The music feels authentic, from the patriotic bombast of “200 Years” as performed by Henry Gibson’s pompous superstar Haven Hamilton to Keith Carradine’s Oscar-winning “I’m Easy.” The soundtrack is a key element to the film’s success. If the music didn’t work, nothing in the movie would work.
Even though Nashville captures a very specific time and place, it’s eerie how much of the film remains relevant, even prescient today. One of the key threads running through the picture is the organization of a fundraiser for presidential candidate Hal Phillip Walker.
Walker is running on the “Replacement Party” and his campaign van appears throughout, broadcasting populist messages about running lawyers out of Congress and changing the national anthem to something ordinary people can sing. By the time the fundraiser begins, you half expect Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, and other Tea Party favorites to show up.
Altman ties politics and fame together in another way that would come true a short time later: (Spoiler alert for those of you who haven’t seen this) the assassination of a celebrity.
After John Lennon’s murder, Altman was contacted by a reporter from the Washington Post who asked if he felt responsible. Altman turned the tables and suggested the media should feel responsible for not heeding his warning.