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MORIARTY Absolutely Does NOT Review PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE!!

Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab.

I’m not allowed to talk about this film.

And I understand. I do. I mean, it’s the clearest sort of conflict of interest issue there is. Harry practically is named Rodriguez at this point, the two of them are so close, so I can understand not reviewing ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO. And now I’m working for the people that produced PUNCHDRUNK LOVE, the new Paul Thomas Anderson film that is expanding even wider this Friday, building on a few weeks of excellent per-screen performance and some very solid buzz, so there’s no way I can write about it.

I mean, it doesn’t matter that I consider Paul Thomas Anderson one of the most important voices from the Class of ’99, guys who may or may not have made their first films that year, but who contributed in some way to making it a thing of majestic splendor. One of the articles I struggled most with in my work at AICN was my review of the BOOGIE NIGHTS and MAGNOLIA Platinum Edition DVDs, which I used to basically write an overview of all of his work up until then. You can read the piece here if you want. I struggled with it because I think he genuinely matters as a filmmaker, and out of the hundreds of people who make movies every year, there are only a handful who really genuinely matter. There’s names who would show up on (hopefully) any cineaste’s list, like Wes Anderson or Lars Von Trier or David Fincher or Martin Scorsese or Brad Bird or Patrice Leconte or Joel Coen or Quentin Tarantino or Spike Jonze or Peter Jackson, and there’s more, of course, and as you list those names, I would hope that Paul Thomas Anderson is one of the names that would come to mind, because what he’s doing is creating a body of work with a distinct and wonderful voice, films that stand defiantly outside of genre and easy categorization, each one a collection of artists bringing their best game to the table, caught in a moment, a unique collaboration that is orchestrated masterfully by this instinctual, almost impossibly natural filmmaker.

If I was able to talk about PUNCHDRUNK LOVE, I’d talk about how it fits perfectly into the body of work that Anderson is building. So far, his films are about love. Before they deal with anything else, they deal with love. In HARD EIGHT, we watch love rip through a friendship, and we see how love can sometimes be disguised as something else because of fear. In BOOGIE NIGHTS, we watch the way love binds people into families when they don’t have families of their own. And in MAGNOLIA, love both wounds and heals in equal measure, a terrible force that binds us all, as random and arbitrary as the coincidence in the film’s dazzling opening. Love is one of the most often written about things in film, but so many of the treatments are facile, shallow, barely more complex than the average LOVE BOAT episode. Most films that are called “romantic comedies” are sitcoms, dressed up and packed to overstuffed with movie stars to somehow diguise the fact that most of what they’re selling you is bullshit. Pretty people hooking up for the most preposterous of reasons, and we call it “romantic,” and we sell it wrapped in candy, and it’s just crap. But each of Anderson’s films so far manage to tell very specific stories about love, particular and odd and hard to explain in simple terms. And real. Above all, even when stylized as fiercely as this, this feels the way real love feels.

There are a number of reasons I should recuse myself from writing about the film. Aside from the whole Revolution issue, there’s also the fact that it hits a little close to home for me. The film is about Barry Egan (Adam Sandler), a man who lives his life like a clenched fist, a man who is so choked with rage that he is almost paralyzed. I’m not proud when I admit that I have my own rage issues, and I’m certain I’m not saying anything that most people who know me aren’t fully aware of. I don’t just get pissed at things. I rage. It’s a particular level of anger, and there are about four or five moments in this film where Barry gives in, where he opens up and lets the full force of his rage explode in a few pinpoint bursts, destroying everything he touches in those moments, and there’s only one time in the film that the release does something positive, where it actually works for Barry instead of against him. The difference between those early outbursts and the final one is simple: most are fulled by anger and loneliness and agonizing confusion, but one is fuelled entirely by love.

Seeing a film like this, a film that tells the story of someone struggling to let love in so that it can take the place of the anger and the fear and all those other things that hold us back, it’s deeply affecting. I’m always mystified when people tell me that they think I write in some persona online, or that I have tried to create some false or alternate me. It’s not true. I’ve always been as open a book as possible here, talking about my failures and my shortcomings and my weaknesses. Those are the things that make us human, these soft spots, and Anderson has given Adam Sandler the best role of his career here in Egan. Watch him closely in the film’s first half-hour. Every time any one of his seven sisters approaches him, he flinches away, like a dog that remembers a particularly savage kick. Listen to the way he circles a conversation, dodging almost every question, constantly ducking and bobbing and weaving verbally. In many ways, this is a great silent comedy performance. Even if Barry never spoke, there are so many things that Sandler does to sell the performance that it would still be the strongest thing he’s done so far. I mean, the suit alone is worth an entire essay some time, and you could do another on his small expressions of joy as something good begins to creep into his life, crowding out all that volcanic energy, forcing him to change right before our eyes.

Someone else could, I mean. I can’t. It’s against “the rules.” Never mind the fact that the only reason I ever wrote to AICN in the first place is because I love movies and I love talking about them, and I just wanted a forum where I could do that. I’m not selling you anything. I’m not here because I have to be, or because it’s my life’s calling to write reviews. I just thought it was fucking cool that people got together on the Internet to talk about common interests, things like movies, and writing for newsgroups and sending out e-mail newsletters just naturally led to me being here, where I can talk to more people at once. Never mind that. There are “rules,” evidently, about what I can and can’t fall in love with and go to see over and over again. Three times in a week, just because I love to soak the movie in, but never mind that. For the first time since I started at AICN, I’m unable to do exactly what I signed up for in the first place... talk about something I really love.

So fine. So I can’t write about it.

