Author Topic: how would you rank his films so far?  (Read 2258 times)

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Drenk

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Re: how would you rank his films so far?
« Reply #45 on: November 27, 2017, 03:38:05 PM »
+6
Take TWBB.  I really like the imaginative blocking, the cinematography, mise-en-scene, etc., but I feel like there's little attention paid to narrative development; I don't find the story interesting, or the exploration of its ostensible themes illuminating (capitalism, etc.).  It's ultimately just monotonous formalism.  And DDL's cartoonishness made it all the more incongruous to me.

There Will Be Blood is not about capitalism. A lot of critics don't know how to describe his movies. But I agree that it is weak if we are looking at it as a comment about capitalism v religion.

I don't even remember how he describes it in the Marc Maron podcast. "It's about oil" or some bullshit. I know it's easy to say that he often writes about family but TWBB is fascinating because Plainview is a family man who is against people and his own family. He is not looking for human shelter. He is dreaming about that house. But he is a family man because H.W lands on him and even if he exploits his "son" he loves him. He is a family man for the people he gives work/money/to. I love the line when he says that they should have bread. And that he would give bread to them.

The ultimate insult is the false brother in law. The ultimate betrayal. He softens us to his past. But it's a lie. Plainview is in tension between his need to be left alone and his need to be surrounded by people. Of course, he wants to control them, too...

And Sunday doesn't want him to take his people away from him. If there is a comment about religion vs capitalism it is that ultimately it doesn't matter if we are talking about oil or God, it is only about power...It is slim. I find Plainview way more fascinating. He is the anti PTA character living in the most PTA character.

I rarely see characters as good in movies living through so many memorable moments.

He is also helped by the fact that he knows when he writes what mood he aims at. And he can direct the hell out of these moods.

You can also see The Master as an incoherent script or a depiction of a fascinating and complex relationship.

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wilder

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Re: how would you rank his films so far?
« Reply #46 on: November 27, 2017, 03:44:51 PM »
0
Damn well put.

Wondering if you saw this remark PT made about Phantom Thread that wilberfan linked (SPOILERS EVERYBODY)

https://twitter.com/ErikDavis/status/934978136369958912

Drenk

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Re: how would you rank his films so far?
« Reply #47 on: November 27, 2017, 04:06:03 PM »
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I saw it and remembered what he said after writing that sentence. I hadn't thought about it in context with Plainview before. I'm very excited for Phantom Thread...
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Mogambo

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Re: how would you rank his films so far?
« Reply #48 on: November 27, 2017, 04:49:48 PM »
+2
You can also see The Master as an incoherent script or a depiction of a fascinating and complex relationship.

Do you think PTA is trying to say something about monogamy in The Master, among other themes?

In the beginning of the movie, we see Freddie jerking off at the beach, without anyone's interference. Lancester is seen jerking off too, but Peggy is helping him, in a way taking control of his masculinity. Lancester acts like a lovestruck child when he's alone with Freddie, because he wants the freedom that he has, maybe because he symbolises everything that Lancester once was. Peggy was the real Master. Lancester's behavior changes and he assumes the formal role of the Master only when Peggy's in the room, saying stuff that is influencing him. Or when she's talking while he was typing his 2nd book, after the PIG FUCK incident. At the end of the movie, he sings to Freddie (just like Doris sang to Freddie when she said her final goodbye to Freddie), and Peggy isn't in the room. He says "If you figure a way to live without serving a master, any master, let the rest of know, will you? you'll be the first person in the history of the world." Lancester couldn't afford a life of "free winds and no tyranny" like Freddie because he was married. He saw Freddie and himself as kindred spirits. He also mentioned two unguided mail balloons from the pigeon post getting lost in a previous life.

idk, maybe i'm grasping at nothing here.

Drenk

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Re: how would you rank his films so far?
« Reply #49 on: November 27, 2017, 04:58:22 PM »
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Well, marriage is definitely a thing that makes Dodd unavailable for Freddy but he also has The Cause to deal with. And his couple with Freddy works outside the logic of marriage (I'm not even sure it is really about sex, I'd even say it works better that a "normal" couple or his marriage because there is no sex) and can't be chained to The Cause...Their short honeymoon is when Freddy is saying that The Cause works! But it doesn't for him. So he leaves.

