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Hey, everyone.

"Moriarty" here with some rumblings from the Lab.

Love and life are tricky propositions at best. Messy, seemingly random at times, wonderful at the best moments, hell at the worst. One makes the other worthwhile, even as it makes things infinitely more complicated. Love... real love... is so great and so powerful and so special that it heals all wounds, restores a soul, no matter how tired, and inspires great art, great passion, and great pleasure, enough to fuel this world of ours.

Such is the stuff of the work of writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson.

Just the other day, I complained in a review about New Line’s involvement with a particular picture, but that was momentary irritation, a mere slap on the wrist before the warm embrace of this piece. You see, no matter what, I have got to give the current New Line regime credit for rescuing PT Anderson from Rysher, the company that wrenched control away from the debut filmmaker on HARD EIGHT, a film he still refers to by its original title, SYDNEY. It’s a kick-ass debut picture, smart and somber and heartfelt, and there are moments in it as good as anything he’s done since. In particular, there’s a brilliant move in a scene where Philip Baker Hall has been summoned to a hotel room to help with some situation. When he steps into the room, Anderson simply holds on Hall’s face for minutes and minutes, never cutting away, never showing us what he’s looking at. His mantra of "What the fuck is this, John?" becomes more and more tense, more suspenseful, the longer we have no idea what he’s seeing. That moment made me sit up when I was watching the film for the first time, lean in closer to the film. Anderson grabbed me and held me and forced a reaction I wasn’t expecting, and he won me over in doing so.

Maybe that’s one of the reasons I wasn’t particularly surprised when the buzz started on BOOGIE NIGHTS, his second film, the first he made for New Line. I don’t know exactly what latitude was given to Anderson by producers Mike De Luca, Larry Gordon, Lloyd Levin, John Lyons, Dan Lupi, and Joanne Sellar, but whatever chemistry that laundry list of contributors brought to the table, it set Anderson free. It entitled him to shoot for the moon his second time out. Armed with an amazing crew –- composer Michael Penn, cinematographer Robert Elswit, editor Dylan Tichenor, production designer Bob Ziembicki -– Anderson created a film that is on the surface a loose adaptation of the John Holmes story, but which is actually one of my favorite films about how we create our own families when we don’t have them. There’s an astonishing sense of life to the film. It fairly spills over the edge of the frame in every scene. I’ve never seen a movie that better captures Altman’s goal of creating happenings, moments that are simply recorded and dissected, instead of conventional scenes. Make no mistake... Anderson’s a great narrative storyteller... but he’s tricky. He’s like the cinematic equivalent of his good friend and occasional actor Ricky Jay, a master of misdirection who makes you focus your attention on one thing while he sneaks up on you with his real purpose. Anderson almost seems drunk on technique in the film, an obvious fan of Altman and Scorsese among others, but he is such an intuitive filmmaker that the stylistic cues he takes become his own. He uses them so well, so effortlessly, and the film has such a breakneck energy, that the viewer is simply dragged along on this amazing ride through these lives, this industry, that moment.

New Line released a wonderful Platinum Edition version of BOOGIE NIGHTS once before on DVD, but they weren’t able to secure the rights to all the same bonus materials that had been used by the Criterion Collection on their laserdisc release of the film. It was a shame, too, since the audio commentaries on the Criterion disc were enormous fun, and there were other extras well worth having. Now New Line’s released a second BOOGIE NIGHTS Platinum Edition, and it’s worth owning both if you’re a serious fan of the film, the way I am. There’s great new material like a deleted sequence involving Becky Barnett (Nicole Ari Parker) and her abusive husband, a story thread that simply dwindles away in the release version of the film, one of the few strands left unresolved. There’s a car accident involving Dirk Diggler (Mark Wahlberg in his best role and best performance to date) in this sequence, the aftermath of which you can’t help but notice in the scenes involving Alfred Molina if you look closely. There’s also great features like "The John C. Reilly Files," a gag reel that was cut together by Anderson featuring some great deranged ad-libbing by Reilly, the actor who seems to have become Anderson’s De Niro, the chameleon who goes film to film, delivering one classic character performance after another. There was one feature on the test disc I saw –- an extended excerpt from the John Holmes documentary EXHAUSTED -– that won’t be featured on the final release version next Tuesday, but it hardly matters. New Line has once again put together a worthy tribute to a bold, vital film, one of their finest hours as a company.

The other night, as I was just starting to put this article together, I happened to be flipping around, channel-surfing in the middle of the night. VH1 was showing blocks of videos by the same artist, and I stayed to watch several Fiona Apple videos in a row. Glad I did, too, because it helped me crystallize one of the points I really wanted to make about Anderson and his intense command of the language of film. The first video they showed was his "Across the Universe" clip from the PLEASANTVILLE soundtrack. It’s a stunningly photographed black and white clip that manages to capture the feeling of PLEASANTVILLE without using a single clip, and which is all really centered on that remarkable face of Apple’s. Love her or hate her, you’ll know where you stand at the end of this clip. It’s doesn’t hurt that it’s a pretty damn fine cover of one of my favorite Beatles tunes, either. After that, the "Paper Bag" was played, one I hadn’t seen before. As I was watching it, there were all sorts of things that jumped out at me, thoughts that raced by. I can’t help but notice how much more relaxed she’s gotten as a performer, due no doubt at least in part to the fact that she’s so comfortable with Anderson. He shoots her like an old-fashioned movie star, and she moves through the video, through all the dancing and costume changes and sheer theatricality of the thing, with a grace and a poise that’s electric. Anderson illustrates clearly with this clip that he’s the man to direct musical numbers, that he understands how to shoot dancing, how to sell the emotional heart of a song without losing the beauty of the images. Even in this three minutes, Anderson’s work is moving, compelling, impossible to look away from.

There’s another video by Anderson, this one a bonus included on the new Platinum Edition DVD release of MAGNOLIA that also arrives in stores on Tuesday, this one for the haunting Oscar-nominated song "Save Me." Watching it, one must admit that Anderson is not only suited to direct a full-fledged movie musical... he’s already done it. That’s the only way I can describe MAGNOLIA, a film that grows in the memory, that is far darker, far more wrapped in pain that BOOGIE NIGHTS. There is dark in all of Anderson’s films so far. The suicide of Little Bill in BN is an undeniable turning point for the film, mood-wise, and it’s unforgettable, a virtuoso sequence. But there’s so much humor and hope packed into the sides of the scenes in that film that the dark is never too hard to handle. For many people, that’s the problem with MAGNOLIA... too much pain to take at once. The film is like a symphony or an opera about characters who are damaged, who are looking for some sign, some miracle, some extraordinary moment that will give them a loving father, a happy son, a promise of peace in this world or the next. In particular, it reminds me of a Gorecki symphony used to shattering effect in Peter Weir’s FEARLESS, the way it builds and builds and circles in on itself and just keeps building until finally there is an epiphany, a series of epiphanies, each one more searing than the one before, but it never gets out of control. Instead, it just cycles back down, like a slow throb of a movie, starting and ending with meditations on coincidence. In the center of MAGNOLIA, there is a moment where the figurative musical becomes a literal one, with all the characters united by that one common thought, that ache at the center of each of them expressed by the words of Aimee Mann in the song "Wise Up." Composer Jon Brion deserves special credit for his work on this film. He makes way for Mann’s expressive, eccentric songs that lend so much character to the proceedings, but his score isn’t just wallpaper, either. It’s daring, inventive work, reminiscent to me of the work of New York jazz artist John Zorn, full of cacophony and beauty in equal measure. Brion’s music certainly provides a wonderful support to the songs, but the score gets just as much time in my CD player as the songs do.

Although I was initially disappointed when I realized there was no director commentary on the DVD (Anderson thinks the film speaks for itself), I’d be an ass if I complained about all the wonderful goodies New Line did include. For one thing, check out the color bars chapter, where you’ll find a cleverly hidden blooper reel that is genuinely funny, especially if you’re as fond of Anderson’s rapidly expanding company of regular performers as I am. The first set of outtakes involves Luis Guzman, and the fun is watching how reactive and real he is, take after take, no matter what's thrown at him... even if it’s a glass of milk. Literally. The great and hysterical John C. Reilly provides a wildly inappropriate bare ass during during the "Wise Up" sequence. We get a hint of the lunacy of shooting all those frogs. The biggest bit of gold you’ll find here is Tom Cruise and Mary Jo Rasklub in a scene that was ultimately deleted featuring a distraught TJ Mackey playing the sympathy card in an effort to spread Rasklub’s legs. Listening to him sob inconsolably about "Pookie," his dog, is painfully funny and justifies seaching out this particular Easter egg.

Someone asked me what this film is about the other day, and I had to really stop and consider it. I know what the DVD says it’s about. It says, "MAGNOLIA is a mosaic of American life woven through a series of comic and poignant vignettes. Through a collusion of coincidence, chance, human action, shared media, past history, and divine intervention, nine people will weave and warp through each other’s lives on a day that builds to an unforgettable climax. Some will seek forgiveness, others escape. Some will mend frayed bonds, others will be exposed." I suppose that’s as concise a summary as possible of this sprawling tapestry, and there’s no real point in breaking the film down to its individual plot components. I love the individual moments, but the film’s power comes from the cumulative effect of all of it, the intercutting, the gradual accumulation of feeling that finally cuts loose in that bold and hallucinatory rain of frogs that binds all the characters with one shared experience.

Perhaps the single best feature on the DVD is a documentary by Mark Rance called "That Moment -- MAGNOLIA Video Diary, October 1998 - March 2000". It’s almost 90 minutes long, and it’s not just a collection of talking heads interviewed onset and indulging in a mutual ass kissing society, the way so many of the "documentary" extras are on DVD these days. This goes far beyond what an EPK would even attempt. It actually manages to illuminate the process, the journey that this vital young artist took on this film. There’s a great interview with PT Anderson to open the thing, and he’s revealed as a very funny speaker, full of explosive energy, who is always smoking. He talks about his writing process, about the value of procrastination, and his fear of snakes, all of which are related the way he tells it. As the production gears up, we see him showing movies to his key department personnel. NETWORK is the one we see his screening, and we hear his explanation for why it matters and how it relates. We also hear him mention an upcoming screening for ORDINARY PEOPLE. At the game show rehearsals with the kids versus the adults, Anderson explains his shooting plan for that segment of the movie. He wrote out the whole game show, all 30 minutes of it, and shot the entire thing, even stuff that was never intended for use on film, just so he had the comfort zone while editing.

As shooting gets underway, it’s wild watching the difference between the cast who totally trusts Anderson and the crew, who sometimes seems like they don’t know what to make of him. There’s a sense that these actors knew they were making something strange, hard to pinpoint, delicate, and they all seem willing to go to any lengths to help PT realize his vision. Even so, there are plenty of jokes in the film about running time and frogs. There’s also a number of moments that seem to approach real intimacy, especially in the interviews with Jason Robards, who made the film while recovering from some radical health problems, something which informed his performance in a very real way. I've got a weakness for rowdy Sam Peckinpah stories, and Robards tells a doozy.

