What can I say about Robert Altman that hasn't been said first and better by someone else? Well, pretty much nothing, but I'd certainly be remiss not to note the passing one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, and probably the greatest living American filmmaker until his death on Monday night. Altman was 81 and looked quite fragile in his recent public appearances (and allegedly had Paul Thomas Anderson ghost-directing much of A Prairie Home Companion for him), so it wasn't necessarily a surprise to hear of his passing, but it was nevertheless unexpected and very sad. I've seen nine Altman films, which barely scratches the surface of his extensive and varied filmography, and I have no doubt that there are many wonders for me to discover as I see more.
Keith Uhlich writes up a nice tribute at The House Next Door, and Ed Gonzalez posts a touching and personal eulogy at Slant. A.O. Scott has the standard, sturdy obit in the New York Times, with his usual understated intelligence. And there's a wealth of all sorts of writing on Altman from the House's Altman blog-a-thon back in April. (Also Lindsay Lohan's rambling, incoherent expression of condolence, which is horrifying and amusing and sort of sweetly misguided at best.) But the best way to pay tribute, of course, is to sit down and watch one (or more) of Altman's brilliant and inventive films.