I can’t write about Jon Brion’s score, easily the best I’ve heard in any film this year. I can’t write about the remarkable way it works as auditory cocaine, subtly sending the pulse racing even as it plays hell with your nerves, sending you into paranoid spirals. The score puts you squarely into the head of Barry Egan, and just as he did with MAGNOLIA, Anderson stages a major sequence in the film around a song that serves as the emotional crescendo of the entire piece. In MAGNOLIA, it was that great moment where each of the characters finally gives in and gives voice to that thing that’s been building in them for the whole film, all of them united in one song, one shared desire. That’s the coincidence that Anderson is talking about in the film’s opening, the thing that we’re supposed to be looking for. How likely is it that all of those people, all of them in different types of pain, living different types of lives, could all want the same thing at the same time? It’s about as likely as a rain of frogs, or a scuba diver in a tree, or a suicide who gets shot mid-jump. It’s about as likely as a beautiful wide-eyed blonde walking into your life, ready to be loved, already sold on you at just a glance, the coincidence that seems to be derailing some critics of PUNCH-DRUNK. It’s about as likely as a man who’s never flown anywhere getting on a plane and chasing a girl to Hawaii because of one kiss, the moment that Anderson underscores to devastating effect with Shelly Duvall’s “He Needs Me” from POPEYE. I’ve always loved Harry Nilsson’s bizarre and wonderful songs from that movie (“He’s Large” is another side-splitting oddity), and the way this comic strip song gives real emotional weight to this powerful sequence should be an education to any filmmaker who cuts to a song during a film. Don’t just use some hit because it’s going to be on the soundtrack album. That sells out anything you’ve got going on in the scene. If you’re going to use music, use it to add some other level of emotional clarity to the scene, or to create some specific effect. Use it to break our hearts. Use it to shake us deeply.

I could spend pages and pages of energy talking about the remarkable gift for dialogue that Anderson has and the way it has grown stronger when pared back the way it is in the PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE screenplay, abbreviated to the point of being haiku, a suggestion of things. If I could write a review, that is.

I could write about the development of Robert Elswit as a cinematographer over the course of the four films he’s worked on with Anderson now. I could write about how remarkable his work is here, how defiantly different it is from any other “romantic comedy” any studio is releasing, replete with handheld and natural lighting and sudden liberating stylistic flights of fancy. I could gape in awe at the editing by Leslie Jones, one of the team who cut Malick’s magnificent THE THIN RED LINE. Jones has helped Anderson create his shortest film, and together they’ve created poetry here. There’s a recurrent transition device, simple colors on screen with a blast of score and snippets of dialogue, that had a remarkable effect on me, and I’m still trying to figure out why. Normally, I sit in a theater and I watch the way something’s put together, and I can understand the choices all the way around. So often, I watch mainstream films and I’m bored by how predictable and safe the choices are across the board, and I am nearly rendered unconscious by the predictable nature of the storytelling. Everything is always overexplained in most commercial writing. Nothing is left to the viewer to determine or contribute. In this film, there are wonderful gaps in conventional logic that add up in an intuitive way for me, and it excites me so much that I have found myself sitting here at the keyboard a few times in the last week, preparing to write about the film, then stopping myself.

No, no, no, I say to myself. You can’t. Doesn’t matter that you’ve built up a body of work writing about this filmmaker and you’ve got things you want to say about the new work. Because of dumb random luck and studio deals made years apart and for unrelated reasons, you suddenly aren’t allowed, so don’t even think about it.

I can’t talk about Luis Guzman, who continues to build one of the coolest bodies of work as a character actor with his hilarious work here. His entire performance is about his eyes. He says everything with the way he watches Barry. He likes Barry, he fears Barry a little bit, he is puzzled by Barry, and above all, he has no idea what planet Barry is from. And I can’t talk about Mary Lynn Rasklub, passive-aggressive perfection as Barry’s sister who introduces him to Lena in the first place, or Philip Seymour Hoffman, who makes the most out of less than 40 lines of dialogue in the whole film.

I can’t talk about how Emily Watson may have her best role here since BREAKING THE WAVES, playing a perfect vision of healing love. I can’t talk about the way Anderson uses her soft womanly curves and her big blue cupie-doll eyes to such profound effect. I can't talk about how she takes hold of Barry, this clenched fist, and gradually peels back each finger, taking down those defenses of his, until he is an open palm, waiting for her to entwine herself in him. I can’t talk about the sheer bliss of the first kiss between these two or my theory that the harmonium represents Lena, and how Barry taking one of them in is a substitute for the other, and how we see him looking for some band-aid that is going to heal him, never realizing it might be a person and not a thing that he needs. I can’t talk about the precise way Anderson uses violence in this film, or the brilliant way he backs Barry into a series of corners, only to refuse us release in a few key places that really challenge the idea of what an audience is willing to take.

I can’t talk about any of it... so I guess I’ll just shut up.

I mean, I’d tell you the film is opening in all sorts of new markets this weekend, but even that would seem like some sort of improper endorsement. And I am nothing if not the very model of propriety. So even though I think PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE is unforgettable and crushing and as good as any movie released this year, you’re never going to get me to say that, no matter how hard you try. My lips are sealed.

"Moriarty" out.





Readers Talkback
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  • Oct. 24, 2002, 9:04 a.m. CST

    by richie scorsese

    really lookin forward to this one. boogie nights and magnolia rank as two of my favourites. i know so called "real"film fans will accuse P.T od being derivative and plagarisitc as hell, but the best film makers borrow stuff and mess with other peoples trade marks. think some people r jealous that anderson does it better than most. boogie nights might be derivative of goodfellas, but wat a film to be derivative of. keep it up man....

