Short Cuts

October 1st, 1993


Short Cuts

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Still of Tom Waits and Lily Tomlin in Short CutsStill of Robert Altman and Anne Archer in Short CutsStill of Tim Robbins, Robert Altman and Madeleine Stowe in Short CutsStill of Tim Robbins and Anne Archer in Short CutsStill of Robert Downey Jr. and Lili Taylor in Short CutsStill of Tom Waits and Lily Tomlin in Short Cuts

The everyday lives of a number of suburban Los Angeles residents are the subject of this loosely-knitted collection of short stories.

Release Year: 1993

Rating: 7.7/10 (22,252 voted)

Critic's Score: 79/100

Director: Robert Altman

Stars: Andie MacDowell, Julianne Moore, Tim Robbins

While helicopters overhead spray against a Medfly infestation a group of Los Angeles lives intersect, some casually, some to more lasting effect. Whilst they go out to concerts and jazz clubs and even have their pools cleaned, they also lie, drink, and cheat. Death itself seems never to be far away, even on a fishing trip.

Writers: Raymond Carver, Robert Altman

Andie MacDowell - Ann Finnigan
Bruce Davison - Howard Finnigan
Jack Lemmon - Paul Finnigan
Zane Cassidy - Casey Finnigan
Julianne Moore - Marian Wyman
Matthew Modine - Dr. Ralph Wyman
Anne Archer - Claire Kane
Fred Ward - Stuart Kane
Jennifer Jason Leigh - Lois Kaiser
Chris Penn - Jerry Kaiser
Joseph C. Hopkins - Joe Kaiser
Josette Maccario - Josette Kaiser
Lili Taylor - Honey Bush
Robert Downey Jr. - Bill Bush
Madeleine Stowe - Sherri Shepard

Taglines: From two American masters comes a movie like no other

Release Date: 1 October 1993

Filming Locations: Bronson Caves, Bronson Canyon, Griffith Park - 4730 Crystal Springs Drive, Los Angeles, California, USA

Opening Weekend: $106,553 (USA) (3 October 1993) (5 Screens)

Gross: $6,110,979 (USA)

Technical Specs

Runtime:  | Argentina:

Did You Know?

All Jennifer Jason Leigh's phone-sex conversations are verbatim of the calls she heard when she was researching for the part.

Continuity: When Paul and Howard are sitting in the hospital cafeteria, the food items on the table keep changing between shots.

Lois Kaiser: [talking through sex hotline] Oh! I can feel your balls up against my ass!

User Review

A different kind of L.A. Story

Rating: 8/10

Robert Altman has never shied away from casting every actor known to mankind in his films, and this is certainly true with his 1993 film "Short Cuts", a film set in Los Angeles over the course of a couple of days. In terms of primary actors, ones that had a substantial enough part to merit a supporting tag, I count at least 22; but more impressive than the sheer number of the cast is the fact that the film does not suffer from character overload, nor do their intertwining stories (and they are all separated by no more than one or two degrees).

I started this review by going through each character and the story each brings to the table, but after about three paragraphs worth of explanation, it is clear that it is not only a bad idea, but probably counterproductive to the review itself. "Short Cuts" is simply about human relationships, all of which seem to be completely unhealthy. The beauty of Altman's script and direction is that this isn't imminently apparent in all cases. Something as subtle as a sigh and a minor roll of the eyes speaks volumes in a film this well done. The acting in the film is, to be expected, great in most cases. Andie MacDowell, though not quite as insipid as usual, is still pretty bad, but gems like Lyle Lovett, Peter Gallagher, Tom Waits (who I am really biased toward) and a fairly fresh and new Julianne Moore more than make up for any minor acting mishaps.

There are not many films that are so involved that I simply throw up my hands at the prospect of doing my standard summary review for them, but "Short Cuts" is one of them. The script is compelling enough to easily sit through all 187 minutes of the film, the ending doesn't disappoint, and the film contains a cool jazz score. If you're a fan of ensemble films, this should be on your list. If you're an Altman fan, this should be on your short list because I consider it to be one of his best. 8/10 --Shelly


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