One fascinating moment in the documentary involves MAGNOLIA's final shot, one that frustrated many viewers. Melora Walters looks up as John C. Reilly walks into the room and begins talking to her. This is on the heels of their awkward, revealing, memorable first date. In that earlier scene, Melora uses a line that Anderson first heard in an Aimee Mann song, "Deathly," one of the things that inspired the film in the first place. "Now that you’ve met me," she says to a confused Reilly, "would you object to never seeing each other again?" I have actually had quite a bit of trouble writing this review because I am haunted by that line, by that scene. I’ve been seeing someone since earlier this year, and there was a recent evening when whatever it was that was developing between us simply went on hold. It was one of those moments, full of contradiction and conflicting emotion. We didn’t pull apart because things weren’t good. In fact, it was the opposite. Things were good, even very good in many ways, but they were moving fast, getting more serious than either of us expected. The night I sat down to first write this piece was the night we had that conversation, quiet hard words in a candlelit room, and since then, I’ve been blocked. I watched this film, certain moments from it, a dozen times since then, hoping to shake myself free from the almost choking emotion, but that’s the point, isn’t it? We don’t choose who we give ourselves up to, and we don’t choose when. When it happens, we can fight and we can deny ourselves and we can sometimes even convince ourselves that it’s alright. But nothing can replace that feeling when we make the offer, when we take the chance, and our hopes are rewarded. In the documentary, you get a chance to see John C. Reilly rehearsing the film’s final scene, and you can hear the dialogue clearly there if that’s something you really need. To my mind, though, PT made the perfect choice by simply letting us know that Reilly is talking. What he says isn’t important. We’ve all been there. There’s no poetry in that naked offering of love. The poetry, the grace in that moment... it’s in Melora’s face, in that Mona Lisa smile she offers up as she reaches out and takes the outstretched hand. It’s a shattering choice.

If you’re interested in material that was cut from the film altogether, there’s a fairly big sequence with Orlando Jones as the Wurm. We get a look at how it’s not working during shooting. As much as I like Orlando, it looks like PT made the right choices when editing and trimming the film. The documentary wouldn’t be complete without a glimpse at the shooting of the infamous frog sequence. The funniest thing in the documentary is the countdown that divides each segment of the documentary. We see them counting down the schedule. "Day 10 of 79." "Day 30 of 79." Then, with no fanfare, we hit "Day 80 of 79" and just keep going. The shoot ends up tallied at 90 days of shooting with 10 full days of second unit. Our entire look at the scoring session consists of one long beautiful take of Jon Brion and the orchestra at work. For those of you who have never been to a press junket who are curious about them, they have a glimpse here. They also give us a look at the talent as they take a break and try to deal with hearing the same questions over and over. It should serve to deflate the egos of all junketeers just a bit, and went a long way towards convincing me not to work them again. We get a glimpse of PT and Fiona Apple in their limo on the way to the premiere of the film at the Westwood Mann’s Village, and there’s that great combination of weariness and elation writ large on Anderson’s face, the same combination I’ve seen on the faces of several filmmakers now. At the premiere, he and his producer get to announce that they were nominated just that morning for major awards for the cast and the film, and Anderson seems genuinely delighted to share the news.

There’s one other moment on this disc, besides the film’s final shot, that goes a long way towards convincing me that love is possible even in a town as crazy as this, as demanding as this, and as unforgiving as this, and it’s in the documentary, towards the end. Fiona and PT are in his editing room. It’s January 2000. The film is in release, and it’s getting hammered by some people for what they see as its flaws. Fiona actually pretends to be MAGNOLIA, tapdancing for PT, trying to win his approval, even as he lambasts her for being too long, for having no real ending, for that crazy frog sequence, for using too many "f words." He’s laughing the criticisms off, but you can see that they left their mark on him. Finally, he embraces her and says that he’ll always love her, even if she’s "no BOOGIE NIGHTS." In that moment, they’re not celebrities or rock stars or larger than life. They’re just two kids in love, one of them hurting a bit, the other one helping to soothe that. I have no idea what they’re like in real life, but at this moment, the two of them moved me, and I wish them well.

Since the documentary then immediately cuts to PT accepting the Golden Bear in Berlin for MAGNOLIA, I would imagine he isn’t still nursing any wounds over the movie. It’s a rich, wonderful work, and this DVD edition is the best way to celebrate the accomplishment at home. For fans of his work, today’s a great day to have a DVD player. Enjoy. I know I did, and will for years to come.

Readers Talkback
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  • Aug. 29, 2000, 2:23 a.m. CST

    But it did happen.

    by Adam Mantioba

    Man, that Magnolia DVD sounds absolutely great. I had heard that PTA wasn't doing a commentary track awhile ago, which gave me trepidations on purchasing the disc, but with all this stuff discussed in the article, I'm there like Huggy Bear.

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 3:18 a.m. CST


    by jbbbl

    Hey what can I say? I dig PTA and so does any self respecting film fan. I've waited months for this DVD and you can bet your ass Tuesday morning I will be being the fucker.

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 3:42 a.m. CST


    by JezusKrist

    This is one of the best 'reviews' I've ever read of P.T.'s work so far. It really makes me happy to know that genius doesn't always go unappreciated. P.T.'s only made three films so far but the impact they've had on me is astonishing. Seeing Boogie Nights for the first time was, to me, right up there with seeing Taxi Driver, De Palma's Scarface, The Passion Of Joan Of Arc, Mario Bava, Sergio Leone, Ulmer's Detour, Hana-Bi, Blood Simple, and countless other movies that make me fall deeper and deeper in love with cinema every time I see them. As far as I'm concerned Boogie Nights isn't ONLY the best film of the 90's, it's one of the best films I've ever seen. Magnolia's right up there as well. Sydney (Hard Eight) established P.T. as someone to watch out for, Nights and Magnolia cemented his genius. Too bad the Boogie Nights DVD won't have the Exhausted segment the Laserdisc had. Listening to Anderson's commentary for Exhausted is to listen to one who truly LOVES what he does, and that's something that shows in everything P.T. does.

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 4:59 a.m. CST

    It's a dangerous thing to confuse children with angels.

    by Darth Taun Taun

    Got the "Magnolia" disc in my mailbox today. PT is a damn genius. I still want my audio commentary, though...

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 5:01 a.m. CST

    Since, so far, I'm the first naysayer here, I'll try to be civil


    What's the big fucking to-do with Boogie Nights? I just don't get it. It's like "Pulp Fiction-Lite." All the technique with half the originality. I can't say I "hate" PTA... I've only seen one of his films and it would be wrong to decide I don't like him just because I don't like one of his films. I would like to see Magnolia at least once so I can see what everybody's talking about, and I do keep an open mind to the possibility that I may like it. But Boogie Nights is simply in my "bottom four" movies of all time. (For the curious, the others are Swingers, Scream, and Starship Troopers. All have been WAY overpraised, IMO, and I failed to find any entertainment in any one of them.) So please... anybody... if you can put aside the fact that I didn't like the movie and I may be insulting your hero, Paul Thomas Anderson, then please tell me exactly what you found so inspiring or profound in Boogie Nights. I promise to hear you out, though I can't guarantee I'll see it the same way. Thanks.

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 6:18 a.m. CST

    Re: Lightstormer; PTA/Fiona; Moriarty

    by Lazarus Long

    Let me just start by saying this was one of my favorite articles to date from Moriarty. Passion and analysis...fantastic. *** Lightstormer, I respect your opinion about a film being "overpraised", but here's why I think people have heaped so much acclaim on films like "Boogie Nights" and "Pulp Fiction": There's a famous quote from Francois Truffaut where he states that a film must either "Express the joy or pain of creating cinema". Something to that effect. Apocalypse Now is one of those films (Ebert uses the Truffaut quote in his review), accomplishing both tasks at once. Boogie Nights and Pulp Fiction, to me, show two new directors coming into their own, and falling in love with the process of making films. It literally jumps off the screen at you. Those films are ALIVE. While the screenplays may not be the most mature or timeless pieces of writing, visually these two are without many peers in the 90's. Tarantino did just about everything you can do in a film (breaking the fourth wall, jumping around in time), and PTA managed to control a large cast of characters. Neither of those two things are easy. So while you may feel they are overrated, at least respect the audacity and accomplishent of two guys who were pretty new to making films. *** Fiona Apple is about as talented as her boyfriend. For those who are still lumping her in with crap like Alanis, or even Britney Spears, I suggest you listen to her album from last year, which was produced (and partially played) by Jon Brion. She's definitely an original. *** No one seems to realize, or admit, that "Hard Eight" is a much better title than "Sydney", regardless of how evil the studio was in cutting the film.

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 6:59 a.m. CST

    Fight Club and Magnolia...

    by GravyAkira

    Two best films of the year. I dare you to argue. Might be the two best of decade!

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 7:56 a.m. CST

    It's not that Hard Eight is a B-E-T-T-E-R title...

    by JezusKrist

    The reason why Sydney works as a title is because it throws a spotlight on what the film's truly about. You have to look at the meaning between the two. It has NOTHING to do with what's 'better'. HARD EIGHT puts focus on the technique, SYDNEY puts focus on the humanity. ---------------- The reason why the guy above me doesn't 'get' Boogie Nights is because he fails to see the humanity behind it all. That's obvious because he compares it to Pulp Fiction just because the two share strong directorial visions. The thing is, for all the genius technique and complicated camera tricks and stuff in Boogie Nights what really stands apart are the little human touches you remember afterwards... I'm not going to go into it because if you don't get it you don't get it, I can't teach anybody to be sensitive. Big M pretty much sums it up nicely in his review. He reacts to it emotionally, just like I do, just like tons and tons of other people do. It's like me trying to convince you Bava's Black Sabbath is one of the greatest horror movies of all time. One of the reasons why I feel this way is because, believe it or not, I react very emotionally to that movie. You, on the other hand, might not react emotionally to it thus leaving you scratching your head. You ever see the movie I Am Cuba? It's one of the coolest movies ever made, full of long-ass tracking shots, unbelievable camera moves that float, fly, and slink through the frame. It's also a powerful, very emotional movie. It's the kind of movie that kicks the ass of most movie-lovers that see it. P.T. Anderson's mentioned the movie once in an interview I read with him and, the weird thing is, his movies play alot like I Am Cuba. The reason I bring this up is because alot of 'cinephiles' seem to think that if a movie just has 'style' it's great. Pulp Fiction and Boogie Nights are both great, great movies. It's just weird to me that someone can't see the 'difference' between the two. Swingers, by the way, is a great move too. I think you're too hung-up on what's over-rated. Movies are neither over-rated nor under-rated, it's you who's going in with these preconcieved notions in your head.

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 8:14 a.m. CST

    Hey unknownmutant...

    by JezusKrist

    I can hear just a tinge of jelousy in your post. How can I do this you ask? Your points don't affect the movies you're talking about. Who cares if Pitt's tough or not? Rock Hudson was gay, does that lessen his performance in Captain Lightfoot? Of course not. Please, use your brain before it shrivels up and dies a nasty death.

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 8:24 a.m. CST

    Great commentary, Moriarty...

    by Roguewriter

    My wife and I are already monster fans of Anderson, but I've been putting off buying the goodies-laden DVDs til Christmas. Your solid, heartfelt study on BG and MAGNOLIA has turned me around. Heading out after work today to find those bad boys. Thanks for your moving commentary on one of the few modern directors whose work will outlast us all. I hope my great-grandchildren are studying Anderson's films someday. RR

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 8:50 a.m. CST

    The PT Anderson Effect

    by Greensleeves18

    IS it just me, or does anything and everything that has even the smallest conection to PT Anderson become an endurance test to see how long ideas can be streached out and how long-winded the author of the piece can be?

