Tag Archives: Paul Thomas Anderson

The Set of 400: #217 – My Favorite Adult Braces

Today! Because it’s not going to stop/’Til you wise up –

Magnolia (1999)

Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson (x4)

Starring Tom Cruise (x3), Philip Seymour Hoffman (x4), Julianne Moore, John C. Reilly (x4), William H. Macy, Jason Robards (x2), Melora Walters, Ricky Jay, Alfred Molina (x3), Felicity Huffman, Melinda Dillon (x2), Luis Guzman (x3), Philip Baker Hall (x3), Thomas Jane (x2), Michael Murphy (x3), Henry Gibson (x3), Neil Flynn (x2), Patton Oswalt, Jim Meskimen (x2), Jeremy Blackman, Michael Bowen, Cleo King, Clark Gregg (x3)

Like many people, my initial reaction to Magnolia was that I had a problem with the ending. For everything else going on in this movie – and there is a ton going on here – the natural takeaway, as it is the climax of the movie, is “What the hell is all this with the frogs now?” But, come on, how else was it going to end? Isn’t it obvious that the solution to all the crazy pent up drama is for the sky to open up and drench the city in biblically apocalyptic frogs? No?

I mean, this kid seemed to dig it

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Movies

The Set of 400: #300 – My Favorite Healthy Choice Pudding Promotion

Today! Because I don’t know if there is anything wrong because I don’t know how other people are –

Punch-Drunk Love (2002)

Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson (x3)

Starring Adam Sandler (x2), Emily Watson, Philip Seymour Hoffman (x2), Luis Guzman (x2), Robert Smigel, Mary Lynn Rajskub (x2)

Paul Thomas Anderson’s smallest movie also easily qualified as his weirdest, until Inherent Vice came on the scene twelve years later. But this one is still pretty odd – Sandler (at his unhinged drama-comic best) plays a thoroughly damaged novelty item warehouse manager who simultaneously begins a relationship with a solidly damaged British women, while also contending with that most typical of film villains – scurrilous phone sex operators. He’s also got half a dozen sisters and periodically flies into violent rages, often at the expense of innocuous public restrooms or sliding glass doors.

The film features a weirdly wonderful use of color throughout

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Movies

The Set of 400: #315 – My Favorite Department Store Photographer

Today! Because if you leave me now, in the next life you will be my sworn enemy –

The Master (2012)

Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson

Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, Laura Dern, Rami Malek, Jesse Plemons, Kevin J. O’Connor (x2), Ambyr Childers, Christopher Evan Welch, Jillian Bell, W. Earl Brown, Kevin J. Walsh

One of the decidedly less accessible but undeniably brilliant Paul Thomas Anderson films of recent years, The Master is his rage-acted takedown of Scientology-esque “religious” cults of personality. Typical of PTA’s movies, the acting here is first rate – Hoffman’s work as the L. Ron Hubbard of The Cause, Lancaster Dodd, is riveting madness, topped only by Phoenix’s hyper-intense take on the shattered war vet Freddie Quell. Less bombastic but still gripping is Adams as the power-behind-the-throne wife of the cult leader. All three would rightfully get Oscar nominations, but all would lose in the absolutely stacked year of 2012. Okay, I could see Hoffman topping Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained, his always struck me as an odd win, but what, was Phoenix’s volcanic work really going to win out against Daniel Day-Lewis as Abe Lincoln? Or was Adams realistically going to beat Anne Hathaway for singing “I Dreamed a Dream” in Les Mis? 2012, man – it’s one of the greats.

Suffering is a strangely overrated emotion when it comes to Oscar wins, though

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Movies

The Set of 400: #380 – My Favorite Milkshake

Today! Because I am the third revelation! I am who the Lord has chosen!

There Will Be Blood (2007)

Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson

Starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Dano, Ciaran Hinds, Kevin J. O’Connor, Dillon Freasier, Paul F. Tompkins, Jim Downey, Jim Meskimen

There are a handful of directors that to this day I run out and see whatever they make, no questions asked, no matter the subject matter, cast, reviews, or anything. Basically since 1997, Paul Thomas Anderson has been at or near the top of that list. And There Will Be Blood, while not my favorite, might be his best film. That glorious opening half hour! Daniel Day-Lewis commanding his way to a second Oscar! Paul Dano, coming off Little Miss Sunshine, but with so much dialogue! The titanic struggle for the town’s soul! The backstabbing! The milkshake! It’s not a particularly fun movie, but goddamn is it compelling.

Anderson’s later films have gotten tougher on audiences, and it started right around here. The plots became less and less important, as the atmosphere and tone took center stage. Movies like Inherent Vice, The Master, and The Phantom Thread became harder to follow, motivations got weirder, and the level of interpretation required grew exponentially. I enjoy these movies from the perspective of cinematic study, but they don’t make for easygoing afternoons at the cineplex. That’s not their intention, and I’m not saying it should be, but I worry that Anderson’s deserved wide acclaim will elude him so long as his films continue down this path. He is easily in the discussion of being the world’s greatest living director, but would your average moviegoer be able to acknowledge this? He’s an American Jean-Luc Godard living in an age of J.J. Abrams. Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Movies