Sunday, February 1, 2015

MASH (1970)

IMDb plot summary: The staff of a Korean War field hospital use humor and hijinks to keep their sanity in the face of the horror of war.
Directed by Robert Altman. Starring Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould, Tom Skerritt, and Sally Kellerman.

I've seen MAYBE two episodes of the TV show, years ago, so I was coming to this fairly new. And I struggled with this movie. It's so unpleasant to watch, a dark comedy not only because of the circumstance but because it's centered around some of the most awful, unlikable characters ever. A little digging, however, indicates, this might be the point. The top-ranked IMDb review says: "Here we don't see courage or valor or heroism or honor; we see cowardice and nastiness and vice and stupidity, even from the 'good' characters. The movie subtly suggests that war makes ordinary people into silly, stupid, and vicious ones, and Hawkeye and Trapper are no more exempt from this law than Frank Burns; in fact, if anything they are more angry and mean than he is."

So... that does make sense. It doesn't make me *like* the movie any better, but it helps me understand it and admire it in a way I absolutely could not before. I'm just not sure I'd classify it a comedy at all. I'm not entirely sure how to rank it, as I found it a pretty unpleasant experience, and not in an interesting way, but I admire what it was trying to do.

2 stars.

How it entered my Flickchart:
MASH < The Madness of King George
MASH > Hangman's Curse
MASH > Top Hat
MASH < Talk to Her
MASH < Bride & Prejudice
MASH < Deja Vu
MASH < Rebecca
MASH > No Country for Old Men
MASH > The Unsinkable Molly Brown
MASH < I Remember Mama
MASH < The Invention of Lying
Final spot: #1431 out of 2311.

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