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The Next Reel • Season 13 • Series: 1993 Academy Awards Best Film Editing Nominees • The Player

The Player • Member Bonus

“Can we talk about something other than Hollywood for a change?”

Robert Altman’s The Player is a satirical dark comedy that takes a sharp look at the inner workings of Hollywood and the movie industry. The film was nominated for Best Film Editing at the 1993 Academy Awards, competing against Basic Instinct, The Crying Game, A Few Good Men, and the winner Unforgiven. The Player marked Altman’s return to the spotlight after a string of critical and commercial disappointments in the 1980s.
Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue the member bonus 1993 Academy Awards Best Film Editing Nominees series with a conversation about The Player.
A Hollywood Murder Mystery Wrapped in Satire In our discussion of The Player, we delve into the film’s satirical elements and how effectively they hold up today. We examine the portrayal of Hollywood executives, writers, and the pitch process, and whether the film’s ending undermines or strengthens its satirical bite. We also explore the movie’s two main narrative threads – the threatening postcards Griffin Mill receives and the arrival of Larry Levy as a potential rival at the studio – and debate which storyline is more compelling.
Altman’s Unique Style and the Film’s Legacy Throughout the episode, we touch upon Altman’s distinctive directorial techniques, such as his use of overlapping dialogue and the laughter at the Pasadena police station. We also discuss the film’s all-star cast and the prevalent use of cameos, which serve to create a realistic Hollywood atmosphere.
Other topics and points covered in our conversation include:
  • Lyle Lovett’s acting career and his role as the mysterious detective
  • The film’s Hollywood ending and its bleak commentary on Hollywood’s priorities
  • Memorable scenes, such as the eight-minute-plus oner that opens the film
  • The movie’s balancing act between reality and satire
The Player remains a thought-provoking and entertaining critique of the Hollywood system, bolstered by Altman’s signature style and a stellar ensemble cast. While its satirical elements may not be as biting by today’s standards (or even by 1992 standards), the film still offers a fascinating glimpse into the machinations of the movie industry. We have a great time talking about it, so check it out then tune in. The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins!
Film Sundries
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