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 8:56 a.m. CST

    Nope, it's just you

    by JezusKrist

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 9:04 a.m. CST

    Give the guy's P.T. Anderson, not P.T. Barnum...

    by darthexcelsior

    Face it, fanboys, you STILL are haunted by a naked Heather Graham asking nonchalantly "So, are we gonna fuck?" as if it were "So, do I turn left or right at this intersection?" You probably actually took notes from Frank Mackey's Seduce and Destroy, crying all the while, realizing how spot-on it is, and at least I admit to being jealous of a guy who gets to make the movies he wants AND gets to reenact the "Criminal" video with Fiona on a nightly basis, I would assume. And UnknownComic or UnknownClone or whatever dissing Fight Club too? First rule of talkbacks: You DO NOT talk shit about Fight Club. Second rule of Talkbacks: You DO NOT talk shit about Fight Club. Later, bittermen (and womyn).

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 9:04 a.m. CST


    by w_buhr

    I think directors like PTA are the problem with some of the movies we have today. That is, a director's ego commanding the picture and taking it (and us) hostage. I thought the first hour of Magnolia was great, and then the movie drove off a cliff. Why is it that a director thinks he can make a three-hour movie, and we're supposed to sit there and marvel at his genius?? Why? Because it was long and boring? Give me a break. Does anybody remember the children's story "The Emperor's New Clothes"?

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 9:11 a.m. CST

    Magnolia=Movie of the Week

    by DaveDe

    The themes in Magnolia aren't that much different then your typical movie of the week things. "Be good to your kids" "Confront your past mistakes" "Don't molest your daughter" But because they are done by brilliant actors and shot brilliantly it allows people to heap praise, that it doesn't deserve. Magnolia is a good movie, but not a great movie and certainly not one of the best of decade. I think Paul Thomas Anderson is truly one of the best up and coming directors and I hope this was the film he needed to get out of his system. I found myself screaming in the second act "LET'S GO PEOPLE GET ON WITH IT" He draws out things unnecessary to make them seem more interesting then they actually are. It doesn't surprise me that people who worship Magnolia also worship Fight Club. They're both small idea's painted with a big brush. If you look up pretentious in the dictionary you will see the first definition is Fight Club. A Movie made by rich gorgeous hollywood people telling us how bad it is to be rich and gorgeous. Magnolia isn't as bad, but it's close.

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 9:13 a.m. CST

    These should be waiting for me in the mail upon my return from w

    by r_dimitri22

    Moriarty, thanks for the great reviews. I'm a huge fan of P.T. and Fiona as well, and your words do them much justice. I'm looking forward to revisiting Magnolia, and Boogie Nights is my all-time favorite film. I don't think I can convince anyone of its greatness. To each his/her own. But since someone asked, I'll tell you what I love about it...1) The characters. Each of them has a soul. I have almost nothing in common with these people and their trials, but I cared about all of them, especially Buck and Amber. I felt the happy endings were well-earned for all of these flawed but wonderful people. 2) The performances. Not a weak one in the bunch. Don Cheadle, Julianne Moore, Burt Reynolds, Heather Graham, John C. Reilly, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Luis Guzman, etc....all of these performers weren't simply playing the parts. They inhabited them. And I don't understand all of the Mark Wahlberg bashers, because I think the guy is a very good actor, especially in this film. 3) The dialogue. P.T. can write a screenplay as well as anyone. There's not much that's laugh-out-loud funny, but then again I'm not much of a laugh-out-loud guy. What there is, though, are simple exchanges that reveal the humanity of these characters. Some of it is witty ("that's not an M.P., that's a Y.P.," "...look like Han Solo,", "Do you remember me from a couple of hours ago?", etc.) and some of it is painful (e.g., "I'm an actor"). But most importantly, all of it is honest. 4) The music. Omnipresent, this is what keeps the story moving and alive. I can't think of a single cue that doesn't fit. I gotta admit I'm a fan of the music of that era, and that could certainly bias my view. I'm still hoping for a 3rd Boogie Nights soundtrack CD. (As an aside, I found out this past weekend that Survivor's Colleen named Boogie Nights as her favorite film. We're made for each other!) 5) The themes. The importance of family. Earning redemption. The value of respect for others regardless of your perception of their station in life. The damage that drugs can do. It's not as if these are the most important themes in the world. But the way this film makes them resonate for me is special. 6) Visual style. All you people who dismiss P.T. as derivative just don't get it. We all have our influences, as do the greatest of artists in any medium. Does that diminish what we create and how we create it? Regardless, P.T.'s style seems more awake to me than most filmmakers out there today. The way that he tells his story actually becomes a part of the story itself -- but it does so without intruding upon it or compromising it. To me that kind of integration is simply amazing. 7) Moments. This film simply has too many cool ones to list. I think my favorite is the firecracker scene. I have never been more on the edge of my seat in a theater than I was when I first saw it. (Yes, I know P.T. borrowed the idea from an earlier film, but I can't help when I was born. It's no coincidence that almost all of my favorite films come from the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Favorite films depend greatly upon when you see them. Would I be such a huge Star Wars fan if I had been born a little later or a little earlier? Who knows? Who knows if I would have even seen Star Wars under different circumstances? Forgive the existential digression.) "Sister Christian" in the background, John C. Reilly's startled expression with each's just awesome. And that's why I love Boogie Nights. Incidentally, Swingers, another of the so-called "overrated" films above, is one of my favorites as well.

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 9:15 a.m. CST

    what now then

    by AlecBings

    I got my copy of the Magnolia DVD in the mail yesterday and seriously considered skipping the second day of class to take the time to sit down and soak it all in. Sure, I was pretty pissed that there wasn't a commentary and there wasn't anything (besides the snippet Moriarty mentioned in the documentary) clearing up the subplot of the Worm. But overall, the DVD rules the earth. The transfer is fantastic (especially in comparison to, say, the Army Of Darkness Limited Edition, which I bought earlier this week) and the special features are great, especially the cut Mackey demonstration scene, which had me rolling on the floor when I read the screenplay. Oh yeah, Moriarty, thanks a bunch for pointing out the secret blooper reel. I would have never found that out myself. Having said all that, giving a mini-review, and not saying anything pertaining to the other talkback arguments (PTA is god, there was nothing at all wrong with Fight Club or Starship Troopers if you dont miss the point completely, and its dangerous to mistake genius for self-indulgence) I wanted to ask any other owners of the Magnolia DVD have gotten the "special DVD-ROM features" to work. maybe mine didnt work cuz i tried them yesterday, before the disc was officially released, but so far the special features seems to be typing "" into my web browser for me.

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 9:24 a.m. CST

    "Small ideas"?

    by r_dimitri22

    I don't think the themes of Fight Club and Magnolia are small at all. Regardless, themes that are insignificant to some really hit home with others. What's wrong with a big brush anyway? Film is art. If certain artistic styles aren't to your taste -- fine. But don't begrudge us who do appreciate them. If you want grander themes from your art, I guess you should look for it from someone besides P.T. and Fincher. Would you have rather Fincher and P.T. just write essays about materialism and forgiveness, respectively? (Just two of many themes in those films, but if you want to dismiss those ideas as "small," I'll do it in the most simplified way I can.) I think those are mighty important issues, but you obviously don't. What issues do you think are "big"?

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 9:28 a.m. CST

    ...With Heads Planted Firmly In Asses...

    by Anton_Sirius

    Anyone who thinks Brad Pitt's character in Fight Club was supposed to be a 'tough guy' has no right to an opinion on the film. Turn your passkey in at the door, please. As for the view-point expressed by w_buhr and others- why does the length of a film matter at all? Why is Hollywood-standard 100 minutes the 'correct' length for a film (which is implied by the criticism that Magnolia is 'too long')? Some stories take longer to tell than others. Would War & Peace be any better if it were cut down to the length of the average Grisham novel? Is Guernica painted on too big a canvas for you? And I'm not throwing those comparisons around lightly- Magnolia is art if anything ever created deserves the name. Look at the reactions of Moriarty, or people you know that 'got' the film (the way you 'get' a bullet in the gut, I suppose- I never understood that metaphor). Magnolia isn't a film you geek out over, like Reservoir Dogs was, leaving you giddy with the possibilities of filmmaking. Magnolia grabs you by the heart and shakes you around like a rag doll. Magnolia dwells within you, watching the world through your eyes and directing your attention to things you hadn't seen before, things that were right there under your nose the whole time. Yes it's big, and messy, and audacious- all great art is. That's the point. Sorry if your ADD-addled brain couldn't sit still long enough to appreciate it. It's your loss.

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 9:53 a.m. CST

    Across Fiona's Universe

    by etnabob

    I'm going to have to take issue with Moriarty's assessment of Fiona Apple's version of "Across the Universe". Not only does she suck all the life out of a lovely, life-affirming song, she slurs her words while singing it! I was appalled.

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 9:59 a.m. CST

    A Few Notes on PTA's Daddy--O

    by bswise

    I don't really have much time to listen to people who come here and write "PTA sucks," "Magnolia (and Fight Club?!) was one of the most overrated pieces of garbage ever" etc... fine, I heard plenty of that talk in the men's room after I saw the flick and my girlfriend heard much the same in the ladies'. Regardless, Magnolia is a movie that people can't stop talking about, even if it's talkin' shit. For me, the moment the film stared, it just got up and went and never stopped - the emotions seemed all too real, and that life can seem very surreal, mostly miserable but then somehow miraculous pretty much said it for me. So, for us folks, like Moriarty, who love PTA and think Magnolia is one of the best ever... you still may have thought to yourself, "Man, PTA has got some issues with Dad." Not necessarily the kind of issues where Dad is a monster, but the kind that come from the challenge of loving someone who can be difficult and full of himself if not often fowl. And I wondered who is PTA's Dad? Well, it turns out that it's none other than Earnie Anderson, who (and help me out here, people) started out in the early 60's Ernie Kovacs-style with a show he did with a young Tim Conway called "Ernie's Place" aka "THE GHOUL SHOW," where he played a kind of scary beatnik named "Ghouliardi" among other characters. Of course, everyone knows him best from his days in Hollywood as a TV announcer, most notably for ABC in the 70's - that's right, the guy all us aged Gen Xers and byond remember saying "The Luuuuv Boat!" (Something poor Earnie would be forever associated with and forced to say far too many times.) Seeing Ernie Anderson in a few late interviews, well, there's more than a passing resemblance to Jason Robard's Earl Partridge. The fact is, Earnie Anderson died of cancer in 1997... read from this what you will in Magnolia. OK, apologies to Paul Thomas Anderson for rambling on about his very interesting father. Hats off to obscure Manhattan cable-access show "Media Funhouse" (Friday nites. Sat. mornings at 1:30 am) for doing a couple specials last summer on Ernie.

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 10:21 a.m. CST


    by w_buhr

    Do not get me wrong. I am not saying that length is a bad thing. I have enjoyed numerous movies that went beyond the three hour mark. But I cannot stand length for length's sake, and that is exactly what Magnolia is. This story could have easily been told in 2 hours. I swear, PTA could film 3 hours of a man sitting in a park and you people would call it art.

