Tuesday, November 21, 2006


As you've probably heard, director Robert Altman passed away last night.

No need to tell you of his accomplishments, which you can read about it at your leisure. I'm noting his passing here for quite personal reasons.

For one, I have great affection for one of his last movies, Gosford Park. When I was living in Carbondale, up until they opened the new movie theater with (very narrow) stadium seating, they still were showing movies at the Varsity Theater (circa 1940). Just a few blocks from campus, right across the street from a walk-up only Dairy Queen, it gave any movie a nostalgic glow. I have fond feelings for just about every movie I saw there. And Gosford Park was one of my favorites: class commentary and Altman's distinctive "interest in chaos." Seeing it at the Varsity is a lovely memory from my four years in Carbondale.

For another, Altman is a native of my current home state. He commemorated his hometown in another movie I'm fond of, Kansas City (some of my favorite jazz musicians were among the cast members, including James Carter, David Murray, Geri Allen, Christian McBride, Don Byron).

And, according to some sources, he even attended Mizzou. To study engineering.

It's odd to think that someone whose movies "seem incoherent" started out in engineering. But somehow reassuring, too.

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