  • Oct. 24, 2002, 9:12 a.m. CST

    The 'rules'

    by vertigo93

    Of course you have to follow the rules Mori. I mean, you and Harry are damaged goods now you have links with film makers. And of course, after half a dozen years of producing this site, giving scoops news and a forum for geeks FOR FREE no less, it's obvious that in fact YOU owe US, and not the other way around. OK, enough - I hope you 'sellout!!!' shouting talkback gits can grasp the irony loaded in the start of this (and in Mori's review). Are you so dumb you take every review as gospel and then complain because you handed the decision making process to see a film to someone else? Harry and Moraity owe you fucking nothing. They've produced this website without charging you a bean, and when they say something you don't like you jump down their fucking throat like their some kind of antichrist. Mori - review Punchdrunk Love freely (ok, so you did, but you know what I mean). Harry, review Once Upon A Time In Mexico as you want and expect people who read it to make up their own minds about if they want to see it. You owe us nothing, and anyone who intimates otherwise can get up off their geek arse and build their own successful website. Misanthropic fuckwits.

  • Oct. 24, 2002, 9:23 a.m. CST

    Guzman for President!

    by Spacesheik

    Any movie with BOTH Luis Guzman and Philip Seymour Hoffman is A in my book. Loved BOOGIE NIGHTS and loved *some* segments of MAGNOLIA. This is another one to look forward to.

  • Oct. 24, 2002, 9:37 a.m. CST

    I'm glad you didn't write about the film.

    by Wee Willie

    It would have been wrong of you to express your admiration for a film that you liked. Who knows what dammage your writing a review could have caused? I'm glad you kept your thoughts to yourself.

  • Oct. 24, 2002, 9:39 a.m. CST

    For a just-the-facts pre-release review

    by artsnob

    http://us.imdb.com/CommentsShow?272338-7 And there's more where that came from ... http://us.imdb.com/CommentsShow?272338-16 http://us.imdb.com/CommentsShow?272338-36 http://us.imdb.com/CommentsShow?272338-41 http://us.imdb.com/CommentsShow?272338-68 http://us.imdb.com/CommentsShow?272338-83

  • Oct. 24, 2002, 9:54 a.m. CST

    Moriarty...

    by jawbreaker

    Stop sucking your own dick. No one cares that you can't share your prescious opinon with us because you might piss off Joe Roth. Sheesh man. Your fucking arrogance is what is killing this site.

  • Oct. 24, 2002, 9:59 a.m. CST

    thanks artsnob

    by Anakin722

    Hey artsnob, I must thank you for your strong endoresement of Punch-Drunk Love. By pointing out that there are only SIX negative reviews out of the 98 posted on the IMDB, you've further increased my excitement for the film! I was going to see the film anyway, but now I'm even more excited. Hopefully some people who were on the fence will follow the links on your article and see that PDL is running over 90% positive and decide to go see it.

  • Oct. 24, 2002, 10:13 a.m. CST

    I think it's offical...

    by Feudal Fetus

    Harry has become the dead beat dad who only shows his face once in a while with a crappy understated gift to make up for his terrible fathering, while Moriarty has become the over worked single mother trying to raise us geeks and make his mark in a male dominated society. You go girl!

  • Oct. 24, 2002, 10:16 a.m. CST

    So what is this about? Waterboy falls in love?

    by KingKarll

    As far's Magnolia-that was about as off-putting and trite a pile of drivel as anything I have seen. It has good parts, yes-but for the most-I was not sold on it at all. I think that this was one of Hollywood's attempts at being to clever for words, and it just didn't quite work............Less est more Drew. Work on it.

  • Oct. 24, 2002, 10:16 a.m. CST

    i too think moriarty is the time and time again more competent r

    by blckmgk13

    he can be funny, he can be sarcastic, but more often than not he is polite towards the readers and reviewers that write in, and he writes intelligently while still being able to relate particular ideas to more common references should people not understand his point in full. His reviews are a joy to read even if I could care less about the film in which he is reviewing.

  • Oct. 24, 2002, 10:44 a.m. CST

    Oh, you're MOST welcome, Anakin722

    by artsnob

    Who knows? Maybe YOU can identify with Barry Egan's lot in life and be touched, as seems to have been the case with so many of the positivies. Lonely? Hot-tempered? Desperate for companionship? Don't worry ... love's right around the corner! All you've got to do is just ... WAIT FOR IT! (Just make sure that you don't call a sex hotline shortly before your true love appears out of thin air, or there'll be HELL to pay!) I VERY much look forward to your post-screening assessment, and hope that you'll be so kind as to post it at IMDB with an "In response to Art Snob" byline! :) Please be frank about the number of walkouts at the screening you attend.

  • Oct. 24, 2002, 10:59 a.m. CST

    Moriarty's Punch Drunk Love

    by The Vocal Mime

    i just have to say two things: 1) Moriarty, you are the most respectable reviewer i have ever read from. review, say, and rant about whatever you damn well want, whenever you want. 2) i loved this film, and i feel sorry for those of you who couldnt experience that love. and i feel sorry for those who feel the need to be noticed and get attention from others, doing so by insulting someone who expressed his feelings about something he enjoys doing.

  • Oct. 24, 2002, 11:16 a.m. CST

    PLANT!

    by Manaqua

    Sorry Mori! Couldn't resist.........

  • Oct. 24, 2002, 11:31 a.m. CST

    Mori, please post more "non-reviews"

    by Arriflex

    You rock.

  • Oct. 24, 2002, 11:34 a.m. CST

    just to make it clear...........

    by richie scorsese

    my earlier comments about really lookin forward to this, were in relation to thinking the director has somthin to say. i hope no one at any time thought that adam sandler even figured in my opinion.personally i think hes a degenerate f*ckwit with the talent of an arse. ive no idea why anderson is working with this retard. i dont mean to be cruel but if this film is as good as promised i take nothing back because the waterboy should have been a hangable offence.some things cant be forgiven...oh and why is he frends with people like p.t ,QT and steve buscemi.sori, i just dont get it. really hope the film kicks ass tho.