He is not the master with Freddy, I guess. Nor is Freddy the master. It's a companionship. They need to travel and do things all around the world. The song he sings to him is perfect. That's a toxic way to see marriage and we also see that he is not really the master of his couple but he plays that role for the world—and they are a couple that works in the way that their mariage is strong for The Cause, the extended family, and Freddy fucks everything up. Dodd was beginning to lose interest in The Cause toward the end...But he can't escape. He looks so trapped in that gigantic desk but it's his fault if he can't go away...

(Of course, he's probably gay and I don't think that Freddy is...It was messed up.)

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wilberfan

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Re: how would you rank his films so far?
« Reply #50 on: November 27, 2017, 07:09:57 PM »
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...still revel at the movie's ambitions, its scope, its innovations, the incredible dialogue, just everything about it is awe-inspiring. I don't ever want to wait such a long time between viewing again.

In general, this describes my feelings about Boogie Nights.  I'm deeply fond of Magnolia and Punch-Drunk Love, but I've only watched those 5 or 6 times each.  I've seen BN more than 30 (and maybe half of those in the last 5 years or so).
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ono

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Re: how would you rank his films so far?
« Reply #51 on: November 28, 2017, 07:57:07 PM »
+3
One such older thread:

http://xixax.com/index.php?topic=12860.0

As for me:

The Master -- I just love how elliptical he's gotten.  The scene of Freddie falling asleep to Casper and getting a phone call is emblematic of everything I want a film to be.  The final confrontation reminds me a tiny bit of the final Eyes Wide Shut confrontation.  And that final sex scene is just too good.

There Will Be Blood -- the last 20-ish minutes never happened.  A theory I've been working on based on the editing choices made.  If ever you were to point to a film with perfect filmmaking, this would be it.  Everything is just so precise.

Magnolia -- But that did happen.

Punch-Drunk Love -- Best love story.  I wrote an essay about its quirks back in college, thanks to a lot of people's observations here.  It helped foster my film love in so many ways.

Boogie Nights -- It's only listed 5th because he's made 4 better films.  Not that it isn't great.

Hard Eight -- It's only listed 6th because he's made 5 better films.  And everyone had to start somewhere.

I still haven't seen Inherent Vice or Junun.  IV, because I promised myself I'd read it first, but it is such a slog to read.  Lame excuse, I know.  I own IV.  Will probably watch them all again before Phantom Thread.  Just the other day, I listened to the first Boogie Nights commentary all over again for the 50th time.  Like catching up with an old friend.  Listened to the Hard Eight one a couple months ago.  They make me bummed PTA doesn't do commentaries anymore.

wilberfan

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Re: how would you rank his films so far?
« Reply #52 on: November 28, 2017, 08:20:36 PM »
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Just the other day, I listened to the first Boogie Nights commentary all over again for the 50th time.  Like catching up with an old friend.  Listened to the Hard Eight one a couple months ago.  They make me bummed PTA doesn't do commentaries anymore.

You used the phrase "...the first Boogie Nights commentary".  Was there a second?  :shock:   Oh, wait.  You probably meant that was his first?  Has he really not done once since?  THAT is tragic...
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ono

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Re: how would you rank his films so far?
« Reply #53 on: November 28, 2017, 08:34:03 PM »
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There are two Boogie Nights commentary tracks, yeah.  One is more interviews with the actors that play along with the movie.

wilberfan

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Re: how would you rank his films so far?
« Reply #54 on: November 28, 2017, 08:43:53 PM »
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There are two Boogie Nights commentary tracks, yeah.  One is more interviews with the actors that play along with the movie.

That's right!  I remember Cheedle and Moore in the second one...
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Something Spanish

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Re: how would you rank his films so far?
« Reply #55 on: November 28, 2017, 09:24:19 PM »
+4
TWBB may not be primarily about capitalism, but capitalism, and its tussle with religion, certainly is a driving force throughout, as is porn in Boogie, Dianetics in Master, gambling in Sydney, etc. PTA's films are character driven and whatever themes arise are mainly due to the characters' personalities and interactions within that setting. I know people say they understand the plot elements of IV, that the story is easy to follow if you pay attention, but I find that untrue, particularly if you haven't read the book. The story is simply too elusive and he does not seem interested in it. It's all about the characters being thrust into situations and a yearning for ideals passed by. The movie perfectly bottles the spirit of Pynchon's themes.

