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Alexandra DuPont's look at Altman's DR T AND THE WOMEN

Hey folks, Harry here... Father Geek and many of the AICN folks had a choice between seeing DR T AND THE WOMEN... and GIRL ON THE BRIDGE... they were smart... they chose GIRL ON THE BRIDGE... so should you... to prove it, here's our lady of the boring theater... who craves a better film than this.... Alexandra... take it away....




Fellow geeks and geekettes: Have you ever walked out of a movie and realized you'll soon forget you even saw it? You know the experience I'm talking about -- wherein a movie's script, performances, cinematography and other potentially memorable elements are so, well, so UNCOMPELLING that they're shaken from your hippocampus like Etch-A-Sketch dust before they even had a chance to register?

One of those movies, for me anyway, is "Ghostbusters II." At least, I think it is: Isn't that the one with the goo? And a painting or something? And the big walking.... Huh. Was Sigourney Weaver even IN that one?

At any rate, I'm writing as fast as I can, because I'm afraid I'm having another "Ghostbusters II" experience, this time with "maverick" director Robert Altman's latest, "Dr. T and the Women" -- a Richard-Gere-as-high-society-gynecologist comedy.

Let's all stop for a moment and contemplate that.

A Richard-Gere-as-high-society-gynecologist comedy.

Shall we pause for a hearty laugh? Finished? Let's move on.



A well-aged Richard Gere plays high-society gynecologist Dr. T (and why did I keep expecting to see Hans Conreid in this part? "5,000 Fingers," indeed). In the opening credits, Dr. T's busily plunging a speculum into a rich old biddy as she jabbers away at him about nothing -- which, come to think of it, sums up the general vibe of the movie rather nicely.

Anyway, the good Doctor is simply SURROUNDED by rich jabbering Texan ladies in baroque high-society skirts and hats -- patients, daughters, wives of friends, you name it. Thanks to Altman's trademark overlapping-dialogue gimmick (it IS kind of a gimmick by now, isn't it?), these harpies blend together to form a wailing, overly coifed chorus of Sirens, luring the audience to its doom.

Dr. T's daughter (Kate Hudson, looking much older than she did in "Almost Famous" and doing another piece of solid, self-absorbed work) is getting married -- but there are complications in the form of a bridesmaid (Liv Tyler). Meanwhile, Dr. T's wife (a stunt-cast Farrah Fawcett) is behaving erratically, stripping off her clothes at the mall and dancing in fountains and generally behaving like she's 7 years old -- and yes, the real-life parallels to be drawn from her performance are obvious and sort of mean.

There are plenty of other subplots -- an affair with a golfer (Helen Hunt), intrigue with a nosy nurse (Shelley Long, playing the Shelley Duvall role), a daughter (Tara Reid) who works at a JFK conspiracy museum, domestic chaos with a drunken sister (Laura Dern), lots of really bad weather.... I could go on and on.



I know all of the above sounds alluring in that Spanish-soap-opera sort of way, but you've got to believe me when I tell you that, in the case of "Dr. T and the Women," it isn't. Actually, it's sort of noisy and dull. You see, there's this problem of execution.

I should note here that I actually have quite a bit of respect for crusty old Robert Altman: "The Player," "Nashville," "M*A*S*H," "Short Cuts" -- all crackle with energy and are lovely and frequently flawed and just plain DIFFERENT, even when they don't work or don't really add up to much thematically. (Pauline Kael assures me that other of Altman's movies are interesting, too, but I must sheepishly admit I haven't seen them. Flame away, Talk Backers!) Who else takes chances like this Col.-Sanders-looking old codger? God bless and keep you, sir.

But in "Dr. T," the Altman Directorial Method -- which, as I understand it, involves letting actors noisily improvise within a very loose narrative framework -- backfires. Improv is inherently unstable, of course, and Altman's had it blow up in his face throughout his career, so I'm certainly not writing him off as a has-been or anything. But the bottom line is that it's possible to direct with TOO loose a hand when your basic concept is weak. And I'm afraid that's what's happened in the case of "Dr. T."

(I could really back up my whole "basic concept is weak" assertion if I discussed the climax in spoilerific detail, but haven't we had enough spoilers at this week without ruining Altman too? Just trust me: It's silly and out of nowhere and kind of doesn't make any sense. It also casts the entire film as something of a misogynist allegory -- Dr. T's liberation/enlightenment/relief involves a noisy escape from women and his subsequent deliverance of another male -- but maybe that's just me.)

