Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Brewster McCloud (1970)

Pee Wee Herman's bicycle ain't in the basement of the Alamo, but Brewster McCloud lives in the fallout shelter in the Houston Astrodome. This is the "something else" from the director of M.A.S.H.

This was the only film of Altman's that was unavailable to me on DVD. I purchased a copy on VHS from a seller on the Amazon Marketplace. The over-sized, sun-faded VHS box brought back many a memory to me of video stores of VHS boxes lining shelves. This one must have sat near a window for many a day.

I currently hang my hat in Houston, and it was fun seeing a lot of Houston landmarks. Streets that I often drive are name-dropped. Places that I visit, like Humble, are sped through by the characters in this very surreal film.

This film makes fun of a lot films of its day and the evocative images within those films, such as the modern machismo of Bullitt and Shaft. Altman even makes fun of M.A.S.H., allowing the viewer the opportunity to see Sally Kellerman topless in a fountain, whereas in M.A.S.H. she was covered by well-placed benches, lighting, and her own towel. Shelley Duvall is about the cutest thing that I've ever seen. I absolutely love this one. Altman's batting two-for-two.

The Astrodome, bright and shiny and new in this film, isn't home to the Astros anymore. I don't know what kind of events are held there today. There might actually be someone living in the fallout shelter of the Astrodome today. And more power to them.

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