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 10:35 a.m. CST


    by looking-for-love

    While I must admit that I like "boogie nights," I too have to say that Magnolia was a movie made for the pretentious, cynical, sarcastic people that are known as film critics and "la creme de la creme" film aficionados. If it's critically acclaimed to make a long movie in which it takes forever to make your point...then PTA did his job. I've only walked out of 2 films in my life (The Crow: City of Angeles, and The Fight Club), I almost walked out of Magnolia. That was my "via dolorosa."__________BTW, I bought the Fight Club DVD to see if I could find the energy to finish seeing it...and I couldn't. I did manage to look at the cool behind the scenes stuff.____________So, if anyone wants A FREE FIGHTCLUB DVD SET

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 10:37 a.m. CST


    by looking-for-love

    While I must admit that I like "boogie nights," I too have to say that Magnolia was a movie made for the pretentious, cynical, sarcastic people that are known as film critics and "la creme de la creme" film aficionados. If it's critically acclaimed to make a long movie in which it takes forever to make your point...then PTA did his job. I've only walked out of 2 films in my life (The Crow: City of Angeles, and The Fight Club), I almost walked out of Magnolia. That was my "via dolorosa."__________BTW, I bought the Fight Club DVD to see if I could find the energy to finish seeing it...and I couldn't, it truly sucks. I did manage to look at the cool behind the scenes stuff.____________So, if anyone wants A FREE FIGHTCLUB DVD SET (SHIPPING WILL BE ABOUT $5), please email me at

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 11:22 a.m. CST


    by P. Venkman

    Let me get this straight, you couldn't sit through Fight Club the first time you saw it, so you bought the dvd? Then when you watched it you couldn't sit through it so now you're giving it away? Why would anyone listen to someone who can't sit through a 2.15 minute movie??? Its called ADD, look into it. (And Fight Club and Magnolia were the two best of 1999)

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 11:36 a.m. CST

    Across the Universe

    by Lizzybeth

    was a pretty terrific video, although I only saw it once.. very apropros to the song, the way Fiona is sweetly oblivious to all the chaos around her. I wouldn't say she's a great artist yet but she's on her way, she just needs to ditch the cheesy arrangements for her songs (synthesizers, fake strings etc, get a band!). As for Magnolia, I'm actually considering purchasing a DVD player just so I can see all these extra scenes.. I wouldn't say I'm a "creme de la creme film afficianado" as someone states above, I'm simply a girl who sat down for a 3 hour film and let PT Anderson take me where he will, and loved every damn minute of it, even the frogs. There were more moments of real truth, real gravity, in this movie, than in all the movies of 2000 combined (so far). Real emotion affects me way more than explosions and gunfire. If letting a director "run rampant" over a movie gets this kind of result, let's do it more often. And speaking of directors running rampant, why has this turned into a Fight Club discussion?

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 12:03 p.m. CST

    Thirty Minutes Or Your Money Back

    by Anton_Sirius

    Yes, you could have told the STORY of Magnolia in under 3 hours, but quite frankly the story is the least important thing about the film. Look at the attempts above to boil down its themes- they come across as pretty trite when they sit there on their own. More than the mechanics of the plot, Magnolia is about people, and lives, and the odd inter-connections between them. Every major character in Magnolia, and most of the minor ones, are fascinating to watch, and I for one wouldn't want to take away a single minute of any of their screen times. Who or what would you trim? Henry Gibson's wicked little part? Jimmy's on-set breakdown? Alfred Molina? Help me out here- if the film is too long, then what parts can go?

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 12:06 p.m. CST


    by looking-for-love

    Let me see...I sat through Citizen Kane, Maltese Falcon, Magnolia, 2001, The Englsih Patient, and Titanic(all without drugs), all within 2 days...AAAAAAAAAAAll-righty then. I think that makes me a member of the "Patience of the Saints" club. BTW, I will be giving away all my Kubrick

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 12:08 p.m. CST


    by looking-for-love

    Let me see...I sat through Citizen Kane, Maltese Falcon, Magnolia, 2001, The Englsih Patient, and Titanic(all without drugs), all within 2 days...AAAAAAAAAAAll-righty then. I think that makes me a member of the "Patience of the Saints" club. BTW, I WILL BE GIVING AWAY--FOR FREE-- all my Kubrick DVD collection for free (with the exception of Dr Strangelove). All you will have to pay for is shipping (about $25).

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 12:18 p.m. CST

    The Final Word (with all due respect to Romey)

    by darthexcelsior

    I think it's great that this whole talkback has (d)evolved into completely polarized, scathing attacks about a couple of exceptionally controversial movies, especially from an artistic merit angle. But the thing I really find amusing is the not-so-subtle series of undertones that more or less imply that those who are pissed off by these movies don't hate them because of disappointment or general suckiness (save that for Lucas and friends) but rather because these movies struck a lot of resonant frequencies, and some people just don't want to acknowledge them. Who here doesn't feel at least at times "like a freak, who suspects they could never love anyone?" Who here doesn't feel like the convenient store owner with Tyler's pistol pressing up against the back of his head, feeling called out for living an unfulfilled life? Bottom line: the fact that Fight Club is coming up in conjunction with Magnolia tells me all I need to know, which is that these are two of the most truthful, emotionally resonant movies in a long, long time. And yes, I loved both of them, and yes, I consider Swingers dogma as well. Hell, speaking of Dogma....

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 12:26 p.m. CST

    Moriarty - Please, please read me!!!!

    by marla singer

    I just really miss you. I know, wrong forum for this. But I do. More than I thought I would. Please hurry.

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 12:29 p.m. CST

    One other thing...

    by r_dimitri22

    Darthexcelsior>> Right on!...In addition to my comments above about "small ideas" (a criticism which I find completely ludicrous -- I'm still waiting for what "big ideas" might be), I want to add something. So what if Fight Club decries the rich and gorgeous and is itself made by the rich and gorgeous? What the hell kind of criticism is that? It doesn't have a damn thing to do with what is actually up on screen. Sounds like you have issues, dude. Once it's up on the screen, a film -- or any art, for that matter -- is self-contained. Ever heard of "ars gratia artis"?

  • Okay, no mention of the Terminator 2 set today. I won't get to buy mine for another 3 weeks, because they didn't ship any to Canada! It seems that Artisan didn't quite realize the demand for T2, and didn't make enough for everybody, so Canada gets hosed (again). Same story with New Line and Boogie Nights. 3 weeks. So did anybody notice the sweet little picture of SE7EN Double Platinum edition in the New Line Booklet in their Magnolia set? Street date please!

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 1:22 p.m. CST

    HELP: a clarification on the Boogie Nights DVD

    by Walrusman

    Moriarty (or anyone else who has the new DVD): Just to be clean does the new DVD have the same commentary as the Criterion LaserDisc ("Do you think Luis Guzman was stoned when we made this film?"), or simply a DIFFERENT one than the prior DVD release. I have both the LD and the old DVD, and am unsure exactly what is to be found on the new version that is not already on the two versions I have. I love BOOGIE NIGHTS, but I need to draw the line somewhere. MAGNOLIA's already on pre-order, though. I am the Walrusman. Koo-koo-kachoob.

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 1:27 p.m. CST

    Judd Nelson wants his two cents, too!

    by darthexcelsior

    Judd: So, what about you? Anthony Michael Hall: Umm,well, I like to go on AICN with people that I don't uh know and um have these sort of like you know, delayed chat room sessions, kind of like playing chess by mail. We kind of um, work things out that way. Yeah, it's fun. Judd: So it's kind of social, right. Demented and sad, but social. (By the way, it's the Last Word on Fox Sports, not the Final Word. Sorry, Rome, as if you would ever be in this purgatory of pomposity.) To paraphase Rome, have a take and suck anyways. Out.

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 1:38 p.m. CST

    Demented and sad, but hardly social am I.

    by r_dimitri22

    About once every few months I engage in one of these exchanges, but usually they just take too much of my time and energy to put forth the effort. Oh, just a tip for all the womenless male geeks (from one of their own): raving about Boogie Nights as one of your favorite films by using the Playeresque description -- "It's like Pulp Fiction meets Goodfellas, but set in the porn industry!" -- does not impress the ladies.

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 1:42 p.m. CST


    by r_dimitri22

    Essentially you're letting those idiots dictate your opinion then. If you don't like the film, that's cool. But aren't we intelligent enough to ignore all that vulgarity-laden, violence-threatening, moron-calling BS just based on someone's personal taste? Too much of that shit is the exact reason I quit coming here as much as I once did.

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 2:02 p.m. CST

    "No its not going to stop...till you wise its not going

    by XTheCrovvX

    All right look...ive been booted from AOL(also know as "Always Off-Line) twice already because of "inactivity" while writing my thoughts on this, i'll keep it Club....RKO281....for shame, man! what are you doing online writing talkbacks?! go watch it, damn you!! :-) second of all, i cant attack anyone for hating Fight Club...its a hit or miss deal...either something in that film hooks you, (and for many, there's a lot in there to make you think), or it misses entirely(for some reason, and I'm not being sexist here, ive noticed more women who walked away not liking this flick than guys...but if you've seen the movie, you can understand why...they're talking to our for unknownmutant, though, he should be kept away from a movie theater for the rest of his adult life...he's judging Ed Norton's and Brad Pitt's Tyler Durden based solely on looks, meaning that not only did the film miss, but he pretty much dodged the damn thing altogether...poor soul...maybe i should rally the demolitions committee of Project Mayhem to do something about him....But Magnolia, on the other hand...i will defend this movie till my dying day...if you look up Harry's "Why I'm Not Going to Review Magnolia Anytime Soon" review, my personal thoughts on the film are there...but to keep it short, anyone who bitches about the movie being underrated, slow, hackneyed, complete offsprings of PT Anderson's ego loses my respect on the spot...emotions cant be rushed...horrible situations dont just get cut out of life just so you can get out of the movie an hour and a half later....Anderson gave us three hours of raw nerves...9 people living in private hells of their own creation, crying out to respective gods, some above, some right here on earth, for salvation...and you ask this to be rushed? maybe you should go see Whipped or something that fucking simple, so you wont have to you wont have to get attached to you wont have to look at yourself, and think about the things that hurt the most, and watch them get played out in real time in some way shape or form...yes, i am insulting those people who hated this film...if ya got issues with it, email me, i'll go into details...but i'm ready to take up a mental sword about it...i'll gladly fend off any takers. Oh, as for PTA's other work, Boogie Nights? i thought it was well done, and written, pretty much, but around the last half hour or so, it went a little flat...but, i think its the fact that i harbor this strange, sick crush on Julianne Moore that keeps me from riding the film too much...As for "small themes"? It's real simple....small themes=small life...if you truly didnt find the messages in either of these films, you've got to wake yourself up...go get yourself a girl, fall in love, go to a park, do something, try to get whatever emotion you killed with too many viewings of "Half-Baked" back, then watch Magnolia...then when you realize how wonderful, and also how fucked up life can be, go see Fight Club again...maybe then, you'll comprehend how stupid you, im going to get off this thing before Ass-Out of Luck boots me off...again...but, in closing(for now, cause im expecting some feedback from some of the stuff i said), i would like to publicly forgive Moriarty...i pretty much took aim and gave him a "Sue from Survivor"-style lambasting about that Cell review, and pretty much called him entirely incompetent...then he writes this...and he reminds me that he isnt...all's forgiven, man...why hasnt his lab's roof fallen off yet? Revolution is my name...

