Robert Altman's Nashville is one of my favorite films - or, at least, I think it is. I haven’t seen it in a while, and the last time I did, I noticed the longueurs more than I ever had before. Maybe the best thing to do with favorite films and books is to leave them be: to achieve such an exalted position means that they entered your life at exactly the right time, in precisely the right place, and those conditions can never be re-created. Sometimes we want to revisit them in order to check whether they were really as good as we remember them being, but this has to be a suspect impulse, because what it presupposes is that we have more reason to trust our critical judgments as we get older, whereas I am beginning to believe that the reverse is true.I was eighteen when I saw Nashville for the first time, and I was electrified by its shifts in tone, its sudden bursts of feeling and meaning, its ambition, its occasional obscurity, even its pretensions. I don’t think I’d ever seen an art movie before, and I certainly hadn’t seen an art movie set in a world I recognized. So I came out of the cinema that night a slightly changed person, suddenly aware that there was a different way of doing things. None of that is going to happen again, but so what? And why mess with a good thing? Favorites should be left where they belong, buried somewhere deep in a past self.