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 Posted:   Jun 20, 2014 - 10:03 PM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

Amazing film, and the songs are brilliant. Happy to see that there is a soundtrack available.

 
 Posted:   Jun 20, 2014 - 10:16 PM   
 By:   Essankay   (Member)

One of the greatest films of the 70s (hell, of all time). Hard to believe I've been enjoying the soundtrack for almost 40 years now! Vinyl first, then CD.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 21, 2014 - 2:08 AM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

That's a film I've never seen, but I've sure heard enough about it. The title put me off because I loathe 'country music'. Could I tolerate the film when I feel this way? Guidance required please.

In short, what's good about the film?

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 21, 2014 - 7:23 AM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

That's a film I've never seen, but I've sure heard enough about it. The title put me off because I loathe 'country music'. Could I tolerate the film when I feel this way? Guidance required please.

In short, what's good about the film?


The film is stylistically reminiscent of Bob Rafelson/Bert Schneider films of the late 60s and early 70s.

It features an ensemble cast in multiple interwoven story lines around the country music scene in Nashville, as well as an upcoming political election.

The songs are mostly parodies of country music. Keith Carradine's "I'm Easy" made its debut here.

If you love 70s cinema as much as I do, it is a must see.

 
 Posted:   Jun 21, 2014 - 7:53 AM   
 By:   Josh "Swashbuckler" Gizelt   (Member)

The movie itself is one of the most important American films of the 1970s. It's a sprawling, multi-layered reflection with a myriad of characters of a particular slice of Americana. All of the performances are fantastic. This is Robert Altman at his best.

Regarding the music: I'm not into country myself, but I do appreciate the songs in the film, most of which were written and performed by the actors, which give them a feel more authentic to the characters than if they had been done by professionals. The songs are used beautifully in the film, funny, dramatic, ironic, always character-driven.

Molly Haskell's comments on the film from the Criterion website: http://www.criterion.com/current/posts/2978-nashville-america-singing



Something I always thought was interesting about Keith Carradine's songs for the film:

Carradine wrote “I'm Easy” when he was a teenager. Altman heard the song during the shooting of their previous collaboration ‘Thieves Like Us,’ and built one of the standout scenes of Nashville around it. Carradine's earnest if naïve love song is turned into a cynical piece of manipulation.

Conversely, Carradine wrote “It Don't Worry Me” while working on Thieves Like Us, inspired by the folk music of the Depression era during which that film was set. This ironic song is used by Altman at the conclusion of Nashville as an anthem of unity and perseverance in the face of tragedy.

 
 Posted:   Jun 21, 2014 - 8:03 AM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

I remember seeing this on HBO as a kid. Bored to death. Not into country music either. Hated those interpersonal social study films of the 70's. That along with Shampoo which played endlessly on the subscription channels. Wonder what I would think of them as an adult? Lucas and Spielberg brought life and fun back into the cinema!

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 21, 2014 - 8:15 AM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

Lucas and Spielberg brought life and fun back into the cinema!

You can have them.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 21, 2014 - 8:18 AM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)



Carradine wrote “I'm Easy” when he was a teenager. Altman heard the song during the shooting of their previous collaboration ‘Thieves Like Us,’ and built one of the standout scenes of Nashville around it. Carradine's earnest if naïve love song is turned into a cynical piece of manipulation.



Carradine said- I'm paraphrasing - that he hated his character in the film and, because of this, was worried that he wasn't doing a good job as an actor. He said that when he watched the film, this translated into a character who hated himself, and that Altman was brilliant for recognizing this.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 21, 2014 - 8:46 AM   
 By:   Brad Wills   (Member)

Lucas and Spielberg brought life and fun back into the cinema!

You can have them.


Right on!

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 21, 2014 - 10:14 AM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

Thank you for these interesting responses!! Altman was into 'ensemble' pieces and I didn't like "Gosford Park" at all; I was bored to death, but I enjoyed "The Company". Don't remember many of his films at all really.

I try and get a hold of "Nashville", though, if only to see what all the talk is about. I didn't like those Bob Rafelson films of the 1970s - in fact, many 70's films just didn't do it for me at all. For me, the best films of that era were "All the President's Men", "Chinatown", "Cuckoo's Nest", "The Last Picture Show", "Paper Moon" and "Annie Hall" - if that tells you anything about my taste.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 21, 2014 - 10:39 AM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)



I try and get a hold of "Nashville", though, if only to see what all the talk is about. I didn't like those Bob Rafelson films of the 1970s - in fact, many 70's films just didn't do it for me at all. For me, the best films of that era were "All the President's Men", "Chinatown", "Cuckoo's Nest", "The Last Picture Show", "Paper Moon" and "Annie Hall" - if that tells you anything about my taste.