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 2:14 p.m. CST

    Okay, throwing down my off Cerebus!

    by darthexcelsior

    All right, all right, the fight's over when somebody passes out, taps out, or starts beating themselves up like Ed Norton in front of his cornflower blue-loving boss! This was fun for awhile, but we don't need anyone attacking themselves, not mentioning names/handles...cough-dmitri-cough! We all know that your unfriendly neighborhood alpha male is not visiting this site anytime soon, but everyone realize that whether or not an attack is an exercise in hypocrisy, the simple act of petty bickering is bad enough to level the playing field. Please, feel free to dissent and go off on me, but no self-flagellation! Not what Tyler would want! Certainly not what Frank Mackey would want! Do some Stuart Smalley shit, but check yo' self before, ah, whatever....

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 2:16 p.m. CST

    Last Words

    by Coleridge

    For those of you yearning to hear that last john C Reilly speech that's drowned out by "Save Me", just pop on your subtitles on the DVD... it's all there for you to read during the scene. As for the movie, it resonated for me like no movie in recent history and told a story that had real emotion and heart rooted in a little absurdity. And that is what talk back is all about...

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 2:18 p.m. CST

    Why us dumb folx like Pulp Fiction and Boogie Nights

    by Z-Man

    I just wanna put this out for the Tarantino-haters and Boogie nights-haters. Lazarus kinda got it right with the whole "those movies are ALIVE! They jump off the screen at you!" couldn't say it better myself. With Boogie Nights, you leave that movie feeling like you've EXPERIENCED something. And Pulp, it's just so much fun! It's not like just sitting in a theatre passively watching a movie. It's pure exhilleration! Where even Lazarus kinda lost me is that he doesn't really seem to think that that in itself is enough. Just to be entertained isn't really the point of movies, that seems to be what everyone here is expressing. Well, I'm sayin it's cool to love a film because it's an expertly crafted piece of art that says something poingant and true about the human condition, but it's also cool to LOVE a movie just because it's FUN! Now, everyone in talkback seems to have no problem applying this feeling to, say, Star Wars or Evil Dead II or Drunken Master II so why this double standard that when a film isn't about Giant Monsters and Masked Wrestlers and people getting there head torn off and shit, then you have to be able to JUSTIFY loving it? PS- note that this post also goes for all the people who, over in the other talkback, are dissing the whole QT filmfest. They don't get it.

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 2:36 p.m. CST

    unknownmutant and darthexcelsior

    by r_dimitri22

    unknownmutant>> Perhaps "dictate your opinion" was the wrong phrase, but they definitely dictate your behavior with regard to the amount of vitriol you spew toward the film. If antagonizing fanatics floats your boat, that's fine with me. I just don't think it's very constructive and encourages the sort of talkback debates I do not find to be very substantive. Why sink to their level? Why not simply state your rational arguments and leave it at that? I guess there's fun to be had, though. Incidentally, I'm not voting Gore/Lieberman (I know that remark was not with reference to me, I'm just bored and rambling at this point), but you sure won't catch me voting for Bush/Cheney. What does politics have to do with anything? Are you generalizing that all Democrats are idiots?...darthexcelsior>> Self-abuse is my defining characteristic. I think I need therapy.

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 2:37 p.m. CST

    ahh, unknownmutant....the poor soulll

    by XTheCrovvX

    Number one, yes, im voting Gore/ Leiberman...not because i like either of em, but i always vte for the lesser of two evils in any situation, and seeing as "Daddy" is pulling the strings in the Bush & Dick campaign, i aint going anywhere near his ballot...but i, im not barring you from movies because you have a different doing it cause you seem to be judging Fight Club because "its unbelievable..."...ok, so Brad Pitt isnt your idea of the perfect man...hell, he sure as fuck isnt mine either....but you're not Ed Norton's character, are you?....everybody's picture of beauty is different, we all know this...bu Pitt's character put it best..."I look how you wanna look, i dress how you wanna dress, i fuck how you wanna fuck..."...that had nothing to do with you, personally...he was talking about Ed Norton's for you to hate the flick because of some immature "I hate pretty boys" campaign is has nothing to do with the story, and its presentation...i could care less about how Brad Pitt looks(personally, i still dont think he's the best thing since sliced bread, but DAMN, that dude got fucking buff for this movie...), but while you were point out "oh, Ed Norton would never see himself as Brad Pitt, i was going "wow...he's right...the things we own DO end up owning us...thats deep..."....and not, im not one of those people who think the movie is the best movie of all time or anything...i see it as SERIOUS food for thought on what society, and what its men have become...and its foolish comments like yous that make you there's your explanation...Revolution is my name.

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 2:49 p.m. CST

    Fiona + PTA = YUCK

    by vondoom

    Actually I'm just jealous of the guy...Fiona has more talent than any other young singer today, male or female. When will they release her vids on DVD anyhow?

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 2:59 p.m. CST

    Ooo! Politics!

    by Anton_Sirius

    Why are you people voting for EITHER Gush or Bore? More so than any other election, this is the year to vote for a party other than the big 2. It's a foregone conclusion one of those two yutzes will win, and there's so little difference between them you couldn't fit the ship from Fantastic Voyage through it. If you vote Libertarian, or Green, or Reform, or whoever, there's a greater chance those parties will meet the minimum percentages to get matching funds and debate time four years from now, which will give us real choices. C'mon people, stop voting for the Republocrats- you're only encouraging them.

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 3:12 p.m. CST

    Hey Crov

    by w_buhr

    OK. Go ahead and defend Magnolia to me. But I want real thought and logic, NOT "It was just good, and you didnt get it, stick to 'Boys and Girls' PTA is a misunderstood genius, there was so much real life and emotion", etc. etc. Those are trite and lame. I want something different.

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 3:14 p.m. CST

    Anton_Sirius, politics

    by r_dimitri22

    I agree the third parties need more attention, and I'll vote third party because it's right for me. This bipartisan bullshit really gets on my nerves. I mean -- do they honestly expect me to believe that not *1* Democrat thought Clinton should be impeached. And not *1* Republican thought he shouldn't be? They must think we're idiots to believe that they're that party-polarized on every single issue. (Plus, my state's electoral votes are a foregone conclusion. Bush has Virginia no matter what I do.) But I can understand people's towing the bipartisan line this election. Those Supreme Court spots are going to be vacant, and that could have huge implications on social policy. Being a more liberal-minded individual whose pet issue is separation of church and state, justices who are in the pocket of the Religious Right frighten me. I can imagine those on the other side of the spectrum on that issue feel like now is the time to wrest control of the Court. Oops. This is way off-topic. Did I mention I love Boogie Nights?

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 3:19 p.m. CST

    unknownmutant...(now i have to go into FIGHT CLUB SPOILER TERRIT

    by XTheCrovvX

    now you're misconstruing MY words...nothing in the film, i would say, changed the way i think, or made me "see the light" or anything...but, i definitely think excellent points were made...some things are true whether you believe them, or accept them or not...maybe you might have your ideal life, or think you do, but a hell of a lot of people dont....and in all likelihood, won't....thats what the film tried to make you realize...a society that has made it possible for the rewards to go simply to the self serving rather than the people who are worthy of it should not be the norm...and for those who supposedly do have the rewards, how come we must all aspire to the same thing? why are fast cars, anorexic women, a conservative attitude, and a handsome face the only way to be fulfilled? any way you slice it, thats bullshit...thats what the movie's about...whether you agree with how it's presented, in the form of Brad Pitt, isnt all that relevant...its the "Hugh Jackman as Wolverine" issue all over again..."i dont think he looks like Wolverine", or in this case "I dont think he looks like an anarchistic philosopher"..and even if you dont agree with the presentation, that would make for an ironic look at the film...that Ed Norton has created a persona that, on the outside, looks like everything he refuses to accept...but, like i said...maybe you have everything you think you need which case, im beating a dead horse....but, should one day you hit bottom, watch the flick again...might make a bit more sense....Revolution WAS my name...but in Project Mayhem, we have no names....

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 3:26 p.m. CST

    Folks (folx) we have a C-lebrity here, yeehaw!

    by darthexcelsior

    "Revolution is my name?" I didn't know Philip Anselmo was down with this shit! Fuckin' a, gimme a double shot of Jack and chase it with a black and tan...say hi to Dimebag, please! Hey why is a fanboy like Phil? Because both of them just want "five minutes alone!" And this Presidential shiznit? Are e-joints being passed around in here? Where has this whole thing gone? This is like some chat room done with styrofoam cups and strings in the spirit of Larry King after an E-fueled rave, stumbling around with an engagement ring, looking for Katie Holmes. Okay, back to basics. Repeat after me: "Lucas obviously has lost it..." Have a day or something...

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 3:46 p.m. CST

    "...after an E-fueled rave..."

    by Anton_Sirius

    Is there any other kind? Well, I suppose you could mix in some 'shrooms, or Special K. Can you tell I'm bored with the polarization of this TalkBack? Isn't anyone going to tell us we're ALL crazy, not just half of us?

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 3:47 p.m. CST


    by raindog5

    If you want to see another film that can sucessfully, and entertainingly interwine several lives and stories I reccomend Robert Altman's, "Short Cuts". Though I really enjoyed Magnolia, there is a certain fakeness to it, you can see(lighting, placement, makeup) the amount of time and effort that goes into making evry shot look perfect, and I don't think it always works when the characters being portrayed are far from perfect. This however is Andersons style, similar to Scorcese, and I love their films despite it, hell I would go crazy if the only movies I could see were Dogma films. In Short Cuts Altman seems to be a bit grittier, with characters that are crazy and dramatic, but not over the top. I guess i'm saying, the characters don't seem as forced as they do in Magnolia. I look on the screen and feel like I could be one of those characters in one of those scenes, my life sadly has no dramatic shadow or makeup. But I also know i'll be at the next PTA flic on opening night

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 3:52 p.m. CST

    The Supreme Court Situation

    by Anton_Sirius

    Excuses, excuses. And four years from now I suppose there will be some other compelling reason not to deviate from the two-party norm. Look at the bigger picture- breaking the Republocrat stranglehold will do far more for freedom in this country than filling the bench will judges leaning ever-so-imperceptably to the left, or even keeping the far right from a Supreme Court majority.

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 3:58 p.m. CST

    Short Cuts vs. Magnolia

    by Anton_Sirius

    Short Cuts is a very good film, but I'd have to give the nod to PTA. In Short Cuts the Grand Unifying Moment just hits, at a very coincidental point in the plot, and we don't see any real consequences from it. In Magnolia the whole film seemingly builds to the GUM in a very natural, organic way, and we get to see how the GUM affects the lives of the characters we've been following. Maybe that just makes it less realistic for you, I don't know. But sometimes, even in reality (well, my reality anyway) everything just falls into place perfectly, plausibility be damned.

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 4:04 p.m. CST

    I have lots of love to give

    by Quiz Kid

    this movie in my eyes can be described in one word - brilliant. it is one of the single most moving films i have ever seen in my life. not only do i rate it as my favorite of the year but it is my favorite of all time. there are so many things that one can get from this movie. my life changed when i first saw this film. it not only gave me hope of finding love and answers in this perplexing society it also made me feel dare i say normal in the way that i am not the only one who feels left out yet connected to everyone else. PTA is in my mind the greatest filmmaker out there right now. Well i gotta go now cause my DVD is starting up again and just remember that we might all be freaks who could never love anyone I am Quiz kid donnie smith and i have lots of love to give

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 4:22 p.m. CST

    You don't have to convince me. It's about 140 million others yo

    by r_dimitri22

    Like I said, I'll vote 3rd party. Despite my concerns about the Court, I'd even vote 3rd party in one of the close states. (Incidentally, my mom voted for Dr. Spock back in 1972.) I haven't decided yet if I'm Green or Libertarian. I just don't think a few voices are going to make much of a difference. I know some very intelligent people who tow the bipartisan line simply because years of resistance have proven frustratingly fruitless. The masses are just too many. It's a bit like Survivor -- join the one of the evil alliances and you have a shot to win. Otherwise, you might very well have your principles, but you won't have anything to show for them. What we need is the 3rd parties given a fair shake in terms of the debates and campaign finance. I seriously believe a mouth like Ventura could shake up the system if he was only given the proper press and platform.

