What Do You Think Of Paul Thomas Anderson?

Which director made the best films, made the best visuals, or smelled the best? This is the forum to find out.

What Do You Think Of Paul Thomas Anderson?

Poll ended at Thu Nov 27, 2008 4:13 am

He is a cinematic artist. His films are masterpieces.
8
89%
Eh, he's okay. His films get boring and pretentious.
0
No votes
Boogie Nights was okay...
1
11%
His movies are just mean-spirited and terrible.
0
No votes
Who the hell is Paul Thomas Anderson?
0
No votes
 
Total votes : 9

Re: What Do You Think Of Paul Thomas Anderson?

Postby Spandau Belly on Sun Jan 25, 2015 2:04 pm

I saw INHERENT VICE projected onto a stack of my murdered enemies' corpses last night and was quite disappointed.

Having read the novel, I could follow the plot, which I think would be really hard for people who haven't. The very dense mystery story remains almost entirely intact despite being condensed. Most of the novel's scenes and characters do appear in the film, although they are usually trimmed down a lot, and I would say sometimes they are trimmed down too much. The detour to Vegas doesn't happen in the film, but the same information is communicated in other scenes. But even though I could follow the very windie plot, this just wasn't a rewarding film on any level.

The humour is mostly very lowbrow. Jokes about cocksucking, shitting, barfing on boners, kuniseating, nosepicking etc make up most of the film's attempts at humour. Every now and then there's something a little more clever, but it's mostly Apatow level scat. The hostile repartee between Doc and Big Foot was the funniest part of the novel, and it feels somewhat underserved here in favour of more dick jokes.

A more serious-toned narration track from the Sortilège character also just feels like it's at odds with the silliness of most of the scenes. They made it work in THE BIG LEBOWSKI that the narrator was this deadpan cowboy guy and the juxtaposition brought out more humour. But here, it feels like we're supposed to take the Sortilège character seriously while she narrates scenes which we aren't supposed to take seriously.

Phoenix also plays his character in three dimensions with a human vulnerability that frequently feels weird when he's interacting with such one dimensional cartoons.

So for the most part, I would say this film is a pretty big misfire. If Anderson had made this between HARD EIGHT and BOOGIE NIGHTS it would be right at home for that point in his career when he was still finding his legs as a filmmaker. The novel had some pretty witty verbal sparring and some good reflective moments dealing with disillusionment and the end of an era. The film doesn't really do well with either or bring anything of its own to the table. It's a lot of clashing tones and witless vulgarity. Occassionally there's a sincere moment that works and a gag that is genuinely clever, but they're rare. I'm not really sure what Anderson was going for this film, and maybe he wasn't either.
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Re: What Do You Think Of Paul Thomas Anderson?

Postby Ribbons on Sun Jan 25, 2015 5:08 pm

I saw Inherent Vice about a week ago and liked it. I also read the book, so that may be coloring my opinion a little. I think it was a more effective comedy than Punch-Drunk Love, at least. Anderson did a good job with the casting and I thought some of the actors with smaller parts, like the girl who played Japonica and Martin Short, brought a sort of demented charm to their scenes. Joaquin Phoenix was really good too. I think some scenes he played big and some scenes he played small, and it all pretty much worked for me. But I do think that it's lesser PTA; people who go to see this because they liked There Will Be Blood or The Master might find it amusing but mostly insubstantial, and as I was watching it I found myself wondering the same thing, why he chose to make this movie in the first place. I think part of it is because it's one of the few, or maybe only, Pynchon books that lend themselves to adaptation, and Anderson is clearly a fan. Maybe just because he'd spent so much time working on it that he didn't want to chuck everything and start over with something else? I don't know. As a Pynchon fan myself I'm glad he tried, but I am looking forward to him getting back to doing his own thing. The few new scenes that Anderson wrote into the story (like the spanking/rough sex scene) didn't really seem to add anything, other than nudity.

The comparisons to The Big Lebowski are inevitable and probably deserved. It also reminds me of A Scanner Darkly a little bit, with the vertical integration of drugs and rehab, although that could be more of a coincidence. I think that Sortilege was supposed to function as Doc's conscience, at least in the film. Not that she was a figment of his imagination per se, but she always seemed to be around to reassure Doc or help him remember something important, which seemed a lot like Coy Harlingen's description of people needing to hear their own thoughts out loud from someone else. I had no problem following the story and the book's themes, but I also wonder how it plays to people who don't know anything about it. I do remember thinking how bizarre that scene at the end where the blonde family takes the heroin must seem without any sort of explanation.
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Re: What Do You Think Of Paul Thomas Anderson?

Postby Fried Gold on Sun Jan 25, 2015 11:15 pm

Marc Maron's podcast with Anderson is still available for a time, which you may find interesting - http://www.wtfpod.com/podcast/episodes/ ... s_anderson
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Re: What Do You Think Of Paul Thomas Anderson?

Postby Ribbons on Tue Jan 27, 2015 6:22 pm

Good stuff! Anderson is surprisingly gregarious and humble, although his comments on his own films are maddeningly evasive.

"What were you going for with Punch-Drunk Love?"

"A love story."

Gee, thanks.
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Re: What Do You Think Of Paul Thomas Anderson?

Postby Peven on Tue Jan 27, 2015 8:57 pm

sounds like a perfect answer to me, Punch Drunk Love is one of my favorite love story movies ever
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Re: “There Will Be Thread”

Postby TheButcher on Thu Jun 02, 2016 10:12 pm

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