You may or may not like it. The pre-Lucas/Spielberg 70s is in general my favorite period of film.

 
 Posted:   Jun 21, 2014 - 11:10 AM   
 By:   Essankay   (Member)

That's a film I've never seen, but I've sure heard enough about it. The title put me off because I loathe 'country music'. Could I tolerate the film when I feel this way?

I'm not a fan of country music, but I grew up with it and know its fads, foibles, and first-rank achievements. As Molly Haskell says in her essay on the film, "Along with works by Ronee Blakley, the only actual singer-songwriter in the company, were ones written by various cast members, ranging from the silly, the simpleminded, and the deliberately risible to the charming and the moving, sometimes all at once—in sum, a pretty good facsimile of the dirges and ballads to which they pay playful homage." Frankly, and sad to say, if you "loathe" country music I don't think you'll be able to appreciate the movie, even though it's not *about* country music.


Lucas and Spielberg brought life and fun back into the cinema!

Lucas and Spielberg made movies safe again for the "It Don't Worry Me" crowd.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 21, 2014 - 1:15 PM   
 By:   Doc Loch   (Member)

Karen Black actually writes and performs some songs in The Pyx, which predated Nashville by a few years, so she also already had some songwriting experience (although she's credited with three songs on The Pyx and they all sound the same to me). Also, I seem to remember that Keith Carradine originally wrote "It Don't Worry Me" to be used in the film Emperor of the North (Pole).

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 21, 2014 - 1:49 PM   
 By:   Doc Loch   (Member)

Self-serving plug: If you're interested in the music in Altman's films you might check out my article on the subject in Robert Altman: Critical Essays, edited by Rick Armstrong.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 21, 2014 - 4:05 PM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

Self-serving plug: If you're interested in the music in Altman's films you might check out my article on the subject in Robert Altman: Critical Essays, edited by Rick Armstrong.

I did a "look inside" action on the Amazon site for this book and couldn't work out which article you were referring to in the above comments. I'm thinking it's "Genre, Gender and Subversion..."

Can you confirm which one it is because I'd like to read it, having purchased books on film in the areas of directors, critical studies, music and theory.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 21, 2014 - 4:32 PM   
 By:   Morricone   (Member)

I love Robert Altman! But not unconditionally. For me when MASH came out THAT was a (overused word around here) game changing film if ever there was one. But he would indulge in judgment films and characters from time to time. Altman always thought the inspector who comes in and solves the crimes in mystery movies to be contrived, so he made his (Stephen Fry) in GOSFORD PARK an unbelievably stupid idiot just to be "different". In THE LONG GOODBYE he thought old time movie detectives a bit smark alecky and wouldn't fit into today's society so he makes Philip Marlowe into a neurotic who talks to himself. Elliot Gould looks like he isn't interested in solving anything in his own life, let alone a murder. NASHVILLE is a mixed bag. A lot of country music folk wanted to like it because they knew Altman could get at the underbelly of show business (BTW THE PLAYER is great). But there was only a little country feel to the music. If you hate country singers you might enjoy Henry Gibson's religious right satires but I felt I was watching, again, a judgment instead of a flesh and blood character. On the other hand the heartbreaking Ronee Blakley character (a real country singer) is perfect, including all her songs. So there is a lot of wonderful stuff including the "I'm Easy" scene that is great! But at 2 hours 40 minutes there is a lot of country filler that isn't even country. There are too many characters, some of which feel like they are out of some comedy sketch.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 21, 2014 - 9:33 PM   
 By:   Doc Loch   (Member)

Self-serving plug: If you're interested in the music in Altman's films you might check out my article on the subject in Robert Altman: Critical Essays, edited by Rick Armstrong.

I did a "look inside" action on the Amazon site for this book and couldn't work out which article you were referring to in the above comments. I'm thinking it's "Genre, Gender and Subversion..."

Can you confirm which one it is because I'd like to read it, having purchased books on film in the areas of directors, critical studies, music and theory.


