XIXAX Film Forum

The Director's Chair => Paul Thomas Anderson => Topic started by: Robyn on March 30, 2018, 05:42:25 AM

Title: is there any PTA film that has disappointed you?
Post by: Robyn on March 30, 2018, 05:42:25 AM
it's weird to me. he keeps making totally different films, but hasn't disappointed me in any way up to this point. there's always that PTA magic in his films that draw me in, and makes me want to be a part of their worlds. so what i'm going to ask: is there any PTA film that you doesn't like at this point? and if you haven't been disappointed yet, what is it in his films that you keep loving film after film?
Title: Re: is there any PTA film that has disappointed you?
Post by: Tdog on March 30, 2018, 07:56:20 AM
Inherent Vice was the first PTA movie where afterwards I wasnt sure if I liked it or not. Ive since seen it about 8 times but it's not my favourite and is definitely his most difficult. The Master got slippery towards the end but IV was slippery and confusing for the entire running time.
Title: Re: is there any PTA film that has disappointed you?
Post by: Robyn on March 30, 2018, 08:08:55 AM
Inherent Vice was the first PTA movie where afterwards I wasnt sure if I liked it or not. Ive since seen it about 8 times but it's not my favourite and is definitely his most difficult. The Master got slippery towards the end but IV was slippery and confusing for the entire running time.

did you start to to doubt him as a filmmaker? and did phantom thread restore your faith in him?
Title: Re: is there any PTA film that has disappointed you?
Post by: Sleepless on March 30, 2018, 08:26:29 AM
I still struggle with The Master. Its probably the one film of his I have a hard time really getting into and appreciating as much as I do his other films. Which is strange because I know most people on here love it. FWIW it happens to be my wife's favorite film of his (although she's really digging PT too) because acting.

did you start to to doubt him as a filmmaker? and did phantom thread restore your faith in him?

Never. PT I'm actually loving more and more and I'm amazed how much he continually surpasses himself. I always thought CM would always be my favorite of his films, and it is probably my favorite of his films. But damn, PT is making a push for the throne.
Title: Re: is there any PTA film that has disappointed you?
Post by: Robyn on March 30, 2018, 08:42:22 AM
I still struggle with The Master. Its probably the one film of his I have a hard time really getting into and appreciating as much as I do his other films. Which is strange because I know most people on here love it. FWIW it happens to be my wife's favorite film of his (although she's really digging PT too) because acting.

did you start to to doubt him as a filmmaker? and did phantom thread restore your faith in him?

Never. PT I'm actually loving more and more and I'm amazed how much he continually surpasses himself. I always thought CM would always be my favorite of his films, and it is probably my favorite of his films. But damn, PT is making a push for the throne.

yeah, PTA will be considered one of the greatest Hollywood directors of all time, I think. there is no one like him in this generation of filmmaker. I can't think of any other filmmakers that is pushing the boundaries like he does. just imagine what a filmography he will leave behind if he continue to make movies for 20 more years...
Title: Re: is there any PTA film that has disappointed you?
Post by: Reelist on March 30, 2018, 11:35:55 AM
Believe it or not, I was dissapointed in ‘There Will Be Blood’ when I first saw it. First PTA I saw in the theater but I didn’t recognize the PTA I knew from his past works.. It wasn’t until a home viewing that I realized there’s a lot to identify with and laugh about the Daniel Plainview character as long as you pay close attention to him. Initially I just found him to be unlikable and left it at that
Title: Re: is there any PTA film that has disappointed you?
Post by: wilberfan on March 30, 2018, 11:55:36 AM
Well, since you asked...

I've ranted about this here and elsewhere before, but yes, Inherent Vice was a shocking disappointment for me two years ago. It's still inconceivable that I would ever actively dislike a PTA film. 

