Overhyped and overrated!
So far, Robert Altman doesn't have the best track record. I shoud probably check out his earlier works, but the three films I have seen, none of which really proved worthy of the acclaim.
It's the same here with The Player. A simple story is bloated by a myriad of cameos and a bit of self-awareness that caters the hubris of the industry. I'm really not surprised that The Player earned a shitload of awards. The Guilds and Academies which hand them out, always seem to appreciate some soft criticism that leads away from the actual nuisances of the industry.
As a fan of starpower in movies, I should actually appreciate the manpower Altman brought into the film. From Malcolm McDowell over Julia Roberts to Anjelica Huston - EVERYONE is in this picture. The one's who aren't doing a cameo, play actual characters.
Freakishly tall Tim Robbins, who also wears clothes that seem to emphasize his height (btw early 90s fashion is awful), plays sinister movie executive Griffin Mill who receives death threats by a writer he offended a while back.
He ends up in a film noiresque murder plot, that mostly lacks any suspense though. Although it's a kind of neo-noir, The Player won the Globe for Best Comedy or Musical, I can't explain that one... but the Globes are notorious for head-shaking categorizations anyways. Maybe the Hollywood people found this to be a satire, although I'd guess it's nearer to reality than they'd prefer.
Movie references alone (and The Player has a lot of them, one thing I really liked about it) don't make a comedy.
The Player is not a disaster. It's skillfully made at least, but I can't swallow Altman's naturalistic cinematography. I actually would like to see the Lynch version of it. The ending is cool though.
PS: Vincent D'Onofrio looks like Mark Ruffalo in this movie.