  • Oct. 24, 2002, 11:37 a.m. CST

    You can do it, PUNCH-DRUNK boy!

    by Kiyone

    Nah, the Rob Schnider "You can do it!" guy absolutely does not show up anywhere in that movie, I just made this lame joke in the AnimeNation.net "Movies & TV" forum (http://animenation.net/forums/showthread.php?s=efe8243ba47081ce8e8528d92d6ddc8a&threadid=58422 ) and felt like repeating it here. But best film I've seen this year, aside from maybe LILO & STITCH (and, yes, I am including SPIRITED AWAY).

  • Oct. 24, 2002, 11:41 a.m. CST

    Melora Walters

    by riskebiz

    Emily Watson ... may be a fine actress, but I think the part should have gone to Melora Walters. Melora would have been picture perfect, much more so that Emily Watson. I find it strange that PT Anderson didn't cast her.

  • Oct. 24, 2002, 11:56 a.m. CST

    YOU the talkbackers made this review, and now you're bitching ab

    by HawkesNJ

    Since day one, Moriarty was always upfront and totally sincere, he never wavered, he argued for his beliefs and proved time and time again his love for film. I may not have agreed with him, but I always respected him. If Mori hadn

  • Oct. 24, 2002, 1:13 p.m. CST

    A bit precious, Moriarty.

    by Wino-Forever

    How I long to fawn over this exquisite cinematic gem Mr. Anderson has crafted, but alas! A MAJOR HOLLYWOOD STUDIO is PAYING ME to write a remake of Universal Soldier! Oh, cruel fate!

  • Oct. 24, 2002, 1:38 p.m. CST

    Where it had me (and a point for Moriarity)

    by Lizzybeth

    Well, this movie had me from the very beginning, but it reeeeally got me in one shot. Barry is curled over the harmonium in that ridiculous blue suit and sort of clawing at it, just after another outburst of rage. All of the frustration and confusion and dispair of the entire movie is condensed in this one image, where this guy has just had his hopes dashed and the only thing he has to cling to is this inanimate object, that he doesn't really even know what it's for, and it doesn't even work right. Mori, the harmonium isn't Lena, it's Barry. He finds this weird object in the alley, is sort of freaked out by it, then learns what it is, learns how it works, fixes it, and by the end he's playing it almost confidently. With Lena by his side. I'll have to see the film again to work this out, and to see at what points the music is played... The score is, I agree, incredible, really a fine and engrossing work. As is the film.

  • Oct. 24, 2002, 1:54 p.m. CST

    Lars Von Trier

    by EliCash

    Great to finally see some small mention of Lars Von Trier on this site as a filmmaker that matters. Anyway I am primed for this movie tomorrow, as it opens in 2 of the biggest theatre chains in my town. I didn't read your whole non-review Moriarty because I didn't want to give too much away to myself. But I'm glad you liked it, and I respect your opinion. And you share my reverence for the class of '99. P.T.A may be somewhat derivative of Scorcese and Altman, but it's no different than Spielberg doing David Lean, or Stanley Kubrick!(who would have thunk it!) P.T.A looks to have come into his own with this one...and it still boggles my mind that I'm going to spend my hard earned money on a Sandler film. (I've never paid money for one of his movies.) But for me it's not the actors that draw me to the pictures, but the worldview of the film-maker. 2002 is shaping up to be even better than 1999. There's still so much to see!! Aside from P.D Love, there's Adaptation, Gangs of New York, Catch Me if You Can, Two Towers....wow...I love the movies.

  • Oct. 24, 2002, 2:50 p.m. CST

    Sneaky, Moriarty...

    by CoolDan989

    But I can't seriously believe Columbia Pictures is that strict. The movie is out RIGHT NOW, for God's sake! How is Moriarty going to ruin a film that is out RIGHT NOW? 2002 may be the year of the great logo lady with the torch, with mega-hits like Spider-Man, but I bet it sure has gone to their heads.

  • Oct. 24, 2002, 3:59 p.m. CST

    How Very Un-Hateful of you, Drew..

    by Gamine

    And I must say, it's nice to see you lauding a film so warmly. Even though it's a conflict of interest. You are a true fan. There's nothing like having a filmmaker that you trust and believe in. Viva art. Isn't that right? Of course, having deep feelings about filmmakers and their work might put a dent in some of the free speech that this site engages in so frequently. I do wonder though, how you will feel on the day that some tipster decides to post a copy of one of your scripts. (Actually not a "copy" since that would be against the law.) Rather, a complete rundown of the contents (so you can't be sued), along with scathing comments and revelations about the plot. Or perhaps, even better, if you get a great filmmaker on one of your projects... nothing like going to an unfinished test screening of your film and wondering which poster in the room will bash the crap out of your work-in-progress the next morning. It doesn't matter if it's really bad or not, does it? Because let''s face it, the fun is in ripping down, not building up right? It's only fun to kick over the easel while the paint is still wet. Isn't that right? So, I applaud you at having the courage and the decency to write something supportive of the creative process that you are now a part of. I hope you continue to do so. And the day that someone kicks over your easel, it might just make it a little easier for you to keep going.

  • Oct. 24, 2002, 4 p.m. CST

    Just do it, Mori

    by Vern

    Just go ahead and write the review man. I want to find out if you liked it or not. thanks bud, Vern

  • Oct. 24, 2002, 4:06 p.m. CST

    SUPERB review, Mo

    by ol' painless

    You may have just talked me into seeing this film with your non-review. Can't wait to see the look on my lady's face when she see's me taking her to an Adam Sandler film. With any luck, she'll love it, think I'm a genius, and I will get some that night. Maybe you didn't want to know that last bit . . .

  • Oct. 24, 2002, 4:07 p.m. CST

    You had me at hello

    by Gheorghe Zamfir

    Just shut up Mori, just shut up. You had me at hello.

  • Oct. 24, 2002, 4:25 p.m. CST

    Moriarty

    by Arthur Bannister

    Just wanted to say thanks for your insightful thoughts, as always. I don't want to bash Harry, because he did a great job building this site, but your insights into movies are what make me come here. I wish you all the best with your own movies, as I have to believe anyone who loves movies as much as you obviously do can only help improve what comes out of Hollywood.

