ALTMAN PERSPECTIVE


So, I’ve basically been sort of ‘layed up’ this weekend. I’m in a sort of overly medicated fog and trying to hide from a migraine which seems to be trying to catch me when I’m not looking. With the exception of a fun visit from my Ing and Miss. S, it has been me and DVD’s all weekend. Actually, I guess I nap’d mostly, but I did watch some DVD’s.

One which I watched was the 1979 Robert Altman film, A PERFECT COUPLE. I saw this movie when it came out. I remember loving the music and thinking that the two male singers were so cute — and that one was actually gay in the movie! My little 12 year old gay heart went crazy when I saw it. And, it was cool to see Marta Heflin in a staring role. Marta Heflin was too skinny, but I don’t remember thinking that when I was a kid. I thought she was cool and hot! …and she was naked in A STAR IS BORN in Barbra’s swimming pool so I thought she was the coolest!

But, I remember thinking the story in the movie was dull but that the musical group, Keepin’ ‘Em Off The Streets, was sooooooo good and cool! I wanted the soundtrack but there was never one that I could find. …but a quick ‘google” search reveals that there was an LP by the “group” which was essentially created for the movie but it was not a soundtrack as such. How could a 12 year old in a little town in Texas have figured that one out?!?!!? Anyway, imagine my surprise today when I realized that one of the cute guys in the band is the same cute guy who played Jesus in JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR!?!!? …he is still cute in the movie but way-dated and the other cute (and gay) guy is actually thinner than Marta Heflin which is pretty scary.

Anyway, when I discovered that this lost Altman film had made its way to DVD I couldn’t wait to revisit it! So, re-visit it I did.

(sigh)

OK. We all know that what appears cool to us as a child can often be lame as an adult. The music in this movie is so bad it actually hurts my feelings! I mean, this music is bad and it is more than half the film!!!!?!?!?! How could the genius behind MASH, NASHVILLE, 3 WOMEN and McGABE & MRS. MILLER have made this movie??!?!

…Well, actually, it is easy to see that it is his film. Classic Altman framing and over-lapping dialog. Clearly improvised moments between the actors. Moments when you suspect the actors have no idea if the camera is on them. But, what is up with the music? How did I ever like it?!?!? …I’m glad they were kept off the streets!

What is interesting is my perception on the story and acting in the film itself at 40 vs. 12. I almost liked the actual plot of this rambling plot-less film. The concept to present two actors who look like real people who have real problems and who are both desperate to find love before they get too old. …It is a feeling we all know all too well and it was so nice to see a film where two characters meet and actually fall in love via awkward dating moments, a dating service, clashing friends/family — it was all painfully real and sweet. And, interestingly, sad. The two leading characters are sad and lonely. …they are not perfect, but by the film’s end you know that they will actually form a perfect couple. And, in that rarest of movie moments — you actually believe that these two characters would fall for each other.

…I can remember thinking that it just wasn’t funny, but it has a few funny moments. Adult moments. And, I can remember thinking that Paul Dooley was so ugly and that there was no way Marta Heflin would go for him. …but now, he seems cute and she is not as cool as she once seemed.

I learned that Altman had wanted Sandy Dennis in the Marta role but Sandy insisted on bringing all 35 of her cats to the set and Paul Dooley was allergic and ended up in the hospital — so Marta got Dennis’ role. Originally, the film was going to be about a “moma’s boy” meeting an aging “flower child” — but, Altman liked this band (?) and knew that Marta could sing so he changed the film to showcase the band which then “re-invented” itself to include Marta and Jesus.

Ugh. The music just hurt. And, the film is not great. Only bother if you totally adore Robert Altman. …or if you were a 12 year old who used to love the music that fills the entire film. Time for a wake-up call, kid!

…I think I need to watch this to cleanse my soul. I keep meaning to watch it with Altman’s commentary. So, maybe I will have some soup, climb into bed and do just that. …and, this Robert Altman film is one of the greatest American films ever made — and one of my all-time personal favorites!

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July 29, 2007. Uncategorized.

10 Comments

  1. Daniel replied:

    Yes, Nashville is great, and so is Pret a Porter. Sophia Loren’s nude scene is great. I’ve watched Gosford Park four or five times, too. There are so many perfect little scenelets, and he always holds them together.

  2. Pants replied:

    “We all know that what appears cool to us as a child can often be lame as an adult. The music in this movie is so bad it actually hurts my feelings!”

    This is how I felt when I watched Land of the Lost on DVD. I wish I’d just left it to my memory. However, I do have a few childhood favorites that have held up: Gigi and Bells Are Ringing. I can watch those two over and over.

  3. Dessie replied:

    You spent the weekend… laid?

