Movie Night Director Spotlight: Paul Thomas Anderson | Film: Punch Drunk Love

Well it’s Sunday again and this is also the night where I sit my ass down, put all side projects on hold and just watch a damn movie. I don’t get out much and work way too hard so this is basically something I do to remind myself how much I love film-making, Tonight I’ve decided to screen a flick by Paul Thomas Anderson…

This handsome motherfucker:


This Movie:


Here’s why:

Earlier this week, I overheard my friend mumble that montages were example of lazy storytelling, or something like that. Immediately I thought of the ‘good times’ montage in Boogie Nights. Yeah, montages can seem a bit lazy and almost like a skip to the end type deal. My only point is that in Boogie Nights (nearly three hours long) the montages drive the story forward, and it takes place over three decades. Here’s to the good times (NSFW):

Later that week, @verge did a Snapchat movie review about a new Adam Sandler flick called Pixels. Summing up that review, if you like Adam Sandler, just watch Punch Drunk Love instead. So that’s what I’m doing. Before I get started on this adorably strange and funny and weird flick about love, pudding, and repairing an old pump organ, let’s talk about the man who I personally feel is the Stanley Kubrick of our/my generation. via Wikipedia

Paul Thomas Anderson was born on June 26, 1970, in Studio City, California, to Edwina (née Gough) and Ernie Anderson. Ernie was an actor who was the voice of ABC and a Cleveland television late-night horror movie host known as “Ghoulardi” (after whom Paul Thomas Anderson later named his production company).Anderson grew up in the San Fernando Valley.He is third youngest of nine children, and had a troubled relationship with his mother but was close with his father, who encouraged him to become a writer or director.Anderson attended a number of schools, including Buckley in Sherman Oaks, John Thomas Dye School, Campbell Hall School, Cushing Academy and Montclair Prep.

Anderson was involved in film-making at a young age and never really had an alternative plan to directing films.He made his first movie when he was eight years old and started making movies on a Betamax video camera which his dad bought in 1982 when he was twelve years old.He later started using 8 mm film but realized that video was easier.He began writing in adolescence, and at 17 years old he began experimenting with a Bolex sixteen millimeter camera. After years of experimenting with “standard fare”, he wrote and filmed his first real production as a senior in high school at Montclair Prep using money he earned cleaning cages at a pet store.The film was a thirty-minute mockumentary shot on video called The Dirk Diggler Story (1988), about a pornography star; the story was inspired by John Holmes, who also served as a major inspiration for Boogie Nights.

Hard Eight

While at the Sundance Feature Film Program, Anderson already had a deal with Rysher Entertainment to direct his first feature. In 1996, Anderson made his first full-length feature, Sydney, which was retitled Hard Eight (1996).Upon completion of the film, Rysher re-edited it. Anderson, who still had the workprint of his original cut, submitted the film, which was accepted and screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival.Anderson was able to get his version released but only after he retitled the film and raised the $200,000 necessary to finish it; he, Philip Baker Hall, Gwyneth Paltrow, and John C. Reilly contributed the funding.The version that was released was Anderson’s and the acclaim from the film launched his career.

^ This movie was ok, but I saw it like forever ago and it’s about poker and shit so whatever. [5/10]

Boogie Nights

Anderson began working on the script for his next feature film during his troubles with Hard Eight, completing the script in 1995.The result was Anderson’s breakout film Boogie Nights (1997), a full-length major motion picture based on his short The Dirk Diggler Story. The script was noticed by New Line Cinemas president, Michael De Luca, who felt “totally gaga” reading it.[8] It was released on October 10, 1997 and was a critical and commercial success. The film revived the career of Burt Reynolds and provided breakout roles for Mark Wahlberg and Julianne Moore. At 70th Academy Awards, the film received three Academy Award nominations, for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Burt Reynolds), Best Actress in a Supporting Role(Julianne Moore), and Best Original Screenplay.