  • Oct. 24, 2002, 4:39 p.m. CST

    What a douche-nozzle

    by Merkin Muffley

    No, I didn't read a word. Didn't have to. It's obvious from the header that the man who wrote this review is a douche nozzle. And a very self-important one, too!

  • Oct. 24, 2002, 5:15 p.m. CST

    Ah, it's such a shame you couldn't review this movie for us, Mor

    by empyreal0

    ...not to mention you tend to be a bit more astute. Harry loves movies almost to a fault. He's the child that goes to the movies and gets excited and plays with the action figures, and plays 'Superman' or 'Star Wars' with his buddies endlessly, and plays out his favorite scenes for hours on end. And that's a nice perspective and all. Your reviews have always struck me as those which come from a man with more depth, more, to risk waxing bohemian here, more poetry in his soul. Your reviews cut straight through the hype and the pretty pictures, tell us what worked, and what didn't, which is exactly what happens in my mind when I see a movie. So it's too bad you couldn't review this movie. I would have really enjoyed reading it.

  • Oct. 24, 2002, 6:06 p.m. CST

    just seeing if my new user id works

    by Aquafresh

    Saw this movie. Liked it, but couldn't see why Emily Watson would have fallen for this nutcase. Bye.

  • Oct. 24, 2002, 6:07 p.m. CST

    What was the point of that?

    by BraveCapt.

    Moriarity, you're a fine writer. I genuinely look forward to reading your articles on this site and I did indeed enjoy your interpretation of, and opinion on, "Punch-Drunk Love" today. But what exactly was the point of framing your thoughts within a "I wish I could tell you how much I love this film, but I'm simply not allowed to" conceit, when you proceed to do exactly that? Go ahead -- drop the self-serving device, stop patronizing your audience and write a full-bore, gushing rave! Do that and let whatever conflict-of-interest police that you feel beholden to rail against your inappropriate expression. (Who exactly do you expect will complain about your doing just that, by the way? You guys at this site are certainly not journalists, as you've pointed out before. AICN might as well be a BLOG, for all the journalistic integrity it upholds.) The truth of the matter is, there IS NO correlation between "PDL" and the action movie script you're writing other than the fact that you used my interest in "PDL" as bait in order to remind me and everyone else who read your piece that you are indeed writing a big Hollywood action movie script. And frankly, I find THAT shadier and more offensive than if you had simply expressed your honest opinion about a movie that you supposedly "can't" discuss.

  • Oct. 24, 2002, 6:14 p.m. CST

    You better not talk about the Onion either.

    by RawShark

    It would be cool to get your picture on the Onion, but this story? Heh heh. I'd rather be a What Do You Think guy. http://www.theonion.com/onion3544/ironic_porn_purchase.html

  • Oct. 24, 2002, 6:18 p.m. CST

    By the way ...

    by BraveCapt.

    I'm completely hung up on the way Sandler delivers the line: "Hawaii? I was thinking about going there." I get a real kick out of it. It's midway through this trailer in case you haven't seen the film: www.apple.com/trailers/columbia/punch_drunk_love/

  • Oct. 24, 2002, 7:41 p.m. CST

    I'm not going to post anything about this review.

    by chickenmonkey

    No, really.

  • Oct. 24, 2002, 8 p.m. CST

    Did anyone see Barry's hand?

    by spacehog

    Anyone? Anyone? After he punches the wall in his office, and drapes himself over the harmonium? I mean, maybe it was so obvious that no one finds it worth mentioning... talk to me, people. Who noticed something about his hand in that scene?

  • Oct. 24, 2002, 8:20 p.m. CST

    L-O-V-E! what is this thing that's happened to me? (oh yeah)

    by Lizzybeth

    *ahem* Sorry. Pulp moment there. Yeah, Spacehog, it was there. Couldn't see to check the other hand for H-A-T-E.

  • Oct. 24, 2002, 9:03 p.m. CST

    PT Anderson....quirky beats talen

    by SiNaPsE

    Man do i hate people who think PT anderson is this larger then life uberdirector. His films are short on talent, and big on fluff and whimsey. WEEEE porno stars...WEEEE i can be just like altman....WEEEEEE i can date fiona apple. The only thing worse then his crap is the crap review that i just read. "i must censor myself because i work for new line" shut the fuck up. Either review movies or work for them, you cant straddle that line. Well you cant straddle that line and still be a unbiased reviewer. Bottom line....fuck yall.

  • Oct. 24, 2002, 9:04 p.m. CST

    MORIARTY, this site should be yours

    by Lima25

    Every time i see a review from you or some kind of news i know i can trust you. And everytime i get to see a Harry's review, the only word i cam think of is dissapointement. Keep up the good work.

  • Oct. 24, 2002, 9:07 p.m. CST

    Wait a sec...he DID review the film!

    by frosteey

    j/k

  • Oct. 24, 2002, 11 p.m. CST

    Why can't you????

    by ZO

    Why does this site continue to try to be like others???? You're not so stop trying to be. Carve out your own niche and fuck all the naysayers in the "press". you're not the NY Times. be what you set out to do. write about films you love and whats going on with them. just don't be shills (ie godzilla etc)

  • Oct. 24, 2002, 11:15 p.m. CST

    Fuck, Moriarty, that's some fine piece of writing

    by the dirk

    Hey Mori, I wonder if it would be as good a review if you COULD talk about the movie.

  • Oct. 24, 2002, 11:16 p.m. CST

    those colors

    by HallowedBThyName

    "There

  • Oct. 25, 2002, 12:20 a.m. CST

    Moriarty, START YOUR OWN SITE!

    by KONG33

    Please

  • Oct. 25, 2002, 12:21 a.m. CST

    It's official then. I guess it sucks.

    by KONG33

    Yep. A girl bringing a guy out of a self-imposed slump. Wow. Genius. Difficult. Unique.