    I really must start reading properly.

  4. alan replied:

    omg… that is the longest post in the history of blogdom!

    Anyway, you haven’t been to visit my blog for a while and I’m going to pretend to be upset about that.

    x

  5. Melanie Bishop replied:

    Hello
    I played the wife of “Jesus” in A Perfect Couple. I agree with you that the movie was long way too long. Altman was doing a lot of “party type behavior” at the time, instead of the homework he needed to be doing. Alan Nichols was responsible for the band becoming part of the movie the original band was a group of out of work actors and musicians Heather McCrae and Steven Sharp were the only two of the originals that made it to the screen. Of course you know that Jesus is Ted Neeley and he is still touring as Jesus even tho he is now 63 years old. The baby in the movie is my real baby and she is now 30 years old. It is nice to know that you liked the movie but why do you hate the music so much? The music is the only part of the movie that I still like. I never got the sense that Marta and Paul loved each other there was no chemistry between them, there was more chemistry between me and Teddy, and between Heather and Tomi. Heather and Tomi played one of the first happy lesbian couples on screen. How did you get the story about Sandi Denis I never heard that one.

  6. ginab replied:

    update me beyond Altman, even though I love his movies (more, his taste in actresses–he actually completed a dream for me and he left it on film).

    but YOU…how are you (who-who, who-who)? Hoooooooowwwwwwwww Are You? You-you, you-you?

    xo-ginab

  7. ing replied:

    I’ll answer that question!

    Matty is out of Diet Coke. Or rather, he’s so delirious that he cannot see a full glass where there is one, nor a full bottle in the fridge.

    He’s tired, he slurs, his head hurts like a mofo. Even in this condition, he looks perfect and cute.

    And he’s ALL RIGHT! Wooo hooooooooooo! B is back from Canada! Things are looking up again! Yayayayayay!

  8. matty03 replied:

    Gina! Per Ing’s comment I am fine! And, should be well on the road again soon! …can’t seem to shake a headache which seems to have risen from the very bowels of Hell! But, they promise me — with the aid of this other medication — I should be feeling back to normal by weekend! I sure hope they are right!

    Ing! …thank you (and to Miss S!) for bringing me my Diet Coke in what I thought was my hour of need. I sure hope I was wearing clothes. I was a bit out of it.

    Daniel! Yeah, when he was great he was the best! I don’t remember liking Ready to Wear very much. I might have to take another look back at it. I do remember Sophia L and M re-creating/spoofing their infamous love scene — and he fell asleep. That was a funny scene!

  9. matty03 replied:

    Pants! Oh, land of the lost — or lust as I sometimes think of it. I remember thinking that the father and the brother were soooooooooo dreamy! …were they no longer cute? Time seems to have a way of changing things — and not always for the better!

    Dessie! Oh, to be laid for the weekend! …no. I was “laid up” and there is a difference. Maybe I will luck out and this weekend will take an up-turn. Tho, not till I get some relief for this migraine! Ugh!

    Alan — The Salty Sailor?!?!?! I thought you had caste me aside like so many boys you’ve used on your adventures the world over! I’m sorry! I will return to your site to see if you’ve updated! I didn’t mean nothing by it. Oh, and yes, I’ve been known to write some very long posts. …and, comments! Where’s my cookie?!!?

  10. matty03 replied:

    Melanie Bishop!?!?!? Wow! So cool for you to post a comment. And, now I feel mean! But, yeah, I so loved that music when the movie came out and would have given anything to have found the record back then. So, when I found the film on DVD I was so excited. …but, I don’t enjoy the music anymore. In my head it was more like disco or new wave — but now it sounds like pub rhythm and blues. Just not my kind of music.

    But, I did enjoy the movie (which as a kid I didn’t like)

    I think I first heard that Sandy Dennis/Paul D story via Rona Barrett on TV!!! …when I was in junior high school! …but, it is one of those infamous Sandy Dennis stories that lives on! When I was looking for on line pix from the film I came across it 3 times — tho, i noticed that it wasn’t mentioned in the extra features of the DVD! Is it not true?!?!

    You should correct cinema history and contact IMDB.com to let them know. That would be a good way to start!! …but Sandy Dennis Legend and its stories will probably never go away! LOL!

    For me, Marta and Dooley worked well together in the film. She was such an unusual actress and I don’t think I had ever seen him in any sort of “romantical” role — so that was cool, too.

    That is so cool that you and your daughter are forever captured in that moment of time on film!

    Where were you all to be every time they showed the band performing???!? As I was watching the DVD I kept wondering where you were? It isn’t explained. Seemed like a big sound stage without an audience. Sort of surreal.

    I need to visit your site!!!

    thanks again!!!
    matty

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