Essentially I found the characters completely uninvolving and the jokes flat and overplayed.  From what I gather from those who have read the book, it was a faithful and skillful adaptation of the source material, but for me, as a film both story and characters left me cold.  It was hard for me to sit thru the first time, and I've never been able to get thru the film a second time.  (I've tried twice).   I have pledged to go and see it again the next time it's available on the big screen here in L.A., as I think it deserves a second viewing.  (I'm hoping a theater experience with an enthusiastic audience might increase my chances of getting thru it.)

It didn't make me doubt him as a filmmaker (he's way too talented--and proven it over and over again), but I will say that Phantom Thread definitely felt like a return to form to me.  (I'll confess that if Thread had been a dud my faith might have been shaken a bit.)

I've been around long enough to have seen Kubrick's output in 'real time'--that is, as they were produced and released in theaters. I considered him almost godlike during the late 60s and thru the 70s.  I don't hesitate for a moment in calling PTA the most consistently interesting, talented and engaging filmmaker since. 
Title: Re: is there any PTA film that has disappointed you?
Post by: Robyn on March 30, 2018, 12:00:39 PM
Believe it or not, I was dissapointed in ‘There Will Be Blood’ when I first saw it. First PTA I saw in the theater but I didn’t recognize the PTA I knew from his past works.. It wasn’t until a home viewing that I realized there’s a lot to identify with and laugh about the Daniel Plainview character as long as you pay close attention to him. Initially I just found him to be unlikable and left it at that

I watched There Will Be Blood back in 2007 when I wasn't a PTA fan, and didn't like it at all. I was 15 back then, so it's probably not surprising that I didn't get it... a year later I became a PTA fan after falling in love with magnolia and punch-drunk love, gave TWBB another chance and it became my favorite movie of all time.
Title: Re: is there any PTA film that has disappointed you?
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on March 30, 2018, 12:39:03 PM
I wasn't immediately sure what to think about The Master, but after a second theatrical watch I loved it unreservedly.

I was disappointed by Inherent Vice.

If we're talking the opposite: Punch-Drunk Love. My anticipation leading up to it was white hot, and somehow it still exceeded my expectations. I saw it twice on release day. Still my 2nd favorite PTA.
Title: Re: is there any PTA film that has disappointed you?
Post by: WorldForgot on March 30, 2018, 02:53:41 PM

  I have pledged to go and see it again the next time it's available on the big screen here in L.A., as I think it deserves a second viewing.  (I'm hoping a theater experience with an enthusiastic audience might increase my chances of getting thru it.)


I've seen it about 14 times in theaters, the last four of those being in the past two years, and although I've noticed a fan-audience is more open to its comedy, it isn't the sort of PTA film that gets people riotous (the way Boogie, PDL, and PT might). It's too ominous and hypnotizing i think. So while the crowd may enter enthusiastically, idk how much you can expect them to spark the vibe if you dont feel it from that first Vitamin C needle drop.
Title: Re: is there any PTA film that has disappointed you?
Post by: Tdog on March 30, 2018, 03:04:35 PM
Inherent Vice was the first PTA movie where afterwards I wasnt sure if I liked it or not. Ive since seen it about 8 times but it's not my favourite and is definitely his most difficult. The Master got slippery towards the end but IV was slippery and confusing for the entire running time.

did you start to to doubt him as a filmmaker? and did phantom thread restore your faith in him?

Not doubt him per say because 1) It wasn't PTA's material; none of the characters, plot/story was his and 2) I think he was overly precious with said material because of his respect for Pynchon.

My issue with the film is that the entire thing is just long twisting conversations with the camera pushing in, nearly every scene is just Doc sitting and talking. This would be fine a few times but unfortunately it's the majority of the running time. The few times when the movie really takes off is when the music kicks in and helps things truck along better (Can's Vitamin C, the entire Martin Short sequence). I think the movie needed to be shorter and needed more up tempo moments.

I also wonder how Dylan Tichenor would have put it together??????