  • Oct. 25, 2002, 12:56 a.m. CST

    Great Job M! Boogie Nights is the best film of the '90's and

    by Tarl_Cabot

    I'll never watch Magnolia for that reason. PTA makes the best film of the '90's and then sells out to the corporate world to hire Tom "I'm not gay" Cruise. fuck! BTW,he sure as hell looks gay in his magazine photos (see recent W cover, Vanity Fair). Anyway, I hope this one works...Bring on Boogie Nights 2!!!!

  • Oct. 25, 2002, 1:17 a.m. CST

    moriarty has a deal? at revolution?

    by ElGuapo

    gee. you'd never know.......

  • Oct. 25, 2002, 1:19 a.m. CST

    I hate to say it, but Tom Cruise was actually really great in Ma

    by Lenny Nero

    And it's "kewpie doll" Mori. Don't mean to nitpick, but you're not the first to do this. Ta-ta.

  • Oct. 25, 2002, 2:41 a.m. CST

    Sorry, its time to admit it

    by Edgar Frog

    if you dont think magnolia is beautiful and thought-provoking and one of the greatest films in recent times, than you are not thinking so to either promote some pseudo-superior knowledge of film or you really dont get it. you think you do, but you dont. everyone thinks "i got it...it was crap," but you didnt get it at all. any of it.

  • Oct. 25, 2002, 2:50 a.m. CST

    Dear M.

    by TestGiver

    PT Anderson. He's gone from a nice little entertaining noir type thing (Hard 8) and gotten progressively more long winded and pretentious with each of the 2 movies after. And do not get me started on the actors singing. You can see in their eyes, they aren't in character, they are just singing and hoping to god it works in the finished movie and IT DOESN'T! Truth be known, I'm STILL interested in seeing PDL. Because it's 90 minutes and trying to make a good movie with Adam Sandler is the bravest thing Anderson will probably every do, after the singing thing. But this might work. Anyways, back to you, Mr. Rage... dude, if you want to be rub shoulders with people you admire, you might want to chill out on trying to toss their salads.. If this is how Hollywood works, base yourself in NY. Jesus, watching you guys throw your dignity away to kiss ass is awful sometimes. Congrats on selling that screenplay. I hope your movie actually gets produced.

  • Oct. 25, 2002, 3:02 a.m. CST

    Thin Red Line Maginificent?

    by HappyHamster

    Well, I'll have to break rank with the Moriarty booty kissing (though he is a good reviewer) and mention that Thin Red Line was a bad film and that complimenting a film by mention Thin Red Line could lead readers astray. In many ways, Thin Red Line was one of the worst films in the last 10 years. OK, didn't mean to turn this into an anti-Thin Red Line rant, so I'll shut up now. :)

  • Oct. 25, 2002, 3:23 a.m. CST

    I'M A RAGE-ACHOLIC! I'M ADDICTED TO RAGE-AHOOL!

    by Tall_Boy

    heehee. this might be a date movie for me if the work load settles down and I get some balls.

  • Oct. 25, 2002, 3:44 a.m. CST

    Nice name-dropping!

    by BTWR

    Good going Mort! Glad to see you know famous people! PLEASE THREAD THE TALKBACKS!

  • Oct. 25, 2002, 7:26 a.m. CST

    I was once shot down in flames in the AICN chatroom for daring t

    by Monkey Lover

    That's what pisses me off about the AICN chatroom - the 'regulars' form a self-congratulating little posse and any 'outsider' who comes in and dares speak ill of any of the movies they all pretend they like to impress Moriarty gets flamed. At least in talkback there are people who admit that, yes, The Thin Red Line's narration was largely pretentious sixth-form poetic guff and the film was only redeemed by some good cinematography and music. It's become fashionable to praise The Thin Red Line and then slate Saving Private Ryan for the sole reason that Malick made a good film, went away for 20 odd years and then came back, whereas Spielberg has been ever-present. Therefore he doesn't have the 'mythical' nature of Malick that always makes a film become overrated. See also: Eyes Wide Shut. A piece of crap, but Kubrick made it so therefore fannies like to praise it. Whereas when Spielberg makes A.I., a far superior film to EWS, he is slated by the fanboys. But yes, the moral of the story is that the AICN chatroom is frequented by Moriarty ass-kissers who are unwilling to hear any opinion unless it comes from one of their regular loser friends.

  • Oct. 25, 2002, 10:11 a.m. CST

    Bitching and Complaining

    by maxwell's hammer

    Monkey Lover, you dumbass, is there anyone in here actually flaming you for not liking Thin Red Line? I see way more support for you than opposition. And Lenny Nero, Tom Cruise kicked ass in Magnolia. I wish more high profile actors would take small parts in out-of-the-box movies and play really dispicable characters. I found his performance quite interesting.

  • Oct. 25, 2002, 3:39 p.m. CST

    Monkey Lover is absolutley right

    by Aquafresh

    Try dissing ANY aspect of "Lord of the Rings" in one of those threads and see what happens. You are instantly assaulted by MorGoth and his cadre of aging hippie chicks. I DARED to call Howard Shore's score derivative and was hounded to the end of the talkback universe. Even had to change my user id.

  • Oct. 25, 2002, 4:44 p.m. CST

    Shade, Monkey, Animal, others...You're absolutely right about "T

    by HappyHamster

    Now I've seen good reviews for mediocre movies before and I accept the fact that people can disagree on things. But I don't think I've ever seen such critical praise for such a *bad* film. There were some 4 star parts, including the cinematography and the soundtrack. But this was a *bad* movie and it's amazing how long coasting on the fumes of past success can get you.

