Feb 2, 2007

The Pot Thickens

Screenwriter Michael Tolkin contributes an odd and illuminating tribute to Robert Altman, "a misanthrope who loved having people around," and the way a certain recreational drug helped determine his aesthetic. Altman once told me (pardon his French), "I don't give a rat's fuck about plot." Pot, however, he did. Drug angle aside, I particularly liked this quote:
There are directors whose movies are just delivery systems for their self-confidence, in which self-confidence is really the thing that entertains, because it takes a bold confidence to successfully tell a stupid story, and for sure there are useful energies we suck from awful films that begin with the director’s amazing love of himself. The films of such directors are always the same, until they lose their confidence, and then their movies fail in every way—no fun for us, no money for them. Altman never told the same film twice. To Altman we can apply Jean Giraudoux’s insight that only the mediocre are always at their best.

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