An Altman-esque Robert Altman production that could have used more Altman. While the narrative structure, characters, situations, and themes are familiar to Altman's work, it's missing something intangible - conviction in vision and depth of feeling. You feel Altman's work in a way that Rudolph can only grasp at. While it's not an insult, it's just a reality as to how high the bar has been set by Altman's other work.
Ever noticed that every movie set in contemporary Los Angeles since WWII is about end times? Just look how nervous these women are! Amazing that we only see one of them chasing Valium w/ rotgut. It wouldn't be an L.A. movie without the passing invocation of an earthquake that never comes. It would appear (regrettably) to be the first (of many) L.A. movies where a small handful of people keep randomly bumping heads.
The matrix of the regrettable "Magnolia". Disciple of Altman -who promoted him-, especially of his coral movies, Rudolph never got to supplant the pretension to be and this movie is, perhaps, his magnum opus: a "chorus" with conductive diegetic music, with a suit of big name actors (what a beautiful Sissy Spacek!) accumulating dramaturgical plain pomposity and a formality that never exceeds its artistic irrelevance.
I love films that make L.A. look like the loneliest place in the world. Incredible cast and meticulously crafted shots, like the one where Sissy Spacek's pajamas are the same material as the wallcovering. She's never been more beautiful than in this film, the greatest film Robert Altman never made. Altman produced this, actually, but Alan Rudolph directed it, using Altman's ensemble in a subtler, moodier way. 4.6