  • Oct. 25, 2002, 11:11 p.m. CST

    RAJSKUB!!!! not RASKLUB!!!!!

    by Nazzim O'Bazzim

    Sorry, but I really love her nose - love it - and hate it when folks misspell her name - hate it. ( Wait, did I just mispell misspell?) Never let anyone lure you into a rhinoplasty clinic Mary-Lynn!!! I mean that!

  • Oct. 25, 2002, 11:24 p.m. CST

    "I

    by Neil MacAuley

    Like if a major filmmaker didn't use a song from Popeye, anyone would have copped to actually liking anything about that atrocious pile of forgettable crap movie. The absolute LIE of people like Moriarty (and there are others) claiming to have known this one particular song that was sung by the massive talent that is Shelly Duvall in a bad movie from twenty years ago is like a snowball gaining size (the lie is the snowball, in case I lost you there). Stop lying, Moriarty -- you weren't a fan of that song before Punchdrunk Love came out, you didn't even remember it was in the film. God how pretentious this site can get, it boggles the mind. In closing, I'd just like to give props out to the track three on the "Tender Mercies" soundtrack. Wow, it's ALWAYS blown me away, kept me up at night, a true GIFT to cinema. Sheesh.

  • Oct. 26, 2002, 2:53 a.m. CST

    God Forbid...

    by drew mcweeny

    God forbid some people like different things than you. Let's see... I was about ten when POPEYE came out. Big Mork fan. Bought the album before there was a film. Listened to it so many times that when I saw the film in the theater, I was able to sing along. Still have the album in LP form. Have always thought the songs had a life aside from the movie. But, no... because YOU don't like the songs or didn't listen to them, they can't possibly be part of MY experience. No, you have to call me a liar. See, I think the big LIE of people like you is that you believe the whole world has to like what you like and only know what you know, and anyone outside your experience must not be telling the truth. I mean, someone besides me must have remembered the song because it ended up in the movie. Let's see... could it be that PTA is about my age and also an Altman fan and we both remember that song as being affecting and loopy and lovely? No... couldn't be. Neil's got it all figured out. coughdouchebagcough...

  • Oct. 26, 2002, 3:09 a.m. CST

    A confession

    by Sodomy Redux

    This movie really hurt me. I am 26 years old and I have never even kissed a girl. No, I'm not a huge fatso or incredibly ugly. I just got my ass kicked a lot in high school and had to work full time to attend college (there's no young women in night school at most colleges, it's all older working adults.) Anyway, because of my lack of experience with women I'm pretty much out of the running at this point. Unlike Sandler's character in this movie no one is going to introduce some beautiful hottie to me. I can't imagine there are a lot of people in this situation, but seriously -- it's like PTA made this film to kick me in the balls and rub my nose in my situation. I can't imagine there are a lot of people stuck like this, as I've found no support groups, no help-lines, no anything, so it's like, "Hey Paul, what the fuck made you choose this topic?" Before you all (deservedly) flame the shit out of me for being a loser, let me give you a bit of advice -- don't go see this movie if you are lonely with no hope of meeting that special someone. It will not educate you, help you, entertain you, or make you feel good. It will just wound you and leave you with an unsettling sensation right below your stomach. I hope this post can help somebody.

  • Oct. 26, 2002, 3:25 a.m. CST

    Neil, lay off Mori. honestly.

    by empyreal0

    Your argument was rather absurd, anyway. Who wouldn't remember that song from Popeye? Who wouldn't recognize Shelly Duvall's voice if they had heard it before? Put about 50 CDs on random, including the Popeye soundtrack, and I guarantee I could pick out every Popeye song in there. It doesn't take a musical genius to recognize the style, just an active brain and an open ear. Does it make you feel good about yourself to shoot down those who truly love their job by calling them pretentious, simply because you can't accept that some people have a bank of trivia knowledge and a wider sense of taste than you? If you have some intelligent criticism to offer, go right ahead, post away. If not, quit bitching and sit in the corner.

  • Oct. 26, 2002, 3:42 a.m. CST

    Sodomy Redux - all jokes on the name aside....

    by empyreal0

    Figured I'd get here before some asshole rips into ya... um. sorry. Anyway, trust me, there is no way you're out of the running. Maybe I'm nuts, but I'm of the mindset that even Harry after a month of fudge brownies shouldn't have any problem getting some. Keep in mind this is coming from a guy who knows what it's like to have taken my fair share of ass-kickings in my younger years (which isn't to say that I couldn't dish em right back these days if I wanted to.) Anyhoo, I've met a good number of women who find "inexperienced" men to be cute and sweet. You know, the kind of women who pick up stray puppies and visit animals shelters. ;) Don't set your sights too high, don't invest too much, just look for the women who want your company. Nobody gets left behind. In a world where Janet Reno's getting some, you KNOW someone out there's gonna want it from you.

  • Oct. 26, 2002, 10:10 a.m. CST

    AMAZING

    by holdn

    this movie was fucking amazing. i hate adam sandler. i HATE Emily (act like a blind person) watson. whatever this movie was brilliant. i was in shock after seeing it. it's simple and horrible and amazing and sweet and not gross or pandering. it never ONCE panders to the assholes in the audience. but at the same time it doesn't reach as high above everyones head as magnolia. it moves at it's own pace UNAPOLOGETICALLY. andit pays you back for watching it from the get go. the first minutes. p.t.a. seduces you into believeing he's going to show you the sunrise and at the last second he shows you a car crash instead. IT'S FUCKING AMAZING. if you don't go see this movie you are a total buttrape. emily watson is still the single WORST actress alive but p.t.a. does wonders with her here. she's worse than a child of drew barrymore and winona ryders. actually he trancends actors with this picture. they are second to his script and to his filmmaking and i can't say that about any other movie i've ever seen. fucking amazing.

