XIXAX Film Forum

is there any PTA film that has disappointed you?

Robyn · 23 · 3637

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Jeremy Blackman

  • Admin
  • *****
    • Posts: 11565
Reply #15 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.
"Hunger is the purest sin"

Fuzzy Dunlop

  • The Vision Quest
  • **
    • Posts: 193
Reply #16 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.


  • The Master of Two Worlds
  • *****
    • Posts: 3384
Reply #17 on: April 01, 2018, 04:45:35 PM
 :bravo: :yabbse-thumbup: :yabbse-thumbup: :yabbse-thumbup:
"Do you laugh at jealousy?"

"No, I don't even laugh at seasickness! I happen to regard jealousy as the seasickness of passion."


  • The Call to Adventure
  • *
    • Posts: 39
Reply #18 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.


  • The Master of Two Worlds
  • *****
    • Posts: 1773
Reply #19 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.


  • The Road of Trials
  • **
    • Posts: 83
Reply #20 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.


  • The Road of Trials
  • **
    • Posts: 87
Reply #21 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??????????


  • The Call to Adventure
  • *
    • Posts: 39
Reply #22 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).