Author Topic: Magnolia and Boogie Nights also coming to Blu-ray before end of '09  (Read 15354 times)

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polkablues

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Re: Magnolia and Boogie Nights also coming to Blu-ray before end of '09
« Reply #90 on: January 09, 2011, 11:57:32 PM »
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The song isn't meant to narratively tie the characters together, but to do so thematically.  Matching each character line by line is a futile effort, one that will surely result in the frustration GT seems to have with the scene.  The idea is that all the characters are at a crossroad at that point in their arc, and the song serves as a bridge to carry them all through to the next phase of the story.  Tonally, it works just the same way as the musical montage that occurs at that point in 90% of American films that have ever been made, but simultaneously manages to further the underlying theme of coincidence and connectedness that carries through the entire film.

Most musical montages in American films don't have sit downs with the characters where they sing every line of a song. The musical montages in most films are just focused on the musical montage element. As I said before, if it was just instrumental music being played, I would be fine with the scene. While I watch the scene and I see specific characters singing specific lines, my brain starts registering the lyrics with the characters. It's a critical component of the brain. I would argue there is some correlation for lyrics to characters. People think I need to see an entire character understanding in the lyrics. I just want some but in the end, I wish it was just music (with no lyrics) because structurally, what is in Magnolia makes my brain play connect to the dot too much with other parts of the story.

Also, I realize my feeling about that point is like Blackman's to how he feels. It can be argued, but the speakers aren't going to be argued out of it. The song takes me out of the story in all those ways.

And Magical Realism is a good thing.

Obviously, the Wise Up scene is different from most end-of-second-act musical montages; the question to pursue from there is WHY is it different, and how does that difference affect its functioning in that role.

The only difference between the way the scene plays out in Magnolia and the way it would have played out in any other film is that the characters seemingly break the fourth wall by singing along to what is clearly a non-diagetic music cue. The film pushes up against the fourth wall earlier (John C Reilly's COPS monologue, "BUT IT DID HAPPEN", "This is the scene in the movie where you help me"), but this is the only time where it really shatters it. In doing so, it elevates the scene beyond the level of simple narrative bridge, and forces us to look at what it means for this to happen. In my opinion, the film does this to reestablish the primary themes (again, coincidence and connectedness) as it takes us into the final act.

Had it been a simple musical montage, it would have created the tone and carried us through the act break just fine, but would have done nothing to elevate the themes of the film. For sure, it runs the risk of making those themes too on-the-nose, too blatantly described, but it's a blatant film, made by a bold filmmaker at the height of his boldness.

In the end, I do find myself agreeing with your assessment that whether or not the scene works for you is reliant on whether or not you're personally moved by it, but I disagree with your implication that the ONLY reason it might work for someone is that they were moved by it. There is justification for the scene, even if it remains unconvincing to you.

At least we can all agree that magical realism is the shit. I always like to be able to end things on a point of agreement.
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Jeremy Blackman

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Re: Magnolia and Boogie Nights also coming to Blu-ray before end of '09
« Reply #91 on: January 10, 2011, 01:34:18 AM »
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^ This.
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Gold Trumpet

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Re: Magnolia and Boogie Nights also coming to Blu-ray before end of '09
« Reply #92 on: January 10, 2011, 03:21:55 AM »
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Obviously, the Wise Up scene is different from most end-of-second-act musical montages; the question to pursue from there is WHY is it different, and how does that difference affect its functioning in that role.

The only difference between the way the scene plays out in Magnolia and the way it would have played out in any other film is that the characters seemingly break the fourth wall by singing along to what is clearly a non-diagetic music cue. The film pushes up against the fourth wall earlier (John C Reilly's COPS monologue, "BUT IT DID HAPPEN", "This is the scene in the movie where you help me"), but this is the only time where it really shatters it. In doing so, it elevates the scene beyond the level of simple narrative bridge, and forces us to look at what it means for this to happen. In my opinion, the film does this to reestablish the primary themes (again, coincidence and connectedness) as it takes us into the final act.

Had it been a simple musical montage, it would have created the tone and carried us through the act break just fine, but would have done nothing to elevate the themes of the film. For sure, it runs the risk of making those themes too on-the-nose, too blatantly described, but it's a blatant film, made by a bold filmmaker at the height of his boldness.

In the end, I do find myself agreeing with your assessment that whether or not the scene works for you is reliant on whether or not you're personally moved by it, but I disagree with your implication that the ONLY reason it might work for someone is that they were moved by it. There is justification for the scene, even if it remains unconvincing to you.

At least we can all agree that magical realism is the shit. I always like to be able to end things on a point of agreement.

