Favorite cult film to never make a ''favorite'' list? Check out the latest Ask the Critic question and post your own

By Owen Gleiberman
Updated November 26, 2004 at 05:00 AM EST
Credit: Brewster McCloud: Everett Collection

Favorite cult film to never make a ”favorite” list?

What’s your favorite cult film that never makes the ”favorite” lists? — Jennifer
You could make the case, as this magazine has, that the quintessential cult movie is Harold and Maude. If you love that one, though, then you owe it to yourself to see the far less famous, more lyrical, and every bit as crazy-culty comedy that was the first movie to star Bud Cort: Brewster McCloud, Robert Altman’s lovely, funky, tragically overlooked 1970 fairy tale. Made just after M*A*S*H (and a year before Harold and Maude), it casts the disturbingly prepubescent-looking Cort as a man-child in oversize spectacles who lives in the Houston Astrodome, where he’s building a ramshackle flying machine so that he can, you know, fly away. The power of the film lies in Altman’s identification with this doomed and dreamy stripe-shirted Peter Pan. Beneath the zany surface of Brewster McCloud, one can feel a wistful sadness at the romance of the ’60s gently crashing to earth.

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