  • Oct. 26, 2002, 10:38 a.m. CST

    Shoulda seen Jackass

    by HuffyHenry

    I haven't seen this many people walk out of a theater since I went to see What Dreams MAy Come. And, before you start thinking, "Well, those commercial-whores at the multiplex don't DESERVE to understand this movie," I must tell you that I saw it at an independent theater nearby that screens exclusively "arthouse" films, so the audience is one that should have appreciated this film. I wanted to like it, I really did, but it was coffeehouse poetry... trying to be different, trying to be "brilliant," but just missing the real punch. The score was magnificent its ability to keep you uncomfortable, but in the end, it was just another movie set in some odd version of America, inhabited by eccentric, flat characters (oooh, so he's meek with underlying rage stemming from his family life... so I guess I should really identify and care). I was not convinced.

  • Oct. 26, 2002, 12:48 p.m. CST

    Free tip, Neil...

    by CoolDan989

    DON'T EVER FIGHT WITH SOMEONE WHO CAN BAN YOU FROM HIS SITE. And what you're fighting him about is fucking stupid anyway. Moriarty likes what Moriarty likes, and it's pretty daft to call him a liar and make ridiculous accusations because of it.

  • Oct. 26, 2002, 2:39 p.m. CST

    Neil responds...

    by Neil MacAuley

    Firstly, if we don't object to Moriarty and Harry who are we going to object to? I've already been banned by Moriarty and that's why I created this moniker -- if he bans me again I'll just come back with another (equally brilliant) one. And that's how it should be -- this site can reach greatness and one of the huge reasons is obviously these forums. Now with that said -- I'm NOT saying Moriarty CAN'T LIKE Popeye -- I was pointing out (what I thought was) an example of a habit of his that I find annoying -- to wax poetic about every little thing, no matter how obscure, in every movie that he either likes or *has been invited to like* by the filmmakers, AS IF HE KNOWS IT SO WELL AND GREW UP ON IT AND IT WAS A HUGE PART OF HIS DEVELOPMENT AS AN ARTIST AND IT RESTS IN HIS SOUL FOR ALL ETERNITY. It drives me batty. Now, Moriarty emailed me on this -- and I believe him that in this case he was indeed a huge fan of Popeye -- fine, I WAS WRONG THIS TIME. But other times, I honestly think he and Harry are just makin' it up as they go along and are exagerrating the impact that something had on them. I also think it's IMPOSSIBLE for them to have seen every single movie ever, no matter how obscure, and have a visceral and memorable reaction to it. Same goes for every single book, comic book, piece of popular or classic art, etc. If anything comes up in the context of a movie, BOOM they're usually familiar with it and it's a part of their life experience. Let me give you an example from my own life -- I went to film school, the first two years was almost all cinema study -- I had three semesters of film history. An entire semester of just silent films from all over the world; no dialogue, no music, these films were usually over 2 hours long. Even though I love film and in fact I work in the industry now, many of them were very hard to sit through, they put me to sleep, and I don't remember much about a lot of them at all. If you asked me about Jancko's "The Red and the White" or "Le Jour se Leve" or Bunuel's "Los Olvidados," I couldn't possibly explain an emotional reaction I had to these films, maybe some others, but not those as they didn't stick with me. But Harry and Moriarty could; they could give you three paragraphs about the perfect, heart-breaking framing of the close-ups and the silver halide stock they used in those days and the entire career track of the lead actors in these films (and they'd claim to have seen every one of those films, too). Ya know? And that's great, maybe they're being truthful But I think a lot of they're time mabe they're not, they're just kind of winging it. And that's when I call them on it. I know they really are that big of cineastes and movie and comic book and book geeks, that's why this site exists and we need their types -- but sometimes I just think they're making it up. Anyone else?

  • Oct. 26, 2002, 3:55 p.m. CST

    This movie may be exceptionally well-reviewed, BUT...

    by CoolDan989

    ...go to cinemascore.com, look up Punch Drunk Love and pick up your jaw off the floor. The audiences polled basically thought the movie was horrible. Tell you the truth, I almost expected it, seeing as how it's the same thing with Magnolia and Boogie Nights. I greatley respect Paul Thomas Anderson because of his immene talent, but it looks like he's a little TOO talented. P.T. Anderson will go down in history as the great misunderstood filmmaker. Not even Kubrick has made so many movies that whiz over so many people's heads. Is the moviegoing republic really that closed-minded? Are they really weaned on pointless, leave-your-brain-at-the-door movies? Man, if all of these people were obliterated right now, P.T. Anderon would be the most popular filmmaker in the world. Unfortunatley, that's not so. Everyone, here is a plea from me to you: avoid the mind-numbing garbage coming out this weekend like Jackass: The Movie which has dumbed down so much of America and see Punch-Drunk Love. Your taste in movies will thank you.

  • Oct. 26, 2002, 3:56 p.m. CST

    Correction...

    by CoolDan989

    The word "immene" should be "immense" and the word "republic" should be "public". God, maybe I should work on my typing...

  • Oct. 26, 2002, 4:17 p.m. CST

    Love In The Midst Of Chaos

    by utz_world

    Anyone who didn't fall in love with the movie is obviously has their heart DETACHED. Mori's right...this truly is a LOVE story. Fuck the "running through the meadows" shit and the "rich man has a change of heart" 5 minutes before Pretty Woman ends bullshit. This is real love in the midst of chaos...and how only REAL LOVE can conquer chaos. PT Anderson, you are THE MAN!

  • Oct. 27, 2002, 11 p.m. CST

    DIDN'T HE JUST REVIEWED THE FILM...

    by brujoazul

    oh well it sounds good and all but don't forget to go watch THE TWO TOWERS...MANY TIMES. UN SALUDO A TODOS LOS LATINOS

  • Oct. 30, 2002, 4:28 a.m. CST

    PUNCH-DRUNK's good

    by Ronnie_Dobbs

    Really good. But it's not as good as DAS EXPERIMENT.