From The 70s: “California Split”

I have not been watching very many 2018, ’19 and ’20 movies because current flicks are so blasted familiar and dull and, of course, woke (and thus play it safe). (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is an exception.) I’m mostly sticking with films from the past. The 1974 California Split, by Robert Altman, is not a good movie—the situations it presents are absurd—but it isn’t uncomfortably familiar or dull or woke either. Revolving around two shallow gamblers, it doesn’t play it safe. The film is a mess, however.

It rambles on preposterously, with no character development. George Segal is in a dopey, underwritten role but his acting succeeds except in the drunk scenes. Elliott Gould is a grabber, appropriately zestful. Ann Prentiss is unreal and miscast, but such supporting players as Joseph Walsh (Sparkie) are fine. Gwen Welles, who died of cancer at 42, is pleasant. Occasionally California Split is vulgar. In a good scene in Altman’s Nashville, Miss Welles reveals her attractive buttocks. Here, Gould reveals (discreetly) his unattractive penis. Spare me.

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