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 4:26 p.m. CST

    Forgive the typoes. And did anyone see Brewster's Millions?

    by r_dimitri22

    I'd run for President, but I'm afraid of getting assassinated. I don't think people could stomach my rampant ambiguity regardless. Short Cuts is a good show. I like Magnolia a little better, though.

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 4:35 p.m. CST


    by DaveDe

    You referenced something in your response to me about attacking people who liked the film. At no point in my post to I make any personal attacks. My best friend, the godfather to my children thinks Fight Club and Magnolia are the greatest movies of the 90's. I do not. We argue about it every once and awhile and that's that. I just think both films do the same things, they over preach the themes. I just find both movies boring basically. Neither held my attention. I have nothing against anyone if they like a particular movie. There are so many reasons to hate people, no reason to hate someone because they like a particular movie that you don't. Except maybe Bio Dome.

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 4:45 p.m. CST

    Short Cuts vs. Magnolia

    by bswise

    Fight Club kicked ASS and so will Gore/Lieb- Oh wait, stay on the topic, stay on the topic... Short Cuts and Magnolia will forever be compared; both, arguably brilliant and intricate films with some of the best (and MOST) acting you'll ever see in a Hollywood flick. Some reasons I liked Magnolia MORE than Short Cuts: 1) The characters in SC are completely miserable with no redemption - alcoholics almost all of 'em. In Magnolia, each and everyone finds their way through the dark night to a glimmer of hope or at least some self-realization. The characters in Short Cuts learn NOTHING for the most part. Perhaps this is less "realistic," but man, Short Cuts depressed the hell out of me. 2) I'm a fan of Carver's and I felt his stories were bastardized to fit into what is essentially Altman's hate letter to LA. A lot of what Altman said about LA needed to be said, and Altman was the guy to do it, but still, I felt that a move about Los Angeles and a movie based on Carver's short stories were often at cross purposes. 3) The core message in Short Cuts seemed to be that people are by and large selfish mean bastards who only give a shit if they are guilted into it, and they drink drink drink to avoid this guilt at all costs. OK, a case can be mad that this is true, and in PTA's universe this is often the case... BUT, the folks in Magnolia are still capable of LOVE, and that my friends is a world of difference. If you really must have a message, Magnolia is essentially about what adults do to children, and that's us, and everything we must do to overcome these things and not do them to our own kids when we do grow up. For anyone who says that the emotions in Magnolia are just hysterical B.S., well maybe you just haven't felt these things yet. The point of my earlier post about Ernie Anderson was to suggest that maybe a lot of what you see and here in Magnolia is what PTA had to feel when his own dad was lying on his death bed. No, I don't think Magnolia is autobiographical, but it IS catharsis, and the redemption of ones self through a creative process is perhaps the best thing we as humans can do.

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 4:53 p.m. CST

    "Stop this bickering at once!"

    by gtakeiohmy

    Now granted, I'm new to this "talkback" exchange of opinions, but after reading the incessant Fight Club/Magnolia/Gore sucks/rocks/hu--wha? posts going back and forth, mutating topics after every half-dozen, I must say that this is almost as entertaining as watching Hank the Angry Drunken Dwarf and Beetlejuice go back and forth! And that is a good thing! Sometimes the banter sounds like updated versions of dialogue from an early draft of "Real Genius" (which probably will spark a tangential Val Kilmer debate). Halloween is two months away, but in the meantime, I guess it's fun to watch this masquerade online. Next time: Why Fight Club should be remade with Hank and Beetlejuice! (Sneak preview: "Weshlcome ta Fuh-ight Kluhb! Firsht rulea Fight Clob is...go have suh-ex wit ya mutha!" Gary the Retard of Wack Pack at the Movies says "Uhhh.... wowwwwwwww!" (He liked it!))

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 4:58 p.m. CST

    I'm glad Short Cuts is getting a little respect here.

    by narf

    I think maybe the point of Short Cuts was that sometimes there just isn't a point to anything. One and a half days roll by and some people meet and some people should meet but they don't, and that's just how life is. Nothing always gets resolved, and for the 22 characters, tomorrow will have no more a special meaning than today. (Narf gets down off his soapbox). Hey, let's not forget that North by Northwest came out on DVD today. Best fuckin' ending ever.

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 5:06 p.m. CST

    If I May Be So Presumptuous

    by Anton_Sirius

    I think the common thread in all the more coherent arguments for the greatness of Magnolia is that the film is TRUE. No, I don't mean that it's a documentary. Simply that the characters, their emotions and their situations ring true. And since truth is entirely subjective, that means those achingly pure notes we hear resonating in Julianne Moore's hysterical rant in the pharmacy; in the look on Philip Hall's face as he tries to confess to his wife; or in that wonderfully, hopelessly redemptive finale; those notes are not going to be heard by everyone, simply because for whatever reason their truth is not Magnolia's truth. All I can say to the naysayers is NOT TO GIVE UP ON THE FILM. You find it boring or pretentious, and that's fine, but someday you will not be the person you are now. And you may find on that day there is more beauty in Magnolia than you ever would have thought possible. And if you doubt me, then go read that marla singer post again, and think about the chain of events that led to it being there...

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 5:36 p.m. CST

    one quick magnolia question

    by royny2387

    did anyone else notice that Mackey (Cruise) is driving a Saturn? how is he "Taming the Cock" in a Saturn. Where's his Porsche? or am I just missing the point

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 5:48 p.m. CST


    by w_buhr

    You know what is slightly ironic? After this summer's batch of absolute debacles, I long for something like Magnolia. Because whether you liked it or disliked it, as I did, at least there were issues in the film that you could debate. Now compare that to the Cell,or some of these other complete abortions, where the only issue is whether it REALLY sucked, sucked a little, or just plain sucked.

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 6:50 p.m. CST

    I return....

    by XTheCrovvX

    First off, to whoever made the Phil Anselmo comment above...FINALLY!! FINALLY SOMEBODY KNOWS WHERE MY SIGNATURE QUOTE CAME FROM!!! PRAISE THE LORD!!! ::clears throat:: W_buhr...i made my defense in an email, so i wont go there in TB's...BUT, if you will look in the Talkback section for The Cell, you'll find you're mistaken...there's a HUGE debate over the quality of that flick....and it's split right down the middle...either you loved it, or hated it...right IN the middle is the general consensus that the visuals rule...personally, i thought it was cool...except for the visuals nothing to write home about, but after having been exposed to the bottom-feeding scum of a flick that was What Lies Beneath, i guess im open for, to Royny...about Mackey driving a are very aware that Mackey hosts an infomercial....infomercial paycheck aint much...why do you think Sally Struthers looks like a cow these days?....well...bad example...thats just because of too many games of "Tease the Hungry Ethiopian with an EggMcmuffin"...Revolution is my name....

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 7:01 p.m. CST

    You may be through with the past, but the past ain't through wit

    by Darth Taun Taun

    When I first saw "Boogie Nights," it was the same feeling I had when I saw "Fargo" or "Pulp Fiction." I couldn't tell whether I liked it or not. The scenes kept replaying in my head. Funny moments hit me days after seeing those flicks. Same deal with "Fight Club." Those are movies that take a while to sink in, and on second and third viewings, you'll see them in a different and more appreciative light. I thought "Fight Club" was like "Clockwork Orange 2." Sit down and watch a movie that takes chances. If you want boring, repetetive, inane, predictable crap, pop a Disney flick in the DVD player. (And some jackass will post here saying the remake of "That Darn Cat" was the greatest film ever made...)

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 7:11 p.m. CST

    The cell

    by cakemunch

    No debate, it really sucked. I was indifferent to Magnolia (an awesome first half that rivalled Short Cuts, then a second that failed to hold my attention to the point where the frogs became a cop out as opposed to profound), but it's nothing short of a masterpiece compared to the childish, pseudo-psychological masturbation that was The Cell. I've held off registering on AICN until now, when I felt the need to express my loathing...

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 7:49 p.m. CST

    Magnolia is PTA's 3rd best

    by MagnoliaMan

    Okay, look at my name. Obviously I'm an Anderson fan but I came up with the name around the time that Magnolia was announced in 1998, so I hadn't seen it yet. To be truthful, as someone who has seen all three of PTA's films in order, in the theatre, etc., I have to say that Magnolia is obviously his weakest film. Do I love it? Of course. Was it the best film last year? You bet your ass it was. Was it anywhere near as good as Sydney or BN? Hell no. I'll never explain why I love those films because those who hate them will never understand their beauty. I will say this, though: PTA was a much more mature writer in his early 20s. There was tremendous subtlety of both theme and character development in BN and Sydney, whereas Magnolia is all in-your-face, Oliver Stone-esque characters telling you their every thought and feeling with absolute clarity. The greatness of PTA's first 2 films was that the characters didn't understand themselves, yet in Magnolia, the film with the most fucked up characters, they constantly break into soap opera monologues, perfectly illuminating their problems. Don't get me wrong, I know people like this. The dumb people who hated Magnolia loved this stuff, as it filled the film's first half (the "good half," in popular parlance or, in my parlance, "the shitty half," except for the prologue, of course). I thought the first half sucked. The second half, on the other hand, the half we really love and remember is in the same vein as other PTA stuff with great poetry and subtlety. I should also mention that the only character who was developed with the subtext and complexity of PTA's other characters was Frank TJ Mackey BS-ing his way through a seminar, an interview and his moment at the door with PS Hoffman (tough guy BS 101: "I will drop-kick those dogs."). Fucking awesome and it wasn't in the script so kudos to Cruise who, by the way, you were all dissing this time last year. I remember defending Boogie Nights got me raped on this site last year and now the body-of-work-auteur-love that you have stemming from Magnolia has changed everything. I'd also like to say that, as an Aimee Mann fanatic, I was psyched to hear that she was doing the music and I love the songs but they don't fit with the movie, not the way Supertramp did in those 2 Macy scenes or the way all the music worked in Boogie Nights. Aww, fuck it! PTA is the king and this time next year, all of us Adam Sandler haters (myself, included) will be praising him for his performance in the new PTA summer 2001 Blockbuster. You heard it here first. Buy these DVDs and worship them, as we all should.

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 7:55 p.m. CST

    Magnolia is PTA's 3rd best

    by MagnoliaMan

    Okay, look at my name. Obviously I'm an Anderson fan but I came up with the name around the time that Magnolia was announced in 1998, so I hadn't seen it yet. To be truthful, as someone who has seen all three of PTA's films in order, in the theatre, etc., I have to say that Magnolia is obviously his weakest film. Do I love it? Of course. Was it the best film last year? You bet your ass it was. Was it anywhere near as good as Sydney or BN? Hell no.

  • anyone here know how to access the "Hidden" alternate version of Terminator 2 on the Utlimate Edition (the one with supposedly 5 minutes of never before seen footage on top of the 15 minutes restored on the special edition)?