Anyhoo. With the exception of Gere, Hunt, Hudson, and, oh, Fawcett and maybe Tyler, all these talented actors sort of blend together into one improvising, noisy mass -- and this despite Dr. T saying more than once that each woman he meets is unique and special. Plus, that noisy mass exists in the service of a theme that declares women pretty cartoonishly lame as a gender. This is done on purpose -- moments with the noisy harpies are deliberately contrasted with moments of calm, such as Dr. T's scenes with the grounded, self-possessed Hunt character -- but just because something's done on purpose doesn't mean that it works. Altman pits two-dimensional characters (the harpies) against three-dimensional characters (Gere), which means Altman's thematically stacking the deck -- which seems (to me, anyway) artistically unfair. And thanks to the elephant-in-a-bottle narrative compression, even the good actors (excepting Gere) don't get much of a chance to develop any substantial character arc.



(1) Lyle Lovett's soundtrack was overbearing, putting obvious and/or precious neo-country punctuation on every moment. I write this despite the fact that I normally ENJOY Lyle Lovett's music, even though it invariably sounds like it should be playing between news segments on NPR.

(2) Richard Gere? He's pretty damned good, actually. I know people at this site write about how Gere sucks the air out of a room and all that -- I don't entirely disagree -- but his economy in the midst of all Altman's chaos is actually comforting. "Dr. T" features one of his finest, most nuanced performances, and I'm disappointed he had to give it in this movie.

(3) It was deeply distressing to see a nearly unrecognizable Janine Turner, who plays a hypochondriac society wife, looking like her skin's been stretched over her hopelessly tiny skull. I just hope she lost all that weight for the ROLE. Same with Laura Dern, to a far lesser degree.

(4) I could of course be entirely wrong in the above criticisms: The preview audience laughed a few times, particularly in the second half. But I think the ending lost even them.



I presume that many if not most of you read The Onion, the Internet's mightiest satirical publication. In their Sept. 13 edition, one of their lead "news stories" was titled "Every Single Thing Reminds Altman Buff Of Altman Film." Here's the link:


That is all. Now what was I talking about?.... "Ghostbusters II," or something?....

Alexandra DuPont.


Readers Talkback
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  • Sept. 28, 2000, 3:32 a.m. CST


    by Ethan Hunt

    go ahead and flame me. See if I care.

  • Sept. 28, 2000, 4:07 a.m. CST

    You don't like Altman?

    by Ethan Hunt

    so Iu suppose you're loking forward to the next Schwarzenegger outing then?? Altman has directed countless excellent movies and although this may not be his best, I pray it won't be his last. His class is far and away superior to that of all the rookies that make one blockbuster then direct videos and commercials for the rest of their remaining days. Short Cuts and The Player are amomg the 10 bvest films of the 90's, but maybe you never saw them?

  • Sept. 28, 2000, 4:53 a.m. CST

    Altman made two of the dullest movies I've ever seen

    by Cereal Killer

    I never saw Shortcuts or The Player (and I know I'll pay for that in Talkback) but so far I haven't been impressed with Altman. I was really looking forward to "Kansas City" since that's my hometown but it was awful. Boring and too long and featured Jennifer Jason Leigh's worst performance ever as this weird brown-toothed chick who talks out of the side of her mouth like Edward G. Robinson. Crap. And the single dullest movie I've ever seen was Altman's "Ready to Wear." Even with an all-star cast and a parade of naked anorexics at the end I just sat their contemplating suicide. So anyway, the name Robert Altman doesn't impress me much although sometime I probably will see "Short Cuts," "The Player" and "Nashville."

  • one of his love-it or hate-it films, which he has made quite a few of. Ready to Wear, Cookie

  • Sept. 28, 2000, 6:23 a.m. CST

    Altman stuff

    by Lazarus Long

    Alexandra, shame on you for not having seen McCabe and Mrs. Miller, one of Altman's best, as well as one of the 70's best. Kael orgasmed over this one as well. Altman had all the ensemble "live" in this constructed village in character for a while before filming. They also pre-exposed the film to give it a nice little haze, not unlike the marijuana haze that Altman TO THIS DAY still partakes from often. Let's not forget The Gingerbread Man, an uneven film but the best film associated with John Grisham. Cookie's Fortune was a little delight, and was actually liked by a lot of critics. We could go on and mention Streamers, Come Back to the Five and Dime..., Thieves Like Us, blah blah blah. It's Altman's overlapping-dialogue world, we're just living in it. Uncompromising genius.

