XIXAX Film Forum

The Director's Chair => Paul Thomas Anderson => Topic started by: Banky on December 01, 2003, 07:43:58 PM

Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: Banky on December 01, 2003, 07:43:58 PM
I was kinda dissapointed with this one.  It was ok but i thought it needed improving on the pacing.  When i saw Sydney speaking i kept thinking of that Seinfeld episode with the Bookman.  I guess it was good for a first movie but it really pares in comparison to the rest of PTA's work.
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: classical gas on December 01, 2003, 07:46:25 PM
I was a little dissapointed too (on first viewing) having seen it after "Magnolia" and "Boogie Nights", but in no way is it bad.  I think he just wanted to start his career off simple.  But the dialogue is wonderful.
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: meatball on December 01, 2003, 08:04:00 PM
Yea.. I was disappointed at first.. maybe even said to myself "it's over already?" -- but I realize with each viewing, I seem to like it more.
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: Kal on December 01, 2003, 08:08:52 PM
I was also dissapointed by the movie, but I was happy to see how much PTA learned and evolved after doing that movie until now... it shows how much potential he still has and how great he can be in the future!

Everytime I watch a PTA film with Philip Baker Hall I also remember Mr. Bookman and laugh... that episode of Seinfeld is incredible!
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: Banky on December 01, 2003, 08:32:22 PM
was there any significance in the bloody sleve thing at the end?
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on December 01, 2003, 09:17:56 PM
Quote from: Banky
was there any significance in the bloody sleve thing at the end?


There was blood on his sleeve.
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: cine on December 01, 2003, 09:31:11 PM
Wow.. so much disappointment...... I'm disappointed.  :(
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: ono on December 01, 2003, 09:47:33 PM
I don't know.  I'm disappointed in the disappointment seen here.  I mean, I, too, was disappointed in the film the first time I saw it, but I still liked it a lot.  PTA's films, though, are films that creep up on you and latch on to you and grow on you.  This has always happened to me with all of his films.  I love them more and more with each viewing.  And this is especially true with Hard Eight.  Everything about it is just so perfect to me.
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: aclockworkjj on December 01, 2003, 09:51:32 PM
i liked it, and still probably watch it a few times a month.  I saw this right after i saw boogie nights in the theater.  as soon as i walk out of there...i was like, "wooo, who's this paul guy?"....i rented the video of this a few days later.  I loved it, and it's simple sorta nature.  All my friends though....hated it.  Realize this was all in like ...97'?  so gwyneth and samual were just still becoming the mega stars...

I think if i just saw this today.... i would still like it, but i probably woulda been disappoint just excepting it to be so good with the cast it had.  

seriously....it's a cheesy kinda trick...but tell me that you weren't just beggin' to see what Sydney walked into during the hotel scene???
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: kotte on December 02, 2003, 04:19:13 AM
I didn't really know anything about the film when I sat down to watch it. It took a couple of minutes to get into the slow pacing but when I did...man, I was blown away.

It dows grow on you with each viewing...and he wrote this in his early 20s...that's amazing. I don't think PTA's a genius the worlds never seen before. I think it's the actors. Great actors make good scripts great. That's what happened.

The hotel room thing when PBH walks in, I think PTA builds up the tension too much. You feel a little bit unsatisfied when you get the pay off. I thought it was going to be something worse.

EDIT: And the two commentaries on the DVD are the best to fall a sleep to. They're interesting and his voice are very "good night story"-ish.
I also like when filmmakers asume you're an aspiring filmmaker listening to it. "I fyou don't know what you're writing, just put two people in a coffee shop...". I love that. IT's more personal that way. Silly but true.
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: whisperer on December 02, 2003, 05:10:40 AM
I was a bit disappointed, but I realized all my disappointment came from the expectations I had after having watched his other films. if you consider it in itself, without comparing with the other ones, it's a very good movie. it shows a perfect knowledge of the traditional structure that pta is trying to challenge in his following films: if you want to criticise something, you have to do it from the inside...
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: ElPandaRoyal on December 02, 2003, 05:47:17 AM
Quote from: aclockworkjj
seriously....it's a cheesy kinda trick...but tell me that you weren't just beggin' to see what Sydney walked into during the hotel scene???


I was, like, "show was what's going on, man! It's easy, just point the camera to whatever is happening and that's it, you fucking cocksmoker!". Ahhhh...... the day I first saw Hard Eight..... it was after I had seen Boogie Nights and Magnolia that I saw it, after spending a couple of weeks trying to desperately know the portuguese title for it. When I did, I watched a lame pan&scan VHS copy and liked it but was somewhat disappointed, because I had seen Boogie Nights and Magnolia not that long ago and was blown away. Then I saw Hard Eight properly, a DVD widescreen copy, and was really able to appreciate the movie better. It's terrific and Philip Baker Hall gives a tremendous performance. Just amazing to me. It's so well written, acted, directed and edited and scored, but it's destined to be one of those movies that will never ever get the recognition they deserve. Great debut.
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: Pubrick on December 02, 2003, 05:58:00 AM
Quote from: Jeremy Blackman
Quote from: Banky
was there any significance in the bloody sleve thing at the end?


