Paul Thomas Anderson's MAGNOLIA

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Nathan V, Aug 14, 2002.

  1. Nathan V

    Nathan V Supporting Actor

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    I have already seen this film, but I am still unsure as to whether I should own this film. Cinematically speaking, it was perfect (the dialogue is great), but the subject matter bothers me. Sure, I have a lot of depressing films (Brazil, Man who wasn't there, Requiem for a Dream), but there's something about Magnolia (perhaps the sheer amount of death, suicide, marital violence, immoral values, drug use, rape, uncomfortable situations, etc) that leaves me feeling 'down.' What, exactly, is the moral message of the film? I don't think it's the coincidence theme that bookends the film. Perhaps he's talking about destiny. But I'm not sure. I'm usually very good at tapping into this kind of subtext (it's how I was raised). Perhaps what I should be asking is: Why are we shown 10 people's horrible lives for three long, fast paced hours?
    Help!

    Nathan
     
  2. Al B. C

    Al B. C Supporting Actor

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    I think he is talking about regret - not destiny.
     
  3. Gabe Oppenheim

    Gabe Oppenheim Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, I think he's talking about hope (and about twenty other things as well)!
     
  4. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    There were some truly extraordinary discussions about Magnolia about two years ago, when it was still recent. Unfortunately, they've scrolled off. Maybe some of the participants will chime in, if they're still around. (Paging Rich Malloy!)

    M.
     
  5. Joseph Young

    Joseph Young Screenwriter

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    Any thread surrounding PTA's Magnolia is destined for some level of controversy, because there are people who adamantly swear by this film, and there are those who are angered and upset that Magnolia was ever green-lit. All movies have fans and detractors in these two categories, but Magnolia fans and detractors tend to be on one end or entirely on the other, thus the 'controversy.'

    I admit that many of the conceits in this film that astounded and impressed me on first viewing now seem a bit pallid by comparison. While I was enthralled by the characters and the story the first two times I saw Magnolia, repeated viewings left me a little cold. Perhaps it's because it's a character driven film, and the plot services the characters at their own leisure, not the other way around. Either way, you have some phenomenal acting in Magnolia.

    I would recommend a purchase, if only for the refreshingly unique packaging and extensive, candid and revealing documentary on the making of the film. I haven't seen such a good DVD making of film since 12 Monkeys "The Hamster Factor" or SWEp1's "The Beginning." My favorite part is when PTA and a certain famous girlfriend of his toss their cigarettes out the limo before stepping out on the red carpet.

    The 5.1 soundtrack is good but not very aggressive, except for perhaps the infamous raining frog
    sequence. Most of the film is contained in the center and left/right speakers, virtually nothing in the surrounds.

    For the record, despite my misgivings about certain aspects of the film, I would recommend a purchase, if only for Aimee Mann's sublime soundtrack.

    Joseph
     
  6. Morgan Jolley

    Morgan Jolley Lead Actor

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    I'm not sure if there's supposed to be a moral/theme to this movie. I think its more about how interconnected all these people's lives are and how depressed they all made themselves. If you look at it, everything goes back to that damn TV show. Maybe the moral is that TV is bad for you?
     
  7. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

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    This is one of the best films released that year. And its fine to disagree. [​IMG]
     
  8. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Edwin, thanks for a great piece of HTF "preservation". I'm pretty sure that contribution was written by Rich Malloy (under his former nom de posting, Al Brown).

    M.
     
  9. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

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    Yes, it was silly of me to preserve the comments but not who said it. Duh. [​IMG] But I'm pretty sure it was Al Brown, nka Rich Malloy.
    This is such a beautiful and multi-layered film. I never tire watching it over and over again.
    ~Edwin
     
  10. Morgan Jolley

    Morgan Jolley Lead Actor

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    I remember reading that Anderson didn't originally intend for the film to have a biblical connection. He said he wanted to have frogs rain down in a movie, and after they started production someone mentioned the biblical thing.
     
  11. Tim Hoover

    Tim Hoover Screenwriter

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    I love the way that the film deals with the sins of fathers being passed down to children. The children seemed locked in to this destiny also, but they strive to break free of that chain and reclaim their lives.

    It's very moving to me because it hits so close to home. How much of our lives is predetermined? How far can free will go to make a change in that?
     
