Robert Altman was one of the most idiosyncratic American directors of his era, but at the core of his style were elements of Hollywood tradition. From his melancholy neowestern McCabe & Mrs. Miller to his eccentric musical epic Nashville, many of his greatest films combine character-driven stories with a bold approach to genre. For his 1992 comeback hit, The Player, he satirized film-industry politics with the tropes of a classic crime movie. Scholar Jeff Smith dives into this critically acclaimed gem in the latest episode of Observations on Film Art, exploring its playful experimentation with genre conventions and what it reveals about Altman’s love-hate relationship with commercial cinema. Take a look at an excerpt below, then head to the Criterion Channel on FilmStruck for the full video, streaming alongside our edition of The Player.