There was blood on his sleeve.

and he hid it behind another sleeve.
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: Finn on December 02, 2003, 06:49:00 AM
I can't understand why any human being would ever be disappointed by this film. It's one of the very few perfect movies out there. I guess I'm the only one who thinks it's one of the greatest films ever made. See it again and give it another chance.

And just for the record, the last shot means everything and stands on it's own.
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: Gold Trumpet on December 02, 2003, 09:08:20 AM
Quote from: Sydney
I can't understand why any human being would ever be disappointed by this film. It's one of the very few perfect movies out there.


That's quite the statement. I think you are under more pressure to back that up then those who were dissapointed by the film.

I, too, was dissapointed by the film. So much of the film feels like build up to just giving us a unique flavor to this world then the movie just ends. The ending didn't help me much either because a "revelation" and a "killing" are involved which usually is used in lesser material. The execution of it is fine, but something more thought out could have been used instead because both are plot devices and do intrude to the very organic atmosphere.
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: Banky on December 02, 2003, 09:49:05 AM
i think that the movie had potential to be great up until the two years later thing

i alos agree the suspense for the hotel rrom was over done.  I thought you were gonna see some crazy shit when the camera moved around
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: Finn on December 02, 2003, 02:55:58 PM
I thought the scene in the hotel room was really authentic. I totally believed that these characters would have their breakdowns at this point. They started to fall apart but eventually came back together again.
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: kotte on December 02, 2003, 03:06:50 PM
Quote from: Sydney
I thought the scene in the hotel room was really authentic. I totally believed that these characters would have their breakdowns at this point. They started to fall apart but eventually came back together again.


It's really well acted and well written. In my eyes the problem is how PTA chose to reveal the "suprise". There's a build-up that doesn't really pay off. They way it builds, he basically have us thinking there's a decapitated 10 year old on the bed. Not an unconscious man.

EDIT: In the commentary he tells us about an audience that basically shouted "SHOW US!". They must have been awfully disappointed.

Don't think I don't like the movie. It's amazing!
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: Gamblour. on December 02, 2003, 03:25:04 PM
Quote from: kotte


EDIT: In the commentary he tells us about an audience that basically shouted "SHOW US!". They must have been awfully disappointed.


Show us what?
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: Banky on December 02, 2003, 03:27:12 PM
its definantly not amazing
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: coffeebeetle on December 02, 2003, 03:32:29 PM
Quote
And just for the record, the last shot means everything and stands on it's own.


Well said.  It sums up his character and the life that character has lead up to that point.  That last shot, as cheesy as this may sound, clinched the film for me.  I just thought: "Films don't get much better than this."
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: kotte on December 02, 2003, 03:34:55 PM
Quote from: Gamblor the Manwhore
Quote from: kotte


EDIT: In the commentary he tells us about an audience that basically shouted "SHOW US!". They must have been awfully disappointed.



Show us what?
What PTA's hiding when PBH enters the hotel room. You know when he talks to an upset John C.
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: coffeebeetle on December 02, 2003, 03:38:17 PM
Quote
he basically have us thinking there's a decapitated 10 year old on the bed. Not an unconscious man.


I disagree.  I think the buildup was perfect...how else was John supposed to react when his "father-figure" shows up to see what sort of trouble his surrogate son's gotten into?  And did you honestly think that these characters were capable of something so heineous as decapitating a 10 year old?
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: kotte on December 02, 2003, 03:41:39 PM
Quote from: coffeebeetle
And did you honestly think that these characters were capable of something so heineous as decapitating a 10 year old?


A joke.

I just didn't agree with the build up.
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: coffeebeetle on December 02, 2003, 03:46:29 PM
K  :)
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: meatball on December 02, 2003, 05:44:15 PM
The "TWO YEARS LATER" threw me off right when I was getting into it.

The commentary by Philip Baker Hall is one of my favorite commentaries. He's a very smart guy, and knows how to talk.
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: kotte on December 02, 2003, 05:59:02 PM
I have to admit, I bought it for the commentary. Now I'm glad I did because it's an awesome movie.

The "...years later" thing is seldome done well. It often feels misplaced.

But I guess, sometimes there is nowhere around it.
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: Gamblour. on December 02, 2003, 06:20:49 PM
Quote from: kotte
Quote from: Gamblor the Manwhore
Quote from: kotte


EDIT: In the commentary he tells us about an audience that basically shouted "SHOW US!". They must have been awfully disappointed.



Show us what?
What PTA's hiding when PBH enters the hotel room. You know when he talks to an upset John C.


