Henry Gibson as Haven Hamilton


Year: 1975
Directed By: Richard Altman
Written By: Joan Tewkesbury


Some films, no matter when they are made, can be timeless.  That cannot be said for this one.  Nope, getting sucked into this one can feel like getting into a time machine and going right back into 1975.  It’s a perfect image into the time by the way it captured the culture, style, and lifestyle of Nashville in 1975. Having just watched American Hustle, which is set only three years later, I think there is an interesting comparison.  American Hustle is a modern day film set in 1978 and it really looks great.  They had the hairdos and the clothing all right but no matter how good it was it can’t beat the real thing. This movie is authentic 1975, and that is immediately what drew me into the film with no other knowledge of the premise before seeing it.

When I decided to do a themed end of the month for the 4th of July it was mainly just to have a reason to review American Hustle and American Gangster. Both have been sitting on my shelf for a while and this holiday seemed like the perfect time to make a loose connection to get them out of the way.  I mentioned what we were doing on Twitter and one of our followers suggested this film. Do us a favor and follow @patrickcrain73 on Twitter as a thank you for the suggestion. I only had to glance at it on IMDB.com and see the names Robert Altman and Keith Carradine before deciding that I wanted, wait, needed to see it.  I am always interested in a suggestion that I haven’t seen before, especially an older film.  It turns out that this movie is a perfect film for the holiday as it is set during the 4th and I enjoyed watching it.

It was described to me initially as “wholly American.” That was well said as it is an exact description of this film in two words.  There are patriotic places all over the country but none of them will be quite like the homeland of country music.  I love the opening to this film when Henry Gibson, in the part of Haven Hamilton, is recording what I can only describe as the most typical song I can imagine. It’s American in a way that only country music can be.  I am from the South, but despite this I detest country music and don’t particularly like things involving the country music capitol.  Nevertheless when I started watching this film it sucked me in. I let it absorb me when I was watching it and literally felt like I was looking through a window into the world of this city during 1975.  It’s an interesting story that eventually comes together at the end and until that time it’s a lot of fun along the way.

I don’t typically like to write reviews of a film after only one viewing.  There is always more to see when you look beneath the surface of anything and when a film garners multiple viewings you will undoubtedly notice twice as much as you did the first time.  I don’t know if this is the type of film that garners multiple viewings but I definitely feel like I will have more to say about it after a second viewing. However, the fast approaching holiday isn’t providing the time for such. This is a movie I intend to watch again and it will be relatively soon as we are entering the “N” section of our DVD collection following the “holiday themed” reviews.  When that time comes around I will add to this review and Amber will lend her voice to it as well.  For now I mainly want this to serve as a recommendation to see a film that captures what the 4th of July is all about.

If you are looking for a movie that sets the tone for the 4th of July this is a much better option than the most obvious choice.  Yes, Born on the Fourth of July was an impressive film but it’s such a buzz kill to watch.  Not only will it not fill you with patriotic pride but it will seriously bum you out. It fits the bill if you’re looking for something political but you’ll find yourself on the wrong side of the flag with that one.  So as this holiday approaches and you get bored during the day waiting for fireworks that evening a movie might be in order. When you go looking for a film that sets the tone avoid Born on the Fourth of July and look for Nashville.  Nashville will give you something fun to pass the time with and it will get you in the mood for the show later that evening.