  • Sept. 28, 2000, 7:32 a.m. CST

    altman times 2

    by Baba-Lou

    If you didn't like Dr. T now, just wait and see how much you hate it when P.T. Anderson rips it off in a year. The only thing worse than bad Altman is good Anderson. Magnolia? there's three hours I'll never get back.

  • Sept. 28, 2000, 9:36 a.m. CST

    Forget McCabe...

    by Anton_Sirius

    Brewster McCloud, baby! Maybe the most fucked up American film ever made. Bud Cort building a giant set of wings for himself while living inside the Astrodome. Now THAT'S quality filmmaking.

  • Sept. 28, 2000, 9:45 a.m. CST

    I'm not surprised....

    by Davidfbc

    Altman is a notoriously uneven director, sometimes within the confines of the film itself (M*A*S*H, anyone?). I just assume he's on one of his losing streaks, because PRET-A-PORTER looked bad, SHORT CUTS was overrated, and COOKIE'S FORTUNE was just plain bad. When you consider his batting average, it's amazing that he's considered one of our major directors, but, then again, as Orson Welles said, you only need one, and lookit what Altman's got: McCABE AND MRS. MILLER; THE LONG GOODBYE; NASHVILLE; 3 WOMEN; THE PLAYER; even TANNER is a masterpiece of sorts, whatever its flaws. STREAMERS, and SECRET HONOR are fine jobs. But, boy, when he stinks.... Sometimes his work is so amateur (I think about the fast zooms to the secret service men in TANNER, the terrible "reveal" of the busted-up room and furniture in SHORT CUTS, the clumsy high school staging of so many scenes in COOKIE'S FORTUNE, the awful slapstick opening of M*A*S*H... I'm not even including interesting failures like QUINTET...) I hope Altman has one last heydey like the TANNER/PLAYER era seemed to be heralding. Unfortunately, it seems Altman believes his own legend to such a degree that when he says that once his film is cast, 98% of the work is done -- well, I wish he'd sweat it out a little more.

  • Sept. 28, 2000, 9:51 a.m. CST

    What The?

    by MercilessMing

    Why doesn't anybody ever mention Altman's best movie ever, man?Helllo? Popeye....with Robin Williams! Yeah, Nashville and MASH were good and all, but come on! Who can say no to Robin Williams, Ray Walston, Shelly Duval and the prison guard from Midnight Express in a musical about a lonely sailor, an orphaned infant, a long-lost father, a tyranical city boss, and a sunken treasure. BEST MOVIE EVER, MAN!

  • Sept. 28, 2000, 10:28 a.m. CST

    I can't believe what I'm reading.

    by t. mifune

    I thought Dr. T was a great movie, Altman's best since Short Cuts. The great thing about Altman's movies is that they're directed with such confidence, he doesn't have to throw in cheap editing gimicks to keep the audience awake (see Requiem for a Dream). Moviegoers today are bored so easily because we've been pounded with Wachowski and Michael Bay films. Altman doesn't care. It's like jazz, you either get into the rhythm or you don't. Farrah Fawcett was surprisingly good, and her breakdown wasn't played for comic relief, but tragedy. This film runs from farce to drama to tragic-comedy to surrealism. The relationship between Richard Gere and Helen Hunt is handled especially well. As for the ending, it makes perfect sense. However, if you didn't like the ending to Magnolia, then you won't like the ending of Dr. T. It can only be compared to 3 Women thematically. It ties in with Farrah Fawcett's situation very well. Unfortunately, after you leave the theatre, you have to think. Sorry, you can't just tuck this one in the back of the head with anything you saw this summer. I don't want to give anything away, so I'll just end now.

  • Sept. 28, 2000, 10:43 a.m. CST


    by w_buhr

  • Sept. 28, 2000, 10:43 a.m. CST


    by w_buhr

  • Sept. 28, 2000, 10:47 a.m. CST

    Sorry x 2

    by w_buhr

    I just wanted to say that I read somewhere that Altman is moving to France if George Bush is elected President. My only reponse to his threat is, does he promise!!???

