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
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