Short Cuts - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Short Cuts Reviews

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February 5, 2015
tripping over ourselves

While there's no cinematic equivalent to the Mona Lisa, I submit a list of the top ten American movies of the last 50 years in no particular order:

The Godfather, Apocalypse Now, Raging Bull, Pulp Fiction, Blade Runner, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Mullholland Drive, Tree of Life, Boyhood, Short Cuts.

Whaaaaaa... Short Cuts? Is it even Altman's best work? Well, everything unique and original in the other movies on this list was done before... by Altman. (Is there anything the man hasn't tried?) And everything Altman achieved in his career can be summed up in Short Cuts.

Five of the entries on my list are genre intact: gangster, war, bio, sci-fi, adventure. Lynch is a genre of his own (a master of hook and subvert), Pulp Fiction is pomo-noir with a swagger, Tree of Life, an audacious and transcendent poem, Boyhood, literally an epic achievement of dedication and commitment. Short Cuts doesn't seem to fit in as it is merely an observation of lives and love. But what observations! What lives! What heartbreaking affection. All underscored with a resonating heartbeat patching into so many paths, teetering on the brink of disaster and threatening to explode, which it does, in the form of a climactic planetary stroke. Nothing brings people together quite like a natural disaster. An earthquake, tremoring just enough to inform us of our place in history on the cosmic map. Enough to bring us down to earth, reboot our egos, and put multiple perspectives in perspective. Enough to appreciate the simple state of being.

A larger-than-life baroque master is at the helm, warbling out contrapuntal narratives and swirling themes orchestrated to perfection. Multiple story-lines wavering under one very singular umbrella. And under Altman's protective cover the talent runs free and easy, playful and experimental, ironic and sincere. The key characters in one story become walk-throughs in another, paradoxically tethered and disconnected from the self, from family, community, and life. Boundaries are crossed and souls get lost. We're all the same if only by not knowing what our needs are or why we're even here. With nothing to say except everything is exceptional, infinite and empty. And life is short. Shorts Cuts of scenes stories words actions desire love loss lies lust faith wonder and devotion. Heck, I'd see it again only to watch Tom Waits and Lily Tomlin shack up.

Some movies claim to be infinitely entertaining, some maintain they can be viewed repeatedly without losing their initial charm, some insist they never age, I know only one that can lay claim to all such conceits. Short Cuts is like falling in love. It delivers quietly, wonderfully, naturally, tenderly, simply and deeply.
January 12, 2015
A real-life horror story of the Aids crisis as it happened in the '80s and beyond.
November 12, 2014
Utterly brilliant and profound. Every performance is pointed and on-the-mark. A truly great comedy/drama! Devastating!
June 15, 2014
The title doesn't at all go with the length of this bore.
May 25, 2014
The movie started out exciting and was enjoyable the entire time but at the end I was left feeling unsatisfied. Almost all the scenes had a common thread of 'sex' and/or 'love'. The juxtaposition of some of the situations were heart-rendering and some were very comical. The last 10 minutes was a climax of sorts and hard to believe that some of the characters would do such despicable acts. No real ending- you have to imagine how things turn out. Enjoyed watching Jack Lemmon and Lily Tomlin the most. The most important lesson I found was the groundlessness of the characters- what happens when you don't have the Christ in your life.
½ April 21, 2014
Having not read the stories that the film is based on, there's always the niggling worry that I'm missing something. However, with Short Cuts, the film is so thoroughly engrossed in its characters that it's difficult to believe that anything was left out. This is a film that feels like it was made to be viewed in film school. It feels like it's the movie that Magnolia and Crash would look to as their starting points. It's meticulously controlled chaos, due to Robert Altman's masterful touch. Famous for his large casts and layered dialog, both of which are at work here, he also manages to get the performances of a career out of some of his actors. The actors that are already great, shine even brighter, bringing a vibrancy to the weird and seedy side of suburban L.A. While the overall narrative may lack coherence, by which I mean, as a first time viewer 20 years after its release, I was expecting there to be some sort of grand intersection of characters to inject a kind of decipher key to the storytelling, each tale stands out on its own, odd merits. There's a perfectly drawn out tension to each tale, that's almost imperceptible until you realize you've let out a sigh of relief when some of the stories come to rather sedate conclusions. For those that don't there's a sense of vindication for realizing you've been put on your guard.But even then, the twists and turns go by with an almost muted normality for this almost foreign world, as if asking "what else did you expect from a world that poisons itself?" If only we could all feel our own every day moments of life as poignantly as we're encouraged to feel the characters' moments in this film.
½ March 22, 2014
3 hours of greatness!
January 7, 2014
Incredibly realistic, Short Cuts shows the ups and downs of life, it's at times very funny, and sometimes very sad, and it's full of great performances.
½ December 31, 2013
I had rented the tapes back in my college days. I don't believe I fully understood what it says back then.
It was supposed to be one of the few movie trying to interweaving several separate plotlines into one story/movie back in the '90s. Some plotlines/ characters are really interesting, Tim Robbins, Frances McDormand, Peter Gallagher for example; some could be totally wiped out to me- Robert Downey Jr.'s for instance. Nevertheless, this was still one significant piece in movies-making history, despite certain flaws for today's standard.
½ December 19, 2013
Glad I finally watched this. The influence that Altman had on Paul Thomas is clear as day. An incredible cast shines in this ensemble character study focusing on the seedy side of Los Angeles (and suburbia in general). Does have a few moments where it drags or delves into melodrama though and the individual pieces don't necessarily intertwine so as to have a clear impact on one another.
½ December 7, 2013
Life imitates art--Cuts deep!!
October 10, 2013
The intriguing symbolism is the only thing that saved this movie from a complete disaster. It had enough to get a decent rating, but it was rather disappointing. Robert Altman seems to think that making his movies slow, long, and overdramatic is going to help, but it doesn't, as seen by this and Gosford Park.
September 10, 2013
Uma das obras máximas de Robert Altman, mostrando que tem pleno domínio de seu elenco e onde nem vemos 3 horas de filme passar.
August 18, 2013
More tedium from Robert Altman. At least it had a great cast and it was fun seeing Huey Lewis as an actor.
½ July 28, 2013
What a load of crap, and a waste of talent. I can't believe that so many people like it.
July 1, 2013
9 tales of 22 fantastically flawed characters all tangled up together. An absolute masterpiece that hits me like a hammer every time.
June 17, 2013
Short Cuts is one of the most well directed and well written films I have ever seen. It is an intricate study of the interconnectedness and nature of humanity, moreover, it is a study of how we refuse to see our connection and carry on with our selfish desires until love or death makes us see the truth in ourselves and others. Altman creates an all-too-real atmosphere that his ensemble cast thrives in; his subtle camerawork and the editing make this scattered plot flow like a natural life. Although, the film mostly relies on the masterfully written screenplay and the actors abilities to personify their characters and really bring the film to life. Short Cuts is a masterpiece that few films can match its vision of the human condition, and its entertainment value, it is quick moving and enthralling. I highly reccommend a viewing of this film.
½ June 15, 2013
This is definitely not my favorite Robert Altman film, but it is still a great addition to his filmography. There are over 20 main characters and each one is given just enough time to flesh out their story. It's really amazing that it is done so well that the audience can keep all of them straight.
½ May 20, 2013
Largely bored when I watched this as a 16 year old; completely enthralled as a 32 year old.
May 8, 2013
Short Cuts is an influential and simple ensemble piece that great characterisations and a cool screenplay. The connection of the characters (who are all well acted from its talented ensemble cast) is thorough and interesting, and the scenes are funny and curiously directed.
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