Like the Coen Brothers’ 1998 classic “The Big Lebowski,” Robert Altman’s “Brewster McCloud” is one of those films where you feel the filmmaker had a million different weird ideas that they always wanted to put into a film, but were inhibited due to budgetary, narrative, or time constraints. When said filmmaker achieves some success and they can do anything they want, they throw all these weird ideas into one sort-of “f–k you” film, knowing they’ll never get another chance to be this far out again.
Like “Lebowski,” when you first see “McCloud,” at best, you may chuckle a little bit, but wonder how it all fits together. At worst, you’ll roll your eyes and groan at the self-indulgence. But if you give it a chance and watch it again … and again … the film will grow on you … big time. And then you’ll really start to groove on the weird humor and characters.
In this case, “Brewster McCloud” was Altman’s first film after the blockbuster success of “M*A*S*H”. I remember seeing this in a film class I took as an undergraduate and my friends and I left the auditorium scratching our heads and wondering “What the f–k was that?” However, it was so twisted, weird, and funny, that I rented it on VHS when I came home on break and would pick it up over the years when I couldn’t find anything else to watch. Watching it again recently, it actually seems ballsier and less politically correct than I remember many years ago. This is a wonderfully rude, nasty, misanthropic comedy with probably the most tasteless final joke / line in a film … ever. Seriously, it’s literally the last line in the film after the credits and it will either make you groan in disgust or laugh hysterically. Dave says check it out.
As a bonus, check out screenwriter Larry Karaszewski’s (“The People v. Larry Flynt,” “Ed Wood”) commentary on the film from Trailers from Hell.