Title: Re: is there any PTA film that has disappointed you?
Post by: wilberfan on March 30, 2018, 03:41:11 PM
I also wonder how Dylan Tichenor would have put it together??????


Man, I had that exact thought awhile back.  I wonder what he thinks of the film?
Title: Re: is there any PTA film that has disappointed you?
Post by: eward on March 30, 2018, 05:31:00 PM
Not exactly disappointed, but I must say, Inherent Vice was the one I felt decidedly less sure of until at least my second viewing months after the first NYFF screening. Which I guess is to say that I knew that I loved it, but I just wasn't sure how I loved it. Certainly not in the immediate and gushing way I love his other films (even The Master, which took two viewings to really kick in, as well, and now holds fast to the number one spot.) I don't necessarily disagree with the criticisms lobbed at the film, they just don't hinder the experience for me, and now, with Phantom Thread having come and gone, some of Vice's more generally head-scratchy stylistic choices, which seemed to leave many cold upon release, feel much more adventurous and inspired and experimental in retrospect. I think time will be very kind to it.

Another question might be: are there any PTA films that don't hold up quite as well for you now? There Will Be Blood, though I think it's great, doesn't have quite the same impact for me now as it did upon its release. Why is that? Not really sure. Perhaps because its "greatness" feels the most, hmm, obvious/pat in the canon? Feels that way to me, anyhow. Not as much mystery as the others, particularly the ones that followed it. Perhaps it's also because it's just sort of considered his default masterpiece at this point and I maybe resent it a tad for that.
Title: Re: is there any PTA film that has disappointed you?
Post by: wilberfan on March 30, 2018, 05:49:59 PM
Another question might be: are there any PTA films that don't hold up quite as well for you now?

Quite the opposite, actually.

With the release of Thread, I had the opportunity to revisit almost all of his other films on the big screen with an appreciative audience.  As many times as I've seen Boogie Nights, I was a bit concerned that I might be bored, but the screening in January was one of my favorite of all my multiple dozens of viewings.  (I think part of what made it more fun than usual was that I had people on either side of me that had never seen it.  In a way, I got to see it 'fresh' thru their eyes--but with my built-in appreciation of the film.)  Same with TWBB, Hard Eight, Magnolia...I was pleasantly surprised at how well they've held up for me over the years and many multiple viewings.  It's made me eager to see again the 2 films that weren't shown:  The Master, and IV.
Title: Re: is there any PTA film that has disappointed you?
Post by: csage97 on March 31, 2018, 01:21:35 PM
I still struggle with The Master. Its probably the one film of his I have a hard time really getting into and appreciating as much as I do his other films. Which is strange because I know most people on here love it. FWIW it happens to be my wife's favorite film of his (although she's really digging PT too) because acting.

Me too. The acting is top-notch (Joaquin Phoenix's performance might be my favourite of all time), but the story seems stretched too thin for its runtime. The concept is a really great idea, but the film feels too open-ended, vague, directionless, other than exploring this relationship between these three characters. It doesn't feel that the film is saying much in the end (which can be fine, but here it's stretched too thin). Great performances though and wonderful cinematography.

My issue with the film is that the entire thing is just long twisting conversations with the camera pushing in, nearly every scene is just Doc sitting and talking. This would be fine a few times but unfortunately it's the majority of the running time. The few times when the movie really takes off is when the music kicks in and helps things truck along better (Can's Vitamin C, the entire Martin Short sequence). I think the movie needed to be shorter and needed more up tempo moments.

I also wonder how Dylan Tichenor would have put it together??????