  • Aug. 29, 2000, 8:55 p.m. CST


    by Sodomy Redux

    Magnolia was a good movie and I enjoyed it. BTW, unknownmutant, you're just a wack fellow. If I thought up a tough guy side, he will probably not be some lurking Hulk, but Brad Pitt, a man that the media is pretty much pushing as the 'ideal male' right now. Christ almighty. Oh, and kudos to PT for Fionna, but frankly she's a little too slender for me. I've made out (not had sex with) women of that build, and I don't get my rocks off by being able to grasp all the way around their tiny, frail waist with both hands. I don't like 'em fat, just solid and substantial. Any who disagree shall be destroyed by...ah fuck it.

  • Aug. 30, 2000, 2:21 a.m. CST

    Disciples of Harry

    by Darth Taun Taun

    For those still not swayed of "Magnolia's" brilliance, Harry declined to write a review because the movie hit him so hard. There are many on this site who choose Harry as their personal lord and savior, so to them, "Magnolia" will be great. To the rest of the population with a brain stem, you'll either hate it or love it. There is no middle ground. Choose a side. DTT sides with PTA and his minions. Join me or side with Kevin Smith and his angry followers. One side or the other, kids. /// royny2387 - Frank TJ Mackey has already "tamed his cock," and wants you to respect it. The real taming comes with the cunt, which is a wild thing in need of taming, indeed. And he drives a Saturn because he can do that and *still* nail the poon-tang every night of the week. Seduce and destroy, baby. No fancy cars necessary.

  • Aug. 30, 2000, 6:22 a.m. CST

    Fiona Apple

    by XTheCrovvX

    You know, the stupid part is that i didnt even know that she and PTA were dating until it was brought up here on this i got to hate the bastard some for making my sweetheart unavailable... Man, why are all the beautiful musicians taken before i can get to em?! Jewel, taken....Sarah McLachlan, taken....Faith Hill, taken, and BY A REDNECK, NO LESS!.....Shania Twain, taken....3 out of 4 Spice Girls, taken...Gwen Stefani, taken(but at least by a cool guy...)...who's left?!?! well...i guess this means, i better grab up that chick from A Perfect Circle before it's too late....Revolution(along with occasional moments of total chauvinistic maleness) is my name...

  • Aug. 30, 2000, 8:01 a.m. CST

    That Darn Cat (the remake) rules! (Please read DaveDe -- and any

    by r_dimitri22

    DaveDe>> Sorry for any confusion. I should really annotate my sentences with to whom I mean to direct them. I didn't mean to accuse you of attacking anyone. If the godfather of your child loves Fight Club and Magnolia, I imagine you have respect for the opinions of others. Unknownmutant was the one who said he enjoyed antagonizing Fight Club worshippers. However, I was interested in your comment about "small ideas."...I was thinking about this thread last night. Despite the fact that I appreciate Moriarty's review above, I was thinking that lately when Moriarty and Harry express their dislike of films (as do some of the people in the more vitriolic talkbacks), it seems that they almost become the Eminems of movie critics. Some of it is funny to me, but I can't help but wonder if it doesn't cross the line sometimes as far as respect for art, artists, and those who enjoy art goes. It kind of bothers me....When I got home, I discovered that the postal carrier had not left my Magnolia, Boogie Nights, and Ultimate T2 DVDs at my apartment. I guess they were too big to fit in my mailbox. I had a notice saying I needed to pick them up between 8:30 and 5. Too bad I work then. Arrrggghhh. You know what is missing from the T2 Ultimate Edition? The Guns 'n' Roses "You Could Be Mine" video.

  • Aug. 30, 2000, 11:35 a.m. CST

    w_buhr 's comments on length

    by Blok Narpin

    There are movies that are just far too long (Titanic for one) and there are movies that are just as long as they have to be. This is Magnolia. It's about 3 hours long but it DOESNT FEEL like 3 hours. Magnolia is truely a movie that sucks you in and when it's all over not only DOESNT it feel like you've been sitting for 3 hours but youve come to know these characters so well that you almost wish it WASNT over. Magnolia isnt as good as Boogie Nights, but it's still a near perfect film.

  • Aug. 30, 2000, 1:04 p.m. CST

    187D - Finally, something I can concern myself with in this Talk


    To access the Extended Special Edition on the T2 disc, (Note: STOP READING if you want to figure this out for yourself!!) Start the disc up and select the Special Edition's version of the Main Menu, but don't tell it to play. Just leave it at the SE's Menu. Then, using the NUMBER KEYS on your DVD remote, enter the number 82997... in other words, the date for Judgment Day. (Apparently, some dvd players vary in how this works. You may have to hit "Enter" after each digit, so if the trick isn't working, give that a shot.) As you enter each number, one word will light up on the bottom right corner of the screen. When the whole phrase has appeared, ("The Future Is Not Set,") the menu will change, and both the endoskeleton's eyes light up. At that point, you can play the ESE. Also, for a good chuckle, on the supplement side of the disc, let the main menu sit for about a minute or so. Every thirty seconds or so, one of two things will happen. Either one small box in the corner will light up (which you can then enter, and it's interesting, but kind of useless if you don't have a DVD-Rom drive,) OR... well, somebody makes an appearance for just a second, but it's worth waiting for if, like I said, you want a small laugh. Enjoy the disc. Lightstormer OUT.

  • Aug. 30, 2000, 1:15 p.m. CST

    fight club

    by Lron

    anyone who thinks that fight club was an anti-materialism tirade really missed the point. all of tyler's little sound-bites were supposed to be utter bullshit that made his way of life seem attractive.

  • Aug. 30, 2000, 9:47 p.m. CST

    by Fafnir

  • Aug. 30, 2000, 10:02 p.m. CST

    Magnolia and Theme

    by Fafnir

    Hey all. Love Magnolia and think its easily Paul Anderson's best work, except for Soldier of course(jk). It must suck to be a talented, fresh director and share the same first and last name with a hack whose biggest hit was Mortal Kombat: The Movie. Anyway, back to topic. Magnolia is to me a challenging film that while not perfect, puts to shame alot of the so called modern "classics" like American Beauty, Pulp Fiction and to an extent, yes, Fargo. Im not going to bring Fight CLub into this since I saw that movie once, and havent really ever thought about it since. Anyway, there has been much mention of the theme, or themes of Magnolia and I always thought( though feel free to disagree) that Magnolia was about GOD. More or less, I think thats it, in the overall picture. Many people made much about the fact its all about coincidence- including the director himself but I think P.T's strong point is showing everything as being arbitrary and coincidental, simply chance until the entire tapestry is shown with all the threads woven in and we have a portrait of the hand of God. Maybe a little too deep? What do all of you think? and heres one for you...WHere did Reily's gun go and why did it dissapear in the first place?( I have my own answers, just curious for another POV) Take Care all .

  • Aug. 30, 2000, 10:22 p.m. CST

    Sorry run that by me again

    by Bosola

    How can you claim that Fight Club isn't an anti-materialistic movie? Surely that's the whole point... that masculinity has been castrated to the point of fulfilling yourself through furniture catelogues and possessions, or cleaning your appartment when you get mad "working in jobs we hate so we can buy stuff we don't need" etc, etc. Surely Tyler's promise of a more visceral/spiritual fullfilment IS attractive when compared to the immasculated, role-model less existence of Ed Nortons character, a meaningless empty nine to five life that he fills with things to distract him from it's banality (isn't this obvious), if it was bullshit then it wouldn't be effective or believable and Durden's offer of throwing it all away wouldn't be so seductive. And the whole buddhist monk waiting on the doorstep thing wouldn't work or be in the slightest bit believable. Also in reference to the whole Brad Pitt is too good-looking to be a hard man (or whatever) isn't that the point.. Hey shoot me down if you think I'm wrong here but I thought that the scene on the bus were they're looking at the Calvin Klein advert (a carbon copy of Pitt's physique) commenting on how it isn't what a real man looks like. Isn't that a big ironic wink to the casting of Pitt in Durdens role....Please enlighten me and any other latecomers.

  • Aug. 30, 2000, 10:56 p.m. CST

    Muckin' with the G's....

    by IAmJacksUserID

    Just want to say that The Untouchables is on it's way to DVD. The coma in the handle denotes authenticity. Accept no lame substitutes...

  • Aug. 30, 2000, 11:04 p.m. CST


    by loveless28

    Magnolia is the best film I've ever seen.

  • Aug. 31, 2000, 12:14 a.m. CST

    where the hell is the "Dirk Digler Story"

    by BETAMAX

    In the insert that New Line placed in the box advertising othe titles it says Boogie Nights contains the short. WHERE THE FUCK IS IT!!!!

  • Aug. 31, 2000, 3:08 a.m. CST

    And the book says . . .

    by Forkboy

    Good words Moriarty . . .you make me want to watch this wonderful film again. From the opening strains of Aimee Mann's cover of "One," I knew that I was witnessing a very special thing.

  • Aug. 31, 2000, 3:57 a.m. CST


    by Mardoek

    The DVD should be in my mailbox within a few hours, but I had so much pleasure reading the review, that my anticipation is even higher now. Thanks man, beautiful written.

  • Sept. 2, 2000, 4:07 a.m. CST

    how can critics honestly diss this movie...

    by crash_davis

    ...for an ending which seems similar to the greatest endings in all of film and literature. Even if we don't truly understand the frog sequence, we will in the future, and it is something that will truly be studied and sought over for years to come. it's a pity when critics don't understand, and yet they never do, at least not until thirty years or so down the line.

  • Sept. 2, 2000, 10:42 p.m. CST

    The Gun

    by Darth Taun Taun

    Fafnir - John C's gun gets picked up by the Prophet kid, who takes it and runs. At the end, it falls from the sky while John C and Bill Macy are sitting in the gas station. Methinks the Prophet has connections, if you get my drift. // Has anyone noticed the utter ironic coolness of the commercials and teasers on the 2nd "Magnolia" disc? "Things fall down. People look up." Great. Frickin' great. // I'm with you BETAMAX. Sounds like we got screwed out of some sweet extras, including "Exhausted," which I hear they couldn't get the rights to.

  • Sept. 3, 2000, 11:22 p.m. CST

    Moriarty, Moiarty why is it that when someone does not understan

    by FatAngryBastard

    Love. What the fuck is that? I once was smoking a joint, staring off the side of a mall roof, (I highly suggest this perch, it allows you the best window on American life you could ever hope for.) when I had a "Moment of clarity" to cop out and use a pop-culture reference. LOVE in all it's many forms is defined as this: THE ABSENCE OF INDIFFERENCE. That's all it is, nothing more nothing less. We constantly rip ourselves new assholes searching for this stupid fucking ideal, when all the time all we had to do was simply stop and examine what we were searching for. Mankind is indifferent by nature. You may think those children dying in Bosnia trouble you deeply, but trust me, you don't really care, because it doesn't affect you at all. It's not predominant on your mind and neither is anything else that doesn't concern you directly. So we look for "love" in this great ocean of indifference we live in and pay rent for because the opposite of indifference is something no one really gives a fuck about facing. Look at "Magnolia" and you'll find absolutely nothing of value. It's a slipshod attempt at depth and if P.T. Anderson is good at anything, it's attempts at depth. He shows us these people who are empty and searching for something to fill the void, but ever notice that no matter how filled that void gets in P.T. Anderson's films, it's still totally empty. That's why I hate his films. They manipulate you into thinking you've seen something grand and shattering, when all the while, it was simply a time wasting joke forulated inside the mind of a pretentious twit with nothing interesting to say. That would be why he dresses everything he says in rubber, prosthetic cocks and sob stories of parental molestation, childhood failures and trauma and sexist rhetoric punctuated by a sky full of frogs. What a load of shit. There is no depth in that line "Now that you've met me, would you object to never seeing me again?" That's just another catchphrase Hell bent on staying indifferent. My advice is dump the "Special Someone" you're seeing and get back in touch with your proper indifference. Then maybe you'll see a bit better when you're clogged full of a liar's emotions. Catch ya's later, Drew. (And, just in case anyone is thinking of working "The Absense of Indifference" into anything resembling a lucrative venture, I own it, it's mine, I'll sue your ass. Indifference is my favorite possession.)