That's the one. It's called “Doing Some Replacin’: Gender, Genre and the Subversion of Dominant Ideology in the Music Scores.” It was supposed to be "...in the Music Scores of Altman's Films" but the publisher apparently decided that since the whole book was about Altman's films they didn't need the last part, so the title ends up sounding kind of clumsy. I believe the original title I submitted was much shorter, but they didn't think it was descriptive enough. Also, I'll apologize in advance for getting the title of one of Leonard Cohen's songs wrong (should be "Winter Lady" instead of "Traveling Lady"). I caught it right after sending in my draft and tried to get it corrected on the proof pages but it never got changed. I think there's probably a couple more typos in there somewhere but have long since forgotten what they are. A lot of things can get changed between the submitted manuscript and the final printed copy.

The article was part of a longer piece I did on Altman's music and mainly focuses on his films involving musical performances (Nashville, A Perfect Couple, The Company and A Prairie Home Companion), but there are observations on the scores for several of Altman's other films as well. If nothing else, it gave me a chance to interview Ted Neeley of Jesus Christ, Superstar fame about working on A Perfect Couple. I'd also recommend Krin Gabbard's article in the same anthology on the use of jazz in Short Cuts.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 21, 2014 - 9:45 PM   
 By:   Doc Loch   (Member)

As regards Nashville, one of the points I make in the essay is that the whole arc of the film seems to involve a struggle between the establishment (represented by Haven) and various marginalized groups for control of the musical discourse. It starts with Haven trying to record a patriotic anthem while being disrupted by a woman (who's British no less) and then by cuts to an African American chorus in another studio and finally by a long-haired young piano player. and ends with a woman taking control of the microphone backed by an African American chorus after the climax at the Parthenon (trying to avoid spoilers here). Along the way there are interesting juxtapositions of the kinds of songs sung by the male and the female characters. So the music becomes essential to the point Altman is making about how the dominant ideology in American society is shifting. As long as I seem to be ego-trippin' here tonight, I'll add that at an Altman seminar in Ann Arbor last year I expressed this idea during a panel on Altman's music and afterwards Altman's widow Kathryn came up and told me she thought it was a very insightful observation. As anyone else who does academic scholarship knows, there aren't a lot of rewards for this type of work but that kind of response from someone you admire is one of them

 
 Posted:   Jun 21, 2014 - 11:14 PM   
 By:   Essankay   (Member)

As regards Nashville, one of the points I make in the essay is that the whole arc of the film seems to involve a struggle between the establishment (represented by Haven) and various marginalized groups for control of the musical discourse. It starts with Haven trying to record a patriotic anthem while being disrupted by a woman (who's British no less) and then by cuts to an African American chorus in another studio and finally by a long-haired young piano player. and ends with a woman taking control of the microphone backed by an African American chorus after the climax at the Parthenon (trying to avoid spoilers here). Along the way there are interesting juxtapositions of the kinds of songs sung by the male and the female characters. So the music becomes essential to the point Altman is making about how the dominant ideology in American society is shifting....


Ego-trippping encouraged when you bring insights like that to the table, Doc. Part of the reason I enjoy NASHVILLE so much is that I can always find something new in it. I'll pay particular attention to that aspect the next time I watch it.

Altman's emergence and subsequent march through the (largely exhausted) major American film genres - War, Western, Detective, Musical, Sci-Fi - could only have happened in the 70s. They were all desperately in need of fresh points of view. He subverted genres, it seems to me, almost always in pursuit of a larger social/political angle and anyone who dismisses those films as just attempts to be different isn't looking at them very closely.

 
 Posted:   Jun 21, 2014 - 11:23 PM   
 By:   Ron Hardcastle   (Member)

Nice to see that others appreciate the "Nashville" soundtrack. I saw the movie when it was first released and simply loved it, and it remains my favorite film directed by Robert Altman. I immediately bought not only the soundtrack but also solo albums by Ronee Blakely and Keith Carradine. Blakely's "Welcome" has an interesting variation on her intoxicating "Tapedeck" and Carradine's album had the classic "I'm Easy." I've always wanted to transfer to CD the amusing audio heard at the beginning of the movie that sounds like a frantic ad for the soundtrack. I think that I was starting to lose interest in the film, so when Criterion released its special-packed Blu-ray I was tempted not to buy it, but did anyway, and it's such a wonderful presentation of the film that it brings "Nashville" alive for a whole new generation. I've always been thrilled that so many of the actors/singers in the film wrote their songs, including the 2 I just mentioned as well as some by Karen Black and Henry Gibson. Wonderful movie with an excellent song-filled soundtrack. And if you have the movie on DVD and have been debating about upgrading to Blu-ray, believe me, it's worth it!

 
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