I think you hit the nail on the head for me here. I've posted before about how Inherent Vice doesn't feel "open" and "sprawling" enough like the book ... and it really all comes down to the long conversations. I expected more camera movement. There were visual opportunities to follow Doc down hallways, along the LA freeways (the freeway references are copious in the book), down the beach, around the Gordita beach neighbourhoods ,etc., and PTA just didn't capture this IMO. It's something in the book that just isn't in the film, so in this sense, I never walk away from the film getting what I get from the book. I still really like the film, but thought he should've done it differently. I know everyone says it's a faithful adaptation, and it does stay true to the plot of the source material (albeit it puts more emphasis on Doc and Shasta's relationship), but I ultimately don't think it totally captures the sprawling, twisting, loose feel of a Pynchon novel that I love so much, because much of what we see on screen is so static (i.e., people sitting and talking, sometimes with very slow push-ins which aren't really enough). Honestly, if he had done things visually and movement-wise like Boogie Nights or Magnolia, it would've been amazing. Ironically, the director best fit to bring that visual splendor to the film moved away from it and gave us something very different.

PTA says that he finds actors to be the most interesting thing about a film, and he loves just filming good acting (and that he also remembers the mood of a film but not the plot). Over the last year or so, I've come to open up more to appreciating this perspective and how this plays out in films. But I kind wish he'd focus just a little more on plot and story lately. Just personal taste, I guess.
Title: Re: is there any PTA film that has disappointed you?
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on March 31, 2018, 03:28:35 PM
I still struggle with The Master. Its probably the one film of his I have a hard time really getting into and appreciating as much as I do his other films. Which is strange because I know most people on here love it. FWIW it happens to be my wife's favorite film of his (although she's really digging PT too) because acting.

Me too. The acting is top-notch (Joaquin Phoenix's performance might be my favourite of all time), but the story seems stretched too thin for its runtime. The concept is a really great idea, but the film feels too open-ended, vague, directionless, other than exploring this relationship between these three characters. It doesn't feel that the film is saying much in the end (which can be fine, but here it's stretched too thin). Great performances though and wonderful cinematography.

The Master does feel kind of mystical and directionless and like it's always reinventing itself, but that so perfectly matches the actual life of L. Ron Hubbard. I definitely appreciated the film more when I knew more about Scientology. And when I started viewing it as a love story between Freddie and Lancaster Dodd.
Title: Re: is there any PTA film that has disappointed you?
Post by: Fuzzy Dunlop on April 01, 2018, 01:41:22 PM
Punch-Drunk Love, even though I loved it and saw it in theaters 8 times. Magnolia broke my world open when I was 13 and I spent the next 3 years watching and rewatching his first 3 films and becoming an obsessive. There was just no way PDL could ever live up to the insane expectations I had for it. I've settled into a cozy relationship with it now.

Inherent Vice was the first one I walked out of truly unsure if I liked it or not. I got way more into it after reading the book and rewatching a few times, and I have a feeling I'll end up warming to it more and more in years to come. It, like PDL, is a great movie to watch hungover on a Sunday.

I think a big part of the reason those films felt disappointing to me on first look is because the ones that precede them are his very best work, and so they come off more like palate-cleansing experiments.

THEORY: PTA has three-film cycles.

1. How Bout Something New (Sydney, PDL, IV)
2. Here's a Fucking Classic For Ya (Boogie, CMBB, Phantom Thread)
3. Soul-Cleansing Earth-Shattering Masterpiece (Magnolia, The Master, Whatever's Next)

...i realize that if I'm wrong about this I'm setting myself up for disappointment if #9 turns out to be a minor work, but fuck it, here's hoping for another masterpiece.
Title: Re: is there any PTA film that has disappointed you?
Post by: eward on April 01, 2018, 04:45:35 PM
 :bravo: :yabbse-thumbup: :yabbse-thumbup: :yabbse-thumbup:
Title: Re: is there any PTA film that has disappointed you?
Post by: jviness02 on April 02, 2018, 11:00:32 AM
PTA is easily my favorite filmmaker and I wouldn't use the word disappointed, but the last three films I've left the theater in a state of "what did I watch?" and I mean that in a good way, similar to Marc Maron's comments to PTA himself about having to buy another ticket to figure it out. For whatever reason, his last three films have needed two or three viewings for me to begin to grasp them. The Master is now my favorite PTA film and probably in my top five films of all time. I adore both Inherent Vice and Phantom Thread as well. For whatever reason, I could digest his first five films quicker and easier.
Title: Re: is there any PTA film that has disappointed you?
Post by: Alexandro on April 02, 2018, 12:46:48 PM
No way.
This is a guy who made Boogie Nights when he was 26.
After a director makes something like There Will Be Blood, a film of such undeniable greatness, what can he do next?: Well, risk it. And then risk it even more. I would only be disapointed if he started to play it safe.
Title: Re: is there any PTA film that has disappointed you?
Post by: Lewton on April 06, 2018, 12:18:04 PM
His best movie is either The Master or Punch-Drunk Love.

