Short Cuts (1993)

Short Cuts
Director: Robert Altman
Writer: Robert Altman, Frank Barhydt
Based on: short stories and a poem by Raymond Carver
Cast: Andie MacDowell, Bruce Davison, Jack Lemmon, Zane Cassidy, Julianne Moore, Matthew Modine, Anne Archer, Fred Ward, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Chris Penn, Lili Taylor, Robert Downey Jr., Madeleine Stowe, Tim Robbins, Lily Tomlin, Tom Waits, Frances McDormand, Peter Gallagher, Huey Lewis, Annie Ross, Lori Singer, Lyle Lovett, Buck Henry,
Seen on: 20.10.2018

Nine intersecting stories of people in Los Angeles during the Medfly epidemic: Ann (Andie MacDowell) and Howard’s (Bruce Davidson) child (Zane Cassidy) was in an accident just before his coma. Police man Gene (Tim Robbins) cheats on his wife Sherri (Madeline Stowe). Lois (Jennifer Jason Leigh) works for a sex hotline, much to the dislike of her husband Jerry (Chris Penn). Doreen (Lily Tomlin) and Earl (Tom Waits) have a good marriage, at least as long as Earl is sober. Honey (Lily Taylor) and Bill (Robert Downey Jr.) are housesitting. Stormy (Peter Gallagher) is struggling with his divorce from Betty (Frances McDormand). Zoe tries to connect with her mother Tess (Annie Ross). Claire (Anne Archer) and her husband Stuart (Fred Ward) are invited to dinner by Marian (Julianne Moore) and Ralph (Matthew Modine). Stuart, Gordon (Buck Henry) and Vern (Huey Lewis) are looking forward to a long-planned fishing trip.

Short Cuts was really painful: a film filled with unlikeable men who behave like assholes and somehow we are supposed to think think that’s funny and/or interesting? No, thank you and I mean that in the harshest possible sense.

The film poster showing a fractured red heart in front of a white background.

One look at the cast list and it’s easy to see the film’s biggest selling point. And since Altman also has quite the reputation, I was confident that this would turn out to be a good film. I was wrong. I actually only managed to finish it at all bcause I got out my cell phone and started fucking around with it while I watched. And even so, I kept considering turning off the film more than once.

I assume that the film attemtped to have dark or edgy humor. But honestly, I don’t see what’s particularly funny about a bunch of white, mostly privileged guys behaving like assholes, especially towards the women in their lives. It’s a film steeped in misogyny and it doesn’t even realize it.

Two couples partly in clown make-up doing shots.

And then you drag yourself through the entire film and there is a last glimmer of hope that the ending might pay off, maybe just a little? But no, instead the story just ends in the middle of nowhere, leaving you with more questions than you ever had at the beginning of the film – and that although you didn’t want to know anything about these people anyway.

No, I can only say that I really didn’t like this film. In fact, I despised it and I probably should have turned it off halfway through, good cast be damned.

A family - father, mother and three children - together in bed.

Summarizing: Stay away. Far away.

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