Friday, May 23, 2008

Secret Honor - Robert Altman

I'm an Altman fan through and through. On the first day of every class I teach, I use him as an example. He made tons of movies up until the day he died. Good ones, bad ones, classics, duds. That's what I love about Mr. Altman. He told stories and made movies like he breathed air. It was just part of his anatomy.

Last night we watched Robert Altman's Secret Honor. I wasn't a fan. I appreciate it, but I didn't like it. I'm sure there are many reasons. First being that it's an adaptation of a play. Coming from a pretty hard core theater background before I moved in to film, I appreciate theater on a stage, not on a screen. There are reasons some stories are in a book. There are reasons some stories are on a stage. And there are reasons some stories are on a screen. This is one I think I would've appreciated more in a dark theater, with the intimacy of a few feet between me and the live actor.

I can't argue with Philip Baker Hall's performance. It's stellar. And what I took away last night was seeing something come out of that man, that I've never ever seen before. As I sat there watching the movie and two of the actors from The Two Bobs popped their heads in to the conference room to grab something, all I could think was, do young actors these days really know the power of good acting? I mean do they? It's not a jab towards them at all. I just really wonder how someone can get to such a performance like that.

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