First, thanks for this argument. It's the best defense of the scene in relation to the rest of the film. Mind you, I still disagree, but I'm glad you bring up a few early scenes. You are detailing metafiction in the story. If you look at John C. Reilly's Cops speech and when he says "Scene in the movie" thing to the woman, he is showing a break of the mefictional wall. However, what I like about those metafictional breaks is that they are also in line with aspects of reality and do dig at elements of pain in someone in nondescript ways. When Kieslowski made The Double Life of Veronique, he also had metafictional signals everywhere which correlated with magical realism. I think it's good writing when you force yourself to keep a pattern of emotional ramification within the scene.

As you say, the Wise Up scene breaks the fourth wall for the story, but I'm not sure if it really elevates the themes to foreshadow what is coming in the frogs raining scene. The only elevation is the physical act of the scene happening. After the musical scene, the story returns to its realist track. The stories build up in their organic ways, but when it gets to the frog scene, it's about how the characters come together in different ways amidst the chaos of frogs. When the camera moves to the sign on the painting that says, "But it did happen.", I believe the film is referencing the origins of how PTA read about raining frogs in a newspaper article and naturally wondered would could happen during an absurd event. It wants to tell the viewer the frogs are happening. In a way, the frog scene is a continuation of the early realistic metafictional qualities. Frog showers do happen in the world and everything in the scene has a realistic (if unlikely) situation of happening. The only metafictional quality to it is when the camera points to the message in the painting.

See, I believe the frog scene is when the real fourth wall break should happen because it keeps everything in a framework. It runs more in line with other metafictional elements of the story. It keeps the reality stage more in play. By contrast, the Wise Up scene looks isolated and stands out too much in contrast to the other things.  It's metafictional in that it calls attention to its element of fiction by showing the characters breaking full face, but what do they do really do? The connection between all the characters is too obvious and connected at desperate levels. The scene goes nowhere and feels too obvious.

Pubrick

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Re: Magnolia and Boogie Nights also coming to Blu-ray before end of '09
« Reply #93 on: January 10, 2011, 12:09:38 PM »
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If you look at John C. Reilly's Cops speech and when he says "Scene in the movie" thing to the woman, he is showing a break of the mefictional wall.

jim kurring doesn't say the "scene in the movie" line, it's Phil Parma to the MAN on the phone who is helping him get in contact with Earl's son. the fact you also thought the Wise Up scene was supposed to be about a real song playing in real time should have rendered this whole argument moot from the very beginning.

the film is difficult to understand because the facade of indulgence and "on the nose" thematic touches (more like punches) hide the many other elements that escalate throughout the story. if at the point of the Wise Up scene we're still meant to think that the only point of that sequence is to re-inforce the "coincidences and connectedness" that have run through the whole film then i would have personally turned the movie off and taken a shit on the DVD for wasting my goddamn time.

at the cinemas i would have set fire to the theatre and killed everyone in the room (too soon?) because i would not have been able to handle the infuriating idiocy that it would take for a filmmaker to spend 3 hours developing a story and layering MANY ideas only to present a scene where the only point is to repeat what was obvious from the PROLOGUE.

PLEASE

of course it looks like a stupid movie if that's the only stupid point one can grab from that scene.

the scene plays before the escalation to the rain of frogs. this is important because the rain of frogs is the most obvious statement of the movie. it is so obvious and loud it shatters windows and alters destinies. it is so massive it takes us to the skies and brings us to the depths of despair of each individual in all the stories. it breaks teeth, it brings peace, it slows time and disrupts order, it belongs to a different story altogether which we have been kept up to date with throughout the whole film and nevertheless to most viewers seemed to come out of nowhere.

the point of the wise up sequence is in its position in anticpation of what has by now being a very very methodical approach to an explosion of minds. the most important part of the lyric is left to Stanley in the only moment that perfectly matches his situation. they are all preparing for the their encounter with an almighty force, and pardon the religious overtones of the word almighty, but there are few words that can describe the grand scale of a natural phenomenon that don't also conjure up biblical or otherwise hyper-spiritual imagery.

frank, jim, donnie, claudia, everyone is preparing for something in this scene, it's a scene of respite and meditation before an expected encounter. jimmy gator is about to meet the ghosts of his past (or really his denial and completely encompassing regret).. jim and claudia about to go on a date.. donnie about to break into solomon's treasures.. frank meeting his dad.. earl and linda awaiting death. Stanley and Phil are the only real characters in this scene who are not about to confront their past and as such appear to be open to the reality of the present.. they are the only ones who verbally react consciously to the rain of frogs.. they are able to TALK in the midst of the natural disaster because they are the ones whose stories run the most parallel to its forces. Phil brings peace by facilitating earl's final wishes.. his entire plot line is a minor human struggle to formulate fate.

stanley's final lines in the Wise Up scene "so just give up" are an affirmation to the monumental encounter they are all about to endure. his surrender is not in preparation for any physical clash of wills (although in the script and deleted scenes he was meant to be brought down to earth through his worm abduction), instead it appeals to the enlightened peaceful state he is ready to meet. why is he in the library reading about coincidences and rain and all that stuff, practically waiting for the frogs to fall? i may have been wrong in saying he and Phil were the only ones who verbally react consciously to the frogs.. the dogs do too in their premonitions. notice their presence by stanley's side.