I've stated this before, but I think Punch-Drunk Love and onward represents the best and most inventive part of his career. I'm a fan of the Hard Eight to Magnolia era, so nothing he's done has disappointed me, but something clearly changed with Punch-Drunk Love. His films got much better after becoming more gnomic. The deeply sympathetic qualities have been there since the beginning, though, and are present even in an arguably icy film like TWBB. I mean, another filmmaker -- Kubrick, for example -- would have never included those flashbacks of H.W. near the end, and that's one of the ways in which PTA is meaningfully idiosyncratic.
Title: Re: is there any PTA film that has disappointed you?
Post by: Tdog on April 07, 2018, 07:15:05 AM
I also wonder how Dylan Tichenor would have put it together??????


Man, I had that exact thought awhile back.  I wonder what he thinks of the film?
I don't know if it's the material or the way it's shot or the editing or what exactly, but the Dylan Tichenor movies have alway's been the easier to swallow ones.

So who knows how PTA chooses an editor? Is it based on availability or is it due to the style of material (I know Tichenor wasn't available for The Master, although The Master might be favourite PTA movie).

Having said this though Punch Drunk Love has tons of movement in it and some amazing score/picture synchronicity so it's not as if Leslie Jones couldn't have made Inherent Vice sing more with different material to work from.

There's a really good recent interview with Dylan Tichenor where he talks about working with PTA, specifically for Phantom Thread. He mentions how he'll get PTA to shoot certain things he needs to help stitch sequences together better.
Who knows maybe he would have requested that PTA get more driving sequences and landscape shots to help stitch together the movie and make more scope? Maybe he would have looked at the daily's and said "ya know if you just shoot every conversation the same way it's gonna get stale really quickly". I get the impression that Leslie Jones likes to lean into the weird and harder to decipher more so. Maybe that's exactly what PTA was after??????????
Title: Re: is there any PTA film that has disappointed you? An
Post by: jviness02 on April 08, 2018, 12:01:06 PM
PTA mentioned it didn't really click to him that Inherent Vice would be mostly just people sitting around talking until he was prepping it and he mentioned the story didn't have many moments for "cinematic" techniques, so I think he was just trying to avoid making a film that was filled with busy coverage. He mentioned in press for Phantom Thread he thinks films cut too much nowadays and the performances often suffer. I think he was avoiding what Hitchcock called "pictures of talking heads". On top of that, he often talks about trying to get everything in one shot, if possible, and how he admires the economic approach to the old films of the '30s and '40s. Being a P.I. film, I think he realized Doc's reactions during half the conversations weren't important to the audience, so the the blocking in these shots favor the other character, almost as if they are giving the information to the audience directly, not to the detective. This is similar to how little you see Thompson's face in Citizen Kane. The people he's interviewing about Kane seem to talk to the camera. In fact, many of Thompson's scenes open with a two shot pushing in on the subject, while Thompson isn't framed where we can see him that well, not too different from the shots in Inherent Vice.

 Personally, I quite liked this approach and two of my favorite moments in Phantom Thread are blocked and shot similar(Woodcock telling Alma the story of how he made his mother's wedding dress and the proposal scene).