The Player

When I got home from work, I sat down to watch the second half of the Raiders game in Houston.  After the late interception, I turned off the television set.  I went to the library for an hour.  I wanted to see “The Player,” the Robert Altman film, again.  It is a crime story in which the punishment of the murderer isn’t all that important.  It is a satire of Hollywood, and one of the fun things about it is the list of cameo appearances.  Some of them, such as Elliott Gould, Sally Kellerman, Karen Black, and Lily Tomlin, appeared in Robert Altman’s previous films.  In the opening sequence, Buck Henry pitches a sequel to “The Graduate” to Tim Robbins’ character.  The joke when you hear it today feels a bit sad because Anne Bancroft has died.  It is a bit frightening to think that “The Player” was made 25 years after “The Graduate,” and now 25 years have passed since “The Player.”  One scene takes place at the Rialto Theatre, just as in “La La Land.”  Robbins and Greta Scacchi meet at a funeral, which has shades of “Harold and Maude.”  I thought the movie was something like “M*A*S*H” set in Hollywood.  The opening shot was something like “Touch of Evil.”  The movie within the movie was hilarious, and it was incredible that people like Julia Roberts, Bruce Willis, Peter Falk, Louise Fletcher, Susan Sarandon, and Ray Walston were in it.  This was one of Tim Robbins’ best movies, along with “Bull Durham.”  The deleted scenes show that people like Martha Plimpton, Jeff Daniels, and Patrick Swayze were cut from the movie.  “Popeye” was seen as a major disaster in Robert Altman’s career, while “The Player” was his comeback.  I don’t feel that he was ever truly gone, but he certainly came back into favor with this movie.  It was fun to watch this movie again and think about 1992.  It was the year that the Toronto Blue Jays won the World Series against the Atlanta Braves, and another big movie released that year was “Unforgiven.”  We watched the Olympics in Barcelona.  I kept thinking about how young Julia Roberts looked in her scene.  Robert Altman gave us some good movies, and I wish there was someone like him making movies today.  Some of the people who died on January 9 include Peter Cook (1995), Jesse White (1997), and Peter Yates (2011).  Today is a birthday for J.K. Simmons (62), Jimmy Page (73), and Bart Starr (83).

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