A psychologically troubled novelty supplier is nudged towards a romance with an English woman, all the while being extorted by a phone-sex line run by a crooked mattress salesman, and purchasing stunning amounts of pudding.
Paul Thomas Anderson
Philip Seymour Hoffman
24 hours in L.A.; it's raining cats and dogs. Two parallel and intercut stories dramatize men about to die: both are estranged from a grown child, both want to make contact, and neither child wants anything to do with dad. Earl Partridge's son is a charismatic misogynist; Jimmy Gator's daughter is a cokehead and waif. A mild and caring nurse intercedes for Earl, reaching the son; a prayerful and upright beat cop meets the daughter, is attracted to her, and leads her toward a new calm. Meanwhile, guilt consumes Earl's young wife, while two whiz kids, one grown and a loser and the other young and pressured, face their situations. The weather, too, is quirky.Written by
This was originally supposed to be a short and intimate film. But the more Paul Thomas Anderson worked on the characters the more intricate it became. So the plot expanded from there. See more »
Much of the prolog, while appearing to be fact, is either fiction, urban legend, or severely altered fact. But then, the movie is fiction. See more »
In the New York Herald, November 26, year 1911, there is an account of the hanging of three men. They died for the murder of Sir Edmund William Godfrey; Husband, Father, Pharmacist and all around gentle-man resident of: Greenberry Hill, London. He was murdered by three vagrants whose motive was simple robbery. They were identified as: Joseph Green, Stanley Berry, and Daniel Hill. Green, Berry, Hill. And I Would Like To Think This was Only A Matter Of Chance. As reported in the Reno...
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As the credit for Robert Downey Sr. scrolls up the screen, the words "(a prince)" appear next to his name. See more »
After watching the documentary "That Moment" on the supplementary DVD, you can see a deleted scene. The scene involves Orlando Jones' character 'The Worm,' his son (who appears in Officer Jim and Linda's scenes), and an unidentified boy. In it, the young rapping boy, Dixon, rushes into a restaurant where his father is staying, and eventually pulls a gun on him. The gun appears to be Jim's lost gun. Perhaps the scene would have further explained how it was so mysteriously returned to Jim in the end of the film. In the documentary, the director seems to be having a tough time with the scene, perhaps explaining why it was cut. See more »
I saw Boogie Nights before Magnolia, so I was obviously excited about this film. Three hours later, I found that my excitement had turned to boredom.
This film's major flaw is the characters. None of them are 3-dimensional and we really have no reason to care for any of them. They simply exist to go through random occurrences for the sake of randomness. None of them are given anything exciting to do, and none of them are nearly as developed as they should be. In fact, some of the characters don't even serve a purpose in the film at all! Julianne Moore's character is the prime suspect of that crime. She's addicted to drugs, cries over her dying husband, and tries to kill herself. And somehow, we're supposed to feel sorry for her. Guess what? Doesn't work. We are given no REASON to feel sorry for her. We are never given any reason to feel sorry for ANOBODY in this movie. They are simply there. They do things and that is it. Seriously, why the hell am I supposed to give a damn if some know-it-all brat pisses his pants?
The beginning of this film showed promise. In an over-long opening sequence, three urban legends are examined for their mysterious coincidences. But sadly, there is nothing even remotely as bizarre or exciting in the actual movie. People meet other people and that's the extent of it.
Speaking of people, let's take a look at some of the characters:
There's some kid who pisses his pants, a dying old man and his overly emotional male nurse, the old man's wife who does nothing, a cop (the most interesting character, mostly because of John C. Reilly), a drug addict (not the old man's wife, a different drug addict), the guy played poorly by Tom Cruise (unsure of his official title), a gay man who wants to get braces to impress a bartender (what?!), and many more.
Instead of actually having any reason to care about these character's unhappy lives, we are TOLD to care. Doesn't work.
Cinematically speaking, this film is actually well-directed, edited, the cinematography is great, but the music is over-used. The film could also be shortened by about a half hour by simply not following around unimportant character from place to place before they vanish and are never to be seen or heard from again. What a total waste.
If you actually believe that this film is original at all, just watch Short Cuts and you'll see the truth. Magnolia is a rip-off. A bad one where everyone has to cry every 5 minutes and sing together at the end before something totally outrageous happens for no reason at all and with no explanation.
And speaking of Exodus 8:2, you will notice a lot of 8's and 2's in the film. Thing is, it's too overt. It's pretentious because Anderson is showing people how clever he is instead of actually being clever and letting people see it on their own. I'll even give an example of this whole "cleevrness with numbers" deal with THE SHINING:
Danny wears a jersey with number 42 Danny and his mom watch the movie Summer of 42 Half of 42 is 21 There are 21 pictures on the Gold Room wall The July 4th Ball was in 1921 The mirror image of 21 is 12 (mirrors play a key role in The Shining) The two times shown via screen titles are 8 PM and 4 PM (8+4=12) The radio call sign for the Overlook Hotel is KDK 12
Anderson has a lot to learn.
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