  12. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

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    funny, I just watched this for the second time last night and thought about starting a thread about how astounded I was. I'd preveiously watched it on vhs rental not long after it was released two years ago. I can't believe how little I connected to or comprehended of the film two years ago, I was thoroughly amazed by the complexity and raw emotion in the film. The use of mulitple intersecting story arcs to tell the story and get across the themes is brilliantly executed and perfectly enhanced by the incredibly effective uses of parallels. As mentioned above the two patriarchs, two wives, two sons, two quiz kids is amazing, each of the stories are distinctly separate yet so thoroughly similar that it's dizzying, this is certainly not a film that can easily be pigeonholed.

    And of course thats just the physical construction of the film. teh performances themselves are amazing, Tom Cruise, Julianne Moore and Jeremy Blackman all give stunning preformances that nearly had me in tears at various points of the film. Then there is the music, Amiee Mann's songs are perfectly matched to this film, in fact, the "Give Up" sequence is my favorite from the film, and in my opinion, one of those 'perfect cinematic moments' (although there are several in the film).


    What an incredible film, for me it's alternately about hope and despair - about people trying to piece their lives back together into something new and maybe something better.

    Adam
     
  13. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    For me, and as was pointed out in Edwin's post, the basic, almost overwhelming point of this film is...

    "Like it says in the Book, we may be through with the past, but the past ain't through with us."



    I have only seen it twice. The first time didn't get me nearly as much as the second. I was basically numb after the second viewing. I think it is absolutely remarkable. Not for everyone, though.
     
  14. Paul_D

    Paul_D Cinematographer

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    It's one of the most frustrating film's I've ever seen, if only because I was so enraptured with the technical construction, but so utterly enfuriated by the emptiness of the story. How I feel about it seems to vary from viewing to viewing. Similar to most other posters here, I think it is remarkable, but not for the same reasons listed above. I agree about the complex emotional web that PTA has created. The construction of the script is amazing. Technically, the film itself is wondrous. Beautifully shot, and edited so well that the full complexity of the parallel stories and intersecting lives is accesible to the audience.

    Acting wise, there are plenty of meaty roles, and each actor attempts and succeeds at delivering their character vividly to the screen. But despite these qualities, I repeatedly find the film really empty. The score, builds up each and every scene into an emotional climax. Which feels fitting because aside from the frog shower, there is no real climax. Julianne Moore's scenes are woefully badly written IMO. I greatly enjoyed Tom Cruise's part, but more so as comic relief than as a consistent dramatic part fo the film.

    I put myself in both the love it and hate it camp. It recommend anyone to see it, but I'd put a big disclaimer on that recommendation.
     
  15. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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  16. Joseph Young

    Joseph Young Screenwriter

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  17. Daniel Demarco

    Daniel Demarco Auditioning

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    Magnolia was and is a film for people who love film,period.All films do not have to be 2 hours long,they can be well over 3 hours,and if you love film,it doesn't matter,You don't always have to be able to predict the outcome.Films can involve many characters,and yet still have them well defined.I love the message in the picture,But IT Did happen,That made my day,because someone behind me in the theater,said,"Come on,,Theres NO Way,,",and as soon as they said that,,here comes PTs message for those who refute the story.This was a great film,this wasn't my favorite of the year,but 99 was a Great year,and this film could have easily been #1 any other year since for me.
     
  18. Dan Paolozza

    Dan Paolozza Stunt Coordinator

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    I was bored nearly to tears watching this film, for the first and only time, last weekend (DVD). As many have said, the technicals of this film are brilliant, and were all that saved me from turning it off nearing the two hour mark.

    I found the story empty, laborious, and strung out. I'll readily agree that it may be a personality conflict: raw emotion, no matter how well performed and strewn together, is not enough to hld my interest and/or attention for an extended period of time. The most I could come out of this movie with was "Yes, well, there's a lot of hurt and misery in this world, and that movie did a great job of showing us a big chain of miserable lives."

    I'm partial to thoughtful movies, and I didn't find there was very much thoughtful about Magnolia. The brilliant performances, gut feeling and fantastic editing only kept me interested for a little over an hour. For the remainder of the film, my gut kept telling me, "Ok, enough is enough! Just shoot the DVD player and get it over with! I get it already!"

    Unfortunately, I didn't have the courage, and I subjected myself to another hour and some of more of the same. All was not lost, however. At least he threw in a neat little gimmick (the frogs) to try and make things interesting near the end.
     
  19. JonZ

    JonZ Lead Actor

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    My biggest copmplaint is the way women are potrayed. I wanted to just grab Julianne Moore and shake her and say "Get a grip!!!"

    BTW, Tom Cruise was just great in this and the Mackie extras on disc2 are awesome.
     
  20. Jon Strong

    Jon Strong Agent

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