BP’s Top 100 Movie List Challenge #90: The Player, by Sarah Brinks
I decided to undertake a movie challenge in 2017. This seemed like a good way to see some classic movies that I have unfortunately never seen – The Battleship Pretension Top 100 provided just that challenge.
Robert Altman’s The Player is a Hollywood film about Hollywood filmmaking. Studio VP Griffin Mill (Tim Robbins) is receiving threatening postcards from an angry writer. Mill accidentally kills the writer he incorrectly assumes is sending him the postcards. He spends the film wondering if he’ll get away with his crime. This meta-plot leads to some intentional self-criticism, poking fun at Hollywood. The pitches that Mill hears are particularly humorous, then the way some of them come to fruition during the film adds extra comedy.
The Player’s cast is a who’s-who of 90’s Hollywood and it was fun to catch all the cameos in the film. Robbins leads the cast brilliantly. Other fun standouts were Whoopi Goldberg and Cynthia Stevenson. It was also a lot of great to see the early 90’s fashions that were still so informed by the trends of the 80’s. The women’s pantsuits in particular were multi-colored nightmares.
I admit that I struggle a little with movies that show the brutal truth of filmmaking. I know, logically, that the film industry is a business and a brutal one at that. It is about selling tickets and box office success. But I would like to believe in the myth that films are made to be art and to touch hearts and minds. There is no reason a film can’t do both, but movies like The Player bring into harsh light that box office success will trump art most of the time.
I’ve decided to rate each film using an arbitrary scale based on the board game Battleship (lowest: Destroyer, Submarine, Cruiser, Battleship, highest: Carrier)
The Player ranking: Battleship