  • Sept. 28, 2000, 10:56 a.m. CST

    Second the above

    by Lex

    You read it right. After "Ready to Wear," if this movie is as bad as advertised, we should all hope W. gives Altman a French mailing address.

  • Sept. 28, 2000, 11:10 a.m. CST

    3 Women

    by Stephen Dedalus

    Am I the only talkbacker who has seen Altman's brilliant "3 Women?" Its not available on videotape, so I had to catch it on cable, and my God, it is a brilliant film. Dark, moody, superbly atmospheric-- basically an American reworking of Bergman's PERSONA with just enough directorial touches to pull it off. The performances are outstanding. Check your local listings, and let's pray that someone puts it on video.... In fact, I think Altman made a whole bunch of movies back in the late 70's that aren't on video. Two others are A PERFECT COUPLE, a charming romantic comedy that is also shown on TV ever so often, and A WEDDING, which may be available on video but has long been out of circulation. There's also IMAGES, a late 60's psychological drama that had its original print destroyed by those clumsy fools at Columbia.

  • Sept. 28, 2000, 12:05 p.m. CST

    Alexandra DuPont reponds: Lazarus, I have, in fact, seen "McCabe

    by Alexandra.DuPont

    ... and yes, it was quite a thing to see. But that was Warren Beatty and Julie Christie and Altman's classic '70s cast doing the improvisation; in "Dr. T," it's Shelley Long and Liv Tyler. BTW, if I could recommend an excellent book featuring Altman at this point, that book would be "Easy Riders, Raging Bulls." **** And (respectfully) to the Talk Backer who favorably compared the ending of "Dr. T" to the end of "Magnolia": I can't believe what I'M reading. Must ... resist ... urge ... to spoil ... ending ... to buttress point....

  • Sept. 28, 2000, 12:30 p.m. CST

    Does anyone else get LV-426 and RU-486 mixed up?

    by r_dimitri22

  • Sept. 28, 2000, 12:35 p.m. CST


    by Michael Cheritto

    Dr. T and the women will fall into the aybss of crap that is current cinema. Do you really think that ANYONE is going out to see this movie. Good or bad, it's not going to last the weekend. Gere is not a draw, and Kate Hudson is somebodys kid. Who knows what Altman was thinking. Short Cuts is perhaps the finest work he's done to date, and Ready to Wear was great.

  • Sept. 28, 2000, 12:37 p.m. CST


    by Michael Cheritto

    Dr. T and the women will fall into the aybss of crap that is current cinema. Do you really think that ANYONE is going out to see this movie. Good or bad, it's not going to last the weekend. Gere is not a draw, and Kate Hudson is somebodys kid. Who knows what Altman was thinking. Short Cuts is perhaps the finest work he's done to date, and Ready to Wear was great.

  • Sept. 28, 2000, 12:41 p.m. CST

    yes, Stephen Dedalus: 3 WOMEN

    by Davidfbc

    You're right, Stephen, 3 WOMEN is a classic; I listed it among my favorites in an earlier post, so, no, it's not being neglected! Shelly Duvall is amazing in that, and I think she won best actress at Cannes for that performance.... 3 WOMEN... yes, I say; yes, yes, yes...

  • Sept. 28, 2000, 12:57 p.m. CST


    by Sonata

    Hilarious post BL, you totally beat me to the punch. Fucking PT Anderson. What the hell would he do without Altman or Scorsese? BTW, 3 Women has been on my short list for a long time. Is it still unreleased on video? How can I see it? Also, The Player is damned near a perfect film (IMHO).

  • Sept. 28, 2000, 1:28 p.m. CST

    P.T. Anderson bashers: FUCK OFF.

    by r_dimitri22

    Why don't you go read Tarantino's recent interview here on AICN? To quote: "Don

  • Sept. 28, 2000, 3:36 p.m. CST


    by superninja

    Popeye is Altman's best. Now, back to the review...

  • Sept. 28, 2000, 3:44 p.m. CST

    I must say it again:

    by superninja

    The presence of Helen Hunt in this movie made me not want to see it. Does she play herself AGAIN, Ms. Dupont? I know lots of actors play themselves, they just seem to do it more interesting. The trailer looked very "cute", and I'm sure there's lots of cuteness in this film.

