have you thought about pursuing a career as a movie critic? You certainly do have the expertise for it.

  2. matt replied:

    K — Oh, it is such an odd/super cool movie! You should check it out. Shelly Duvall kicks major ass! As you watch you imagine that you would both want to sit and chat with her and run away all at once! LOL! I have thought about how much fun it would be to serve as a film/art critic because I am not bitter about not being an artist. Most are. The big question is how. A couple of cool people have sent me some great ideas, but me and ing are cooking up a plan to rock the Bay Area with our insights. So, we shall see what comes of it.

  3. Mike S replied:

    Matt-I’ll have to check the 3 Women
    movie out as I have never seen it.
    Sounds fantastic.I love Altman
    movies.I haven’t seen Shelly
    Duvall in a long time.

    You really have a fantastic blog
    going on here.Ready for the
    Oscars?I’m going to see Good Night,
    Good Luck and Capote today(3:15 and
    5:30pm respectively)as it is crunch
    time now.Yeah,Felicity Huffman was
    brilliant in TransAmerica,can’t
    wait to see it.It must of flew
    in and out of the theatres here
    in Florida as I never saw it advertised.

    So,you don’t like the crust of
    the pizza huh? For shame!! Haha!
    That’s why you look so thin though! :O)

  4. matt replied:

    Hey Mike, Thanks! You will enjoy both of those films! I really loved THANK YOU AND GOODNIGHT. The acting in CAPOTE is incredible.

    I don’t watch the OSCARS anymore, but I am curious to see who will “win” from those who were nominated.

    yep! No pizza-pie crust for me! LOL!

  5. Karyn replied:

    Shelly’s eyes freak me out. I have occular aversion – can’t bear to look at excess of eyeball – definitely can’t install a contact lens… I can’t look at her too long or I start getting antsy. Where’s the big sunglasses???

  6. matt replied:

    Karyn – LOL! Yes, that would create a problem trying to watch Duvall! But, I love her! …I wonder if her eyes are just big or she was just so painfully then back then because now her eyes don’t look as big to me — she is not as thin as she was. At least not the last time I saw her. Similar eyes as say Susan Sarandon.

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