I remember he said in one interviewer that he likes to go for the saddest happiest ending possible, and that's one of the magic touches I connect to most in his films. Like Dirk returning to porn, he's back in his element, but what a sad place to be after the successes he experienced, or Freddie flashing to the image of himself laying down with the sand sculpture after everything he was taught throughout The Master, Doc riding down a foggy road with his old lady, after spending the entire movie worried about her safety, even though they're not back together. Every ending, with maybe the exception of Punch-Drunk, is tinged with a bittersweet flavor that fits perfectly with all that preceded. 

wilberfan

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Re: how would you rank his films so far?
« Reply #56 on: November 28, 2017, 09:44:26 PM »
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I remember he said in one interviewer that he likes to go for the saddest happiest ending possible, and that's one of the magic touches I connect to most in his films. Like Dirk returning to porn, he's back in his element, but what a sad place to be after the successes he experienced, or Freddie flashing to the image of himself laying down with the sand sculpture after everything he was taught throughout The Master, Doc riding down a foggy road with his old lady, after spending the entire movie worried about her safety, even though they're not back together. Every ending, with maybe the exception of Punch-Drunk, is tinged with a bittersweet flavor that fits perfectly with all that preceded.

Yes.  I've occasionally heard someone describe the ending of Boogie Nights as "happy", but I could never agree with that.  It was gratifying to see them all back together (and safe? but for how long?) but just look at Maggie's blank expression in her vanity mirror, despite Jack's "I'm staring at the foxiest bitch in the whole world"...or Rollergirl lost in a daydream, looking out of the GED classroom.

"There's shadows in life, baby."

Something Spanish

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Re: how would you rank his films so far?
« Reply #57 on: November 28, 2017, 09:47:34 PM »
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Yes.  I've occasionally heard someone describe the ending of Boogie Nights as "happy", but I could never agree with that.  It was gratifying to see them all back together (and safe? but for how long?) but just look at Maggie's blank expression in her vanity mirror, despite Jack's "I'm staring at the foxiest bitch in the whole world"...or Rollergirl lost in a daydream, looking out of the GED classroom.



Yeah, Jack's final walk through the house with Michael Penn's downer melody says it all, especially when he passes Little Bill's portrait.

Punch Drunk Hate

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Re: how would you rank his films so far?
« Reply #58 on: November 28, 2017, 10:56:23 PM »
+1
Isn't it ironic that what is consider the darker and more depressing film(Magnolia) has a more hopeful ending then what is considered by many to be a joyful 70's romp(Boogie Nights)? Not that those characters have that much better, though you could see them changing for the better, while the Boogie Night characters are stacked in a hole they cannot dig out of. Even the more hopeful conclusions(Reed and Buck) have a bittersweetness, knowing Reed stupidity and Buck stealing the money from the armed robber at the donut shop.

jviness02

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Re: how would you rank his films so far?
« Reply #59 on: November 29, 2017, 01:26:20 PM »
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We can talk about religion and capitalism all day long, but all you really need to know about There Will Be Blood is in the man's own description of the film he gives to Marc Maron: It's a Tom and Jerry episode. Ultimately what makes PTA such a great artist is his interest in character over anything else. Yes, there are themes that the two men represent, but at it's heart it's a cat and mouse game between two cunning individuals and if the film doesn't work on that basic level, it doesn't work on any higher level. PTA understands and appreciates the basics and uses them as roots to deeper and richer aspects of his work, unlike, for example, The Revenant, which never tried to understand the basic aspect of it's revengw story and simply tried to make it richer and deeper without the understanding of the story's basic roots and it lead to a lot of mumbo jumbo. It was a bit of a mess. For lack of a better word, I don't think PTA "over-thinks" himself. It's why Paul Dano described him as making movies straight from his balls, versus straight from intellect.

Oh and my rankings:

1. The Master
2. There Will Be Blood
3. Boogie Nights
4. Punch Drunk Love
5. Magnolia
6. Inherent Vice
7. Sydney

I'd give 1-6 A's and Sydney a solid B+.

 

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