  • Sept. 28, 2000, 5:12 p.m. CST

    Alexandra DuPont responds to superninja re: Helen Hunt and playi

    by Alexandra.DuPont

    Yes, ninja, I

  • Sept. 28, 2000, 5:20 p.m. CST

    Love him or hate it, Altman is at least original.

    by Fatal Discharge

    In this age of cookie-cutter films with explosions taking the place of plots, Altman makes complex films where you actually think about what's going on. His characters are often not 'heroic' and are flawed and may be unlikeable at times but so are people in real life. As for the overlapping-dialogue which some people can't handle, I've never had a problem with it. He asks people to concentrate on what's happening not deliver everything to us on a platter. On repeated viewings you can pick up things you missed the first time. Short Cuts and The Player were two of my favorite films of the last decade and even in the films which don't totally work there are things to like about them. It's funny that a hack like John Grisham wanted to bury The Gingerbread Man when in fact Altman made the best adaptation of his work that I've seen.

  • Sept. 28, 2000, 5:24 p.m. CST

    I did

    by Sonata

    tell you what I fuckin' liked, Dimitri (if you were, in fact, referring to me). The Player. Read it again if you have to, then cram it please.

  • Sept. 28, 2000, 5:41 p.m. CST

    It's About Time! A sequel to my favorite movie THE 5000 FINGERS

    by Buzz Maverik

    After his humilating defeat at the hands of a little boy, one Bartholomew Collins, and the destruction of his giant piano and nightmarish school by an atomic bomb made by the aforementioned Collins, it seems Dr. T is now going after adult women. I can't wait to see Farrah Fawcett and Kate Hudson in those little beanies with the hands coming out of the top. Also, it's interesting that Farrah is once against costarring with a woman named Kate. Is there a Jackie in the movie too? Richard Gere as Dr. T.? Well, he's no Hans Conreid, but then Kate Hudson's no Tommy Rettig either.

  • Sept. 28, 2000, 8:28 p.m. CST


    by The_Escapist

    i'm probably not gonna end up seeing it for a LONG time, so will someone just tell me the G*DAMNED ending!!!!!!!!!! Please! e-mail me:

  • Sept. 28, 2000, 9:01 p.m. CST

    Oh, all RIGHT...

    by Alexandra.DuPont

    ...Anyone who wants the ending spoiled rotten for themselves can e-mail me at the link above. But you really, really shouldn't.

  • Sept. 28, 2000, 9:05 p.m. CST

    did I spoil the ending?

    by t. mifune

    When I compared the ending of Dr. T to the finale of Magnolia, I only intended it from the audience's perspective. Many people thought the ending of Magnolia betrayed the characters and all the events that had preceeded it, and many will feel the same way about Dr. T. I didn't. It's endings like these that excite me about movies. Call them what you will, but you can't say it's been done before.

  • Sept. 28, 2000, 9:11 p.m. CST

    This movie has a great cast so I'll go see it on that alone.

    by Junior D-Girl

    Now here's a cute parable about Little Jane in Sunday School and yes it really does relate to this movie at least in so far as A.DuPont has perceived it... Little Jane was not the best student in Sunday School. Usually she slept through the class. One day the teacher called on her while she was napping. "Tell me, Jane, who created the universe?" When Jane didn't stir, little Johnny, an altruistic boy seated in the chair behind her, took a pencil and jabbed her in the rear. "God Almighty!" shouted Jane and the teacher said, "Very good" and Jane fell back asleep. A while later the teacher asked Jane, "Who is our Lord and Savior," But, Jane didn't even stir from her slumber. Once again, Johnny came to the rescue and stuck her again. "Jesus Christ!" shouted Jane and the teacher said, "Very good," and Jane fell back asleep. Then the teacher asked Jane a third question. "What did Eve say to Adam after she had her twenty-third child?" And again, Johnny jabbed her with the pencil. This time Jane jumped up and shouted, "If you stick that damn thing in me one more time, I'll break it in half and stick it in your ear!!" The Teacher didn't ask Little Jane any more questions.

  • Sept. 28, 2000, 11:30 p.m. CST

    Bob's not god

    by bripam

    Here's hoping that G.W. gets elected. Only an Altman zealot could deny that Fat Bob has made as many lousy movies as good. And in the good ones, the much-heralded ambiguity seems born of fractious thinking as much as genius. Vive la France! Seems to me he's only as good as his script, though that still makes him better than the usual hacks. Loved the review!

