My memories of Altman will always begin with The Player. When the film came out I was still an aspiring actor and was actively involved with a pretty creative group of like-minded individuals (some of whom are still doing their thing.) So when The Player dropped, with its brilliance and its wide open, nasty look at Hollywood, we were automatically drawn to it in a big way. Add to that the eminently quotable lines (“Because that’s the reality” with its long, drawn out S was a favorite) and it was no wonder the film really colored about a year of my life. I watched it again recently and was surprised by how much it felt like part of my personal history.
There’s something really engrossing about the film for me even now- after having seen it probably a dozen times. There are bits of Hollywood (and plain human) truth in it that I’m still fascinated by and it’s got a wonderful intellectual approach that seems to grow more refreshing every year.
The Player is what I want movies to be and for just that, Altman will be missed.