And he's runnin from the devil, but the debt is always gainingUnforgiven got me thinking about the films of Clint Eastwood. He has a great reputation and two Best Director Oscars because his films are always of high quality… but that’s it. He never really does anything that makes you say “Wow!” or “Huh?” He never confuses you, or angers you, or really challenges you in any way. And I think that’s what separates the truly great ones like David Lynch, Stanley Kubrick, etc. from people like Clint Eastwood or Ron Howard.
And if he's worth being hurt, he's worth bringin' pain in
When the sunshine don't work, the Good Lord bring the rain in
Magnolia is clearly the work of an insane genius. That is not to say that it is perfect – pretty far from it actually. It is a sprawling, ungainly mess; it is full of characters, scenes, and plot devices that don’t quite work. But it is also fascinating and endlessly rewatchable, and you have to admire the sheer bravado and artistry of it.
OK, for example, here's the second most-famous scene: About two hours and fifteen minutes in, the nine main characters are all at the end of their ropes, having suffered various humiliations and tragedies. (Yes, nine main characters. And, yes, two hours and fifteen minutes. Did I mention this thing is over 3 hours long?) One of them starts singing along to the radio. Or maybe it’s a CD? If so, that makes what happens next even stranger: The other eight sing along with her.
Keep in mind that they’re all in different places, and many of them haven’t met each other. No explanation given, and nobody talks about it again. The first time I saw it, I was like “What the hell was that? Dream sequence? Music video?” Clearly the director was trying to Say Something with this scene - damned if I can figure out what; something about connectedness, or coincidence, or the hand of God? - but kudos to him for not watering it down. If this was the movie Crash, they would have had Don Cheadle give a little speech explaining what the filmmaker meant.
Anyway, I prattle on, so here's what I liked about this movie:
And here is what I didn't like...
damn this is long. goodnight.
Position on the list: 209
Highly recommended: The "video diary" on the Blu-Ray version. It's like a movie unto itself. P.T. Anderson is totally on drugs, and his co-producer is trying to retain his sanity, and Julianne Moore is trying to say nice things, and it's just hilarious.
EDIT: Holy shit. The Seduce And Destroy Seminar featurette. LMAO.