  • Sept. 28, 2000, 11:52 p.m. CST


    by Denny Colt

  • Sept. 28, 2000, 11:58 p.m. CST

    HEY MIFUNE.... MAGNOLIA is in the tradition of ALTMAN FILMS, not

    by Denny Colt

  • Sept. 29, 2000, 12:45 a.m. CST

    Ms. DuPont's review

    by Cirqueoc

    I just had to tell everyone publicly that I laughed several times during your highly entertaining review. Nicely done!

  • Sept. 29, 2000, 4:23 a.m. CST

    Why Am I Here?

    by mind_guerilla

    Robert Altman makes films for middle-aged alcoholic cuisine-gobbling men with swollen prostate glands and bow-ties, and middle-aged cranky, menopausal man-hating feminist pseudo-intellectuals bitches.

  • Sept. 29, 2000, 7:13 a.m. CST

    HEY DENNY COLT...Yeah, that one's so obvious it wasn't even wort

    by t. mifune

    Of course, PT's ending of Magnolia follows along the lines of 3 Women, a film that is quite similar to Dr. T. I also hope Bush gets elected because then Altman can go back to France and turn out masterpieces like Vincent and Theo, The Dumb Waiter, and Streamers.

  • Sept. 29, 2000, 8:23 a.m. CST

    P.T. Anderson and Altman

    by r_dimitri22

    Sonata>> Sorry. I was feeling a little bit confrontational yesterday. But I really don't see the need to shit on P.T. Anderson and his films just because they're similar to Altman's in some respects. You don't like P.T.'s work? Fine. Incidentally, The Player is probably in my top ten favorite films of all time. But then again, so is Boogie Nights.

  • Sept. 29, 2000, 2:52 p.m. CST

    I may be revealing myself here...

    by Everett Robert

    as a total Altman FREAK! But am I the only one who has seen (and for that matter appciated) his brillent, "short" film "THE DUMB WAITER" excellent excellent excellent flick from a true master...and yes I'll concede that Altman has made his share of high-quality stinkers, and I'm nervous about him including Liv Tyler in 2 films back to back now...but hell he got a great performance out of Travolta once, and a semi-good one out of Tyler once, who knows

  • Sept. 29, 2000, 9:54 p.m. CST

    Why has the mighty Cartuna not done an Alexandra DuPont caricatu

    by Sith Lord Jesus

    There's one of Capone and Moriarty. Why not the lovely AD? Go for it, dude! Y'can put her in a cute little sailor suit like Usagi's and give her eyes the size of dinner plates. "AICN film powwwweeerrrr--maaaaaake up!!! Er, maybe not.

  • Sept. 30, 2000, 9:06 a.m. CST

    PTA vs. Altman (cont.)

    by Sonata

    Dimitri, Sorry - I guess its been a long week for everyone. Didn't mean to shit on PTA's films at all (just in a bad mood I guess). I actually own all three of them - love Hard Eight and also think that Boogie Nights is one of the top five of the decade. I was, however, disappointed in Magnolia. I just saw too many parallels to Short Cuts - right down to the catastrophic ending. Doesn't mean I hate it and won't watch it from time to time. I guess I was just wondering just what kind of style we would be getting from PTA were it not for the films of Altman and Scorsese (I mean, just watch Casino then Boogie Nights and tell me if the style and energy of those two films aren't identical). Anyway, apologies all around. No harm, no foul. Peace.

  • Oct. 1, 2000, 7:53 p.m. CST

    Lyle Lovett is the coolest man alive

    by jolielouise

    and PTA is almost as cool as Lyle. As for Altman, at least he's smart enough to know that Lyle Lovett's cool. Just a few opinions.

  • Oct. 1, 2000, 8:02 p.m. CST

    Thanks for the delightfully droll parody of a review

    by rcane

    but now that we've all gotten a big kick out of it maybe you can have somebody who actually knows something about movies, let alone Altman movies, review it. By the way Alexandra, I understand there's a new Freddie Prinze Jr. movie coming out soon. Maybe that would be more up your alley.

  • Oct. 2, 2000, 9:20 a.m. CST

    my thoughts on this whole PT Anderson vs Altman thing

    by t. mifune

    Sure PT Anderson borrows from Robert Altman, but Altman borrowed from the Italian Neo-Realists, who in turn borrowed from early documentarians like Flaherty. And now that we're talking about hidden Altman classics, there's HEALTH, Streamers, The Room, and California Split. If you can find them, they're great.