PTA lays out the rules for his story in very obvious terms from the very beginning.. yes it deals with coincidences among a bunch of random people but that is hardly the point of the film.  what happens when all these people come together and are ripped apart as parallels and regrets hopes and little futures reach a  crescendo is something that begs for a greater explanation.  the force that brings everyone together throughout the film, their simultaneous existence in one night in the valley is leading to their combined release which is a moment of transformative suffering.  phil and stanley stand outside of this as witnesses, one of pure heart and one of pure mind.

"But it did happen" is a slash of blood across the screen in that it rips through us in the most direct way possible. the lifeline of the film is suspension of disbelief that things could be so coincidental, and that emotions could be so well paralleled within a small group of people in such a small space, that's just basic film language. any point that can be made with that language will be limited by our familiarity with the reach of cinematic narrative. but the point is the moment, THAT MOMENT, in magnolia the moment of interest is simply that in which the characters confront themselves. But it Did Happen is an insane move by PTA to show us that he has nothing up his sleeves.. this is all he has to give.. it is the utmost exhaustion.. his sleeves are so exposed that he's cutting his wrists to show us the insides.

either you're with him or you're not.
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polkablues

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Re: Magnolia and Boogie Nights also coming to Blu-ray before end of '09
« Reply #94 on: January 10, 2011, 12:16:18 PM »
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See, I believe the frog scene is when the real fourth wall break should happen because it keeps everything in a framework. It runs more in line with other metafictional elements of the story. It keeps the reality stage more in play. By contrast, the Wise Up scene looks isolated and stands out too much in contrast to the other things.  It's metafictional in that it calls attention to its element of fiction by showing the characters breaking full face, but what do they do really do? The connection between all the characters is too obvious and connected at desperate levels. The scene goes nowhere and feels too obvious.

You have more than that one framework on which the film is built, though.  One is the metafiction, where Anderson toys with the idea of the fourth wall throughout the film until he finally breaks it outright with the Wise Up sequence.  That scene is essentially the climax of that thread.  The frog scene is the culmination of another literary device used throughout the film, the idea of weather as pathetic fallacy.  It starts out clear as the characters are in their status quo, rains harder and harder as their lives are thrown into greater turmoil, and finally, when everything is so haywire that it would actually make sense for frogs to start falling out of the sky, frogs start falling out of the sky.  I don't connect that scene with the metafictional elements of other parts of the film; it's happening for the sake of the characters, not for the sake of the audience.


if at the point of the Wise Up scene we're still meant to think that the only point of that sequence is to re-inforce the "coincidences and connectedness" that have run through the whole film then i would have personally turned the movie off and taken a shit on the DVD for wasting my goddamn time.

Obviously that's not the only point of the sequence.  I was trying to demonstrate specifically to GT that there were justifications for the scene beyond the ones he had personally disregarded.
Now you're in the *spoiler* place.

Gold Trumpet

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Re: Magnolia and Boogie Nights also coming to Blu-ray before end of '09
« Reply #95 on: January 10, 2011, 04:35:11 PM »
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If you look at John C. Reilly's Cops speech and when he says "Scene in the movie" thing to the woman, he is showing a break of the mefictional wall.

jim kurring doesn't say the "scene in the movie" line, it's Phil Parma to the MAN on the phone who is helping him get in contact with Earl's son. the fact you also thought the Wise Up scene was supposed to be about a real song playing in real time should have rendered this whole argument moot from the very beginning.

You should know about moot arguments. You carried on after you never read Aryan Papers and said the film by Kubrick should have happened after only a completely different story is what would have satisfied Kubrick's fear of it falling into line of what Schindler's List was. Even though Kubrick was casting along the lines of how the novel was presented, you held out with the almost nothing percentage chance it would be different enough. You carried an entire argument into nausea for something you had no rational reason to believe. I got the Wise Up Scene wrong but switched up the presentation of my argument since it didn't change my position and am probably mistaken about the movie in scene person, but I was mainly trying to follow polkablues lead there. I wasn't concerned with who said it since the theoretical implications for the movie is the same. But if you consider it a moot argument, I will ignore the rest of what you said. Seems to be all be a moot point for me too.

 

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