^ THIS IS MY FAVORITE FILM OF ALL TIME. Period. If you haven’t seen it, Boogie Nights is spectacular. PTA wrote the screenplay when he was in high school or something and got a three hour long film about the porn industry in the 70’s greenlit, shot, and distributed before he finished college. Watch it. [10/10]


After the success of Boogie Nights, New Line told Anderson that he could do whatever he wanted for his next film and granted him creative control. Though Anderson initially wanted to make a film that was “intimate and small-scale”, the script “kept blossoming”. The resulting film was the ensemble piece Magnolia (1999), which tells the story of the peculiar interaction of several individuals in the San Fernando Valley. Anderson used the music of Aimee Mann as a basis and inspiration for the film, commissioning her to write eight new songs. At the 72nd Academy Awards, Magnolia received three nominations, for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Tom Cruise), Best Original Song for “Save Me” by Aimee Mann and Best Original Screenplay. Anderson stated after the film’s release that “what I really feel is that Magnolia is, for better or worse, the best movie I’ll ever make.”

^ I need to watch this one again. I think it was the first PTA flick I sat through, but it’s one of those movies that are so mind fuckingly dramatic and sad, that it’s a bit tough to sit through emotionally. Julianne Moore goes insane, Tom Cruise cries in it (I cried too), Jason Robards dies and all there is left is regret and frogs fall out of the sky. [9/10]

Punch-Drunk Love

(see below)

There Will Be Blood

There Will Be Blood (2007) was loosely based on the Upton Sinclair novel Oil!.The budget of the film was $25 million, and it earned $76.1 million worldwide. Daniel Day-Lewis starred and won an Oscar for Best Leading Actor for his role.The film received eight nominations overall at the 80th Academy AwardsPaul Dano received a BAFTA nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Anderson was nominated for Best Director from the Directors Guild of America.The film also received eight Academy Award nominations, tying with No Country for Old Men for the most nominations.Anderson received nominations for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay, losing all three to the Coen Brothers for No Country for Old Men.There Will Be Blood was regarded by some critics as one of the greatest films of the decade, and some parties further declaring it one of the most accomplished American films of the modern era; David Denby of The New Yorker wrote “the young writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson has now done work that bears comparison to the greatest achievements of Griffith and Ford“, while Richard Schickel proclaimed it “one of the most wholly original American movies ever made”.

^ This is that real shit right here. Mr. Anderson, 12 years or so after Boogie Nights, released this gem. A little more slowly paced than his first few but it’s obvious at this point that the man knows what he is doing. Amaze Balls. [9/10]

The Master

^ I watched it sorta. It was terrible IMO [4/10]

Inherent Vice

^ Haven’t seen it yet. Def want to.

Feature: Punch-Drunk Love

Barry Egan is a rather shy and awkward man. He’s lonely, has to deal with five sisters that constantly point out why he is lonely and why he is a complete fuck up. He runs a business selling fancy toilet plungers to casinos and such. Barry is miserable. One day, there is a car crash outside of his office. A van screams to a halt at the scene, someone drops off an old pump organ and speeds off. Barry, having nothing else better to do, promptly picks up the organ runs it back into the warehouse for seemingly no reason, and continues with the day-to-day plunger selling business. Enter the girl. She drops her car off to get fixed at the mechanic shop next door and meets our protagonist. Sparks fly, they fall in love, go to Hawaii and live happily ever after.

I’m not going to spoil this one. Unlike the rest of Mr. Anderson’s films, this one is very, uh, two dimensional. Most of PTA’s flicks are ensemble tales, but this one is just a love story between two people with emotional baggage, wildly romantic, and the dialogue is hilarious. Example:

Barry: I’m lookin’ at your face and I just wanna smash it. I just wanna fuckin’ smash it with a sledgehammer and squeeze it. You’re so pretty.

Lena: I want to chew your face, and I want to scoop out your eyes and I want to eat them and chew them and suck on them.


Barry: OK. This is funny. This is nice.

Skip to the end: Barry fixes the organ, fights off the bad guys and wins the girl. He has a ton of frequent flier miles, so now they can travel the world and hopefully live happily aver after.

So here we go



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