  • Sept. 4, 2000, 4:34 a.m. CST

    Magnolia, Boogie Nights and Fight Club

    by Keyser195

    OK, I've never talked back before here, but I just can't resist a good "Magnolia" trash session. I just want to make one thing perfectly clear - a movie can be laborious, long, affected, pompous and ego-maniacal and still be good. Many movies made by directors who were incredibly full of themselves still came out great, because a really pompous director is going to stick to his original vision, and if it's an interesting one, you'll get an interesting movie. Directors from John Ford to Alfred Hitchcock to James Cameron all insisted on retaining complete creative control over their material, and forced the audience to put up with their own unique brand of elongated material for the sake of their art, and they've all made great films. The difference with PT Anderson is...and I hope I don't stutter here...HE HAS NOTHING TO SAY. It's embarrassing for him to strech out "Magnolia" to 3 hours, when the material is so thin it doesn't really deserve 90 minutes! Think about "Magnolia" very carefully. What is gained by the completion of the film? What has even happened? What has been said? What reaction are you supposed to have? Are you supposed to have any? I think that Anderson just thought that a bunch of character-driven sketches set in the Valley would be cool if he filmed them like Altman and put some really good actors in them and had a few pop ballads thrown in. "Boogie Nights" does have more going on, thank God, but it suffers from a similar lack of closure or purpose during its final hour. That film ends with a series of totally random, mainly uninteresting vignettes in which most of the characters manage to come out either unscathed or at least somewhere in the lurch. Nothing's been learned, but more to the point, nothing's really happened. Don Cheadle wanted to own a store - he does! Rollergirl wanted to fuck a guy in a limo - she sort of does, and then we never see her again! Dirk wanted to get back into porno - he does, but only after being beaten! What's the goddamn point? Finally, as for "Fight Club," that was a movie practically bursting with ideas! Comparing it to "Magnolia" is like comparing "Three Ninjas" to "Seven Samurai." "Fight Club" had so much interesting insight and observation about the predicament of the modern male, it's impossible to list them all here. "Magnolia" had no insight, except maybe that pedophilia and incest are wrong, and so is being mean to your son. Wow. That was worth 3 hours. Well, I'm done ranting for now. Just had to get that off my chest. And, like that, I'm gone... Keyser

  • Sept. 4, 2000, 5:53 a.m. CST

    Miscellaneous on Magnolia

    by Simi Valley Tom

    Yes, I think, as someone else has said here, that Magnolia is about God. It's also about redemption, forgiveness, healing, and various other subjects. Also, since the frog sequence is taken from Exodus, who in the movie is Pharaoh and who is Moses? I think Jason Robards' character is Pharaoh and Reilly's is Moses. Robards is the villain lurking behind most of the problems that the characters face in the movie. All in all, I think Magnolia was great, much better than Fight Club which ended on a nihilistic note and which included over-the-top scenes that just didn't work for me. I just loved the final half of the movie, and the way it ended, including the hilarious frog sequence. Like Nodding Hill, it ended with the smile on a woman's face. Can't say I care much for Altman's stuff; he seems like too much of a misanthrope for my taste. And much overrated, if you consider his "ability" to handle image, sound, composition, and story (I still love The Long Goodbye and The Player, however). Finally, truth is always obhective, never subjective. People only think truth is subjective because they confuse belief with truth. Thus, truth is not dependant on our subjective beliefs, because beliefs can be false. The problem comes, of course, in determining what is true and what is false. Since people think that is often very hard to do, they give up searching for truth and make absolute declarations about the, to their mind, inherent subjectivity of truth.

  • Sept. 4, 2000, 11:38 a.m. CST

    School and the PTA

    by precision

    It is better to have attempted greatness and made a decent film with a ton of faults(Magnolia), than to have tried to make an okay film that NO one goes to see in the first place. At least the movie was seen by everyone bitching or praising it in this forum. So what if he gets Final Cut and he's only thirty. So what if he isn't Altman...Altman is nearly eighty! Someone has to carry the torch for now, even if it is just a wee bit too heavy for them. And as for Fight Club, well..if you didn't understand or like that movie, than it is either too close to home for you, or you simply aren't comfortable enough with who you are on the inside yet. Its cool. Perfect films come and go and usually get their just due after about twenty years or so. PS PTA saw the first thirty minutes of Fight Club and walked out of it. Claimed he hated it. Professional jealousy can be a motherfucker sometimes, huh?

  • Sept. 4, 2000, 5:12 p.m. CST

    Well there are certainly alot of posts for this so.......

    by Windtalker

    I guess I will throw my 2 cents in as well. What I see here are two things worth noting. Magnolia deserves many rewards for the way it has affected viewers, like yourselves, who were touched by the feelings of each and every character in the film. Obviously it is a film for intelligent viewers, and I am not saying that those who did not like the film are unintelligent. It is just that Magnolia requires attention and a little patience (not too much), you have to let the film envelope you and take the ride with these wonderfully written characters. Too me Magnolia was a mind blowing film, god if only every movie could move me like that. There is so much senseless drivel out there today that a film like this looks like the greatest ever made. I will buy the DVD because I loved the movie, I loved it in a way that only a truely good film can be loved. It is the type of film I can watch by myself in the dark at 3am and still have to get up for work in the morning, or it is the type of film I can curl up on the couch with my girlfriend, on a gray rainy vancouver afternoon, and watch straight through. Magnolia will go in my library and will be watched quite a few times and will be remembered for its remarkable story that still has me pondering its brilliance. Uh oh, smells like rain. I know what I'm going to do, what are you going to do?

  • Sept. 8, 2000, 9:29 p.m. CST

    Magnolia's better than American Beauty

    by DeMoNiCMurray

    I saw American Beauty twice and yet I still think it's better than American Beauty. I'm still pissed off that it wasn't nominated for best film. Freakin Critics can't rate worth shit. Life's too long.

  • Sept. 10, 2000, 11:25 a.m. CST

    Sorry, I don't agree

    by Theta

    I just read your review of "Magnolia", and to be totally honest, I couldn't disagree more. I think Paul Thomas Anderson had a good movie in there and buried it under too many subplots. If Anderson had had final cut taken away from him, it would have been a good thing. We didn't need the game show plotlines as a whole, because it added nothing to the story. In point of fact, saying Melora Walters' character was sexually abused as a child is a cop-out and a clich

  • Sept. 10, 2000, 11:44 a.m. CST

    Fight Club

    by Theta

    SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS I'll ruin the movie for you if you read this. You shouldn't see the movie anyway; read the book. Since it's come up on the board, let me just say this: FIGHT CLUB IS EASILY, EASILY THE WORST MOVIE OF THE NINETIES. Yes, I think Armageddon is better than Fight Club. Why? Because while Armageddon was intentionally stupid, Fight Club was unintentionally stupid. Anybody who's read the novel will know what I'm saying when I say David Fincher (who, funny thing, made a lousy thriller, Seven, and the worst Alien movie of the series, Alien 3)just didn't get it. First of all, there was no need for all those computer effects and all the rest of the "artistic" horse {INSERT FECAL EUPHEMISM HERE} that Fincher tossed in. Okay, any REASON why Norton is talking to the camera? Any REASON why we have all these closeups of garbage? Any reason Brad Pitt is screwing around with nunchuckau in the background of one scene? I haven't found one. Second, obviously they flipped through the book, considering they stole the basic plot. But they cheapen the emotions, trying to stretch this novel over a basic summer movie framework. For example, in the movie, the "angel" character gets the shit beaten out of him by our narrator because, oh, gee, Tyler seems to like him more. In the book, he gets his face bashed in because the narrator feels like "destroying something beautiful." Third, anybody who's read the book, even the people who like the movie, easily figure out it's an anti-fascist parody (and a pretty funny one, in places.) I mean, it's obvious. Here are all these guys, dressed all in black, threatening violence, generally being Nazis (in point of fact, a few plot points are taken directly from the early history of the Nazi party)...although Chuck Pahlaniuk cleverly flips the rhetoric (you're not pure, you're the same sludge as everybody else.) So what does Fincher do? He keeps that aspect, but has them win. This is like having the KKK blow up Israel as a cheerful happy ending. It's {INSERT PROFANE FECAL NOUN HERE}!!!! Finally, they didn't have the balls to adapt the book. There's nothing aside from the basic plot, character names, and a few of the gimmicks (which Fincher and Jim Uhls clearly thought were the book.) But they leave out so many great bits, such as Marla's mother, and the end result of that fiasco, where they're in the Chevy Impala. They don't have the boss-killing scene. They leave out the scene where Tyler all but admits, while the narrator has a cop on the phone, to blowing the hell out of the narrator's apartment. The worst part is that the transition from book to screen, a real, word-for-word adaptation, would have been easy. "Fight Club" is a very visual book, and most of it is external, with the narrator doing, essentially, a voiceover. Fincher just didn't have the balls to do it. He didn't have the balls to make a nonconventional movie. What a rebel. I refuse, after "Fight Club", to see any movie with his name on it. Please, please, PLEASE, read the book. The book is inarguably a classic, and Pahlaniuk's best work. But don't waste your money on the movie.

  • Sept. 10, 2000, 2:04 p.m. CST

    Sorry To Burst Your Bubble...

    by Snake Plisskin

    Hard Eight was shit,Boogie Nights was shit,(a film about the porn industry with an R rating,gee whizz),and Magnolia couldn't have been anymore boring and pretentious if it tried.You can argue about the deeper meaning if the piece,but you'd be wrong,so put your misjudged film school geekness away,and go and watch a film that dosn't give insomniacs nightmares. Fight Club,one of the best films of the Nineties,dosen't even deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence as P.T,(or is that P.M.T?)Anderson's non-work.Hell David Fincher shouldn't even be mentioned in the same breath either.If anything,P.T could be the new Kubrick,churning out self indulgent toss,acclaimed by idiots that don't even like to admit that they don't understand what's going on in '2001'.(insomniacs beware).Thank the lord that that fucker's dead,thank fuck he'll never do another sci-fi film.P.T,enough of the shit epics son!!

  • Sept. 10, 2000, 2:11 p.m. CST


    by Snake Plisskin

    American Beauty better than Magnolia? It's just as shit!! Cliched dogs arse of a film,every character a cliche,and Kevin Spacey really should get a new act,it's getting old.He played the same bitter old fart in Hostile Hostages foe fuck sake!! Annette Benning must be killed,I'm sorry,but there's no other punishment fit enough for her embarrassing performance!! Go and watch Rushmore,you media suckered gimps,now that's a film with soul,you dicks!!