Ahh ok gotcha. Good shit. I also only bought it for the commentary. I still don't love it. But it's better understanding what he had in mind, and it is his first movie.
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: NEON MERCURY on December 02, 2003, 07:35:57 PM
.well heres my take

when i first saw this  i have previously seen boogie nnights..and that it was amazing..yadda , yadda.....then i went to best buy and started looking at ranndom sh*t to blinnnd buy(my perfrede method).....and came across the hard 8 box w/ reilly, paltrow, hall, annd SLJ and the cover w/ a casinno backdrop....annd pick it up and read the back:>.which innnfformed me that thids was a PTA film(annd immediately i thought how badass BN was)and the from ebert(who i admire) and checked out the features(comm, track(s), delectd scene)...and grabbed it off the shelf......

as for the ffilm itself its "good"....there some really goood stuff in therir as in the match/pannnts scene and the dialougue is razor........bu tin the end its kind of like "oh well"..nnothing "earth shattering" like BOggie was.....it's a nice ffirst efffort film but nothing more.....

i am glad that i saw boogie nnights ffirst because if i saw hard 8 ffirdst i wouldn't have been innterested in "his next feature film"...and subsequentlyl misse out  on boogie.....butr i would like to add that IMO aronofsk'y PI is phucking light years ahead of hard 8....

hard eight  .../.....
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: tpfkabi on December 02, 2003, 10:02:00 PM
i rented an old pan&scan copy......it was definately better the second time

i'm kinda rusty on it, but isn't very, very unlikely that PBH would just happen to find JCR sitting outside a coffeeshop......he's only there because he ran out of money, right? and then i don't think that PBH had seen JCR since he was a kid, so how would he even now it was him?

it's been a couple of months so i probably gots some facts switched around....so corrections are welcome
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: aclockworkjj on December 02, 2003, 10:26:28 PM
I think what is being overlooked here is that this was paul's first attempt.  do you think he had final cut?  it's not fun when suits and money are calling the shots.  fuck, look at the title.  For the say he probably had (most likely had to go through a ton of shit obtain) I think this is a gem like the rest of them.  shit, if i could call this my first "full feature"...i would not hang my head for a sec.

Realize, breaking into hollywood can fuckin' kill ya, quick.  If this is the result...well, i am gonna go whack off to boogie nights right now...then cry during magnolia...then do it all over again during punch drunk love.
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: AntiDumbFrogQuestion on December 02, 2003, 11:22:43 PM
The Blood On the Sleeve: Representitive of how there is a past of violence, shame, bad things etc., and Sydney's ways of life are just to cover them up with his sleeve.
He killed Jimmy so John could be happy and ignorant about the death of his father.
And that seems to drive Syd, getting things right, although he's made so many mistakes, and he's still a killer.

Hard Eight is absolutely fucking awesome. First time I saw it, I could say otherwise, because I was expecting BoogieNolia. or sumpin.
The Third time I saw it I was hit with how perfect it was, especially how PBH flips over to being an angry, fragile character as soon as he has to encounter the situation in the motel room.
And the whole build-up, and people saying it's a let-down: Yes, it is, if you're in a MOVIE sense of things, but PTA, trying to create realistic characters and situations (frogs excluded....almost) thought to himself "Hm, what could I do in that hotel room?"
And if you, my friends, were confronted with a situation where your closest friend has a person knocked out in a hotel room for ransom, wouldn't that be a kick in the gut in reality???
My Conclusion: YES.
Sydney aka Hard Eight = GOOD
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: aclockworkjj on December 02, 2003, 11:24:44 PM
Quote from: AntiDumbFrogQuestion
BoogieNolia

:::adds this word to the official "xixax dictionary":::
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: soixante on December 03, 2003, 04:50:37 AM
I live in Reno and I work in the casino industry, so I can attest to Hard Eight's authenticity.  Usually, directors that film in Reno show the same old locations, and don't use much imagination, but PTA found some off-the-beaten path locales.  Significantly, that coffee shop in the first scene is exactly the type of place where John C. Reilly's character would be.
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: j_scott_stroup04 on December 04, 2003, 03:44:15 PM
Quote
IMO aronofsk'y PI is phucking light years ahead of hard 8....


I disagree here.  I'm not saying that Hard Eight is some totally innovative film, and that Pi is not a talented work, it's just that Hard Eight was filmmed how PTA wanted it to be filmmed.  We all know that he could've done something like Pi if he wanted to, he has the brains and the talent, he just chose not to.  A lot of Pi's "magic" is the editing, the crazy cinematography, and the visuals.  The script is good, but flawed.  The direction is good, but a little unclear at times.  It maybe a more impressive debut than Hard Eight, but I wouldn't go so far as to say it's light years ahead of it.  It's as ahead of it's time as Reservoir Dogs was, except that Dogs' innovation was mainly the script and the way the story was told, as opposed to Pi's visuals and what not.  Anyway, comparing Aronofsky's follow-up, the equally impressive Requiem for a Dream, to PTA's follow-up, within a year of Hard Eight mind you, we see that PTA has left him in the dust, and has continued to since.  What the hell is Aronofsky doing anyway?  Still working on that unnecessary Batman film?  Or writing another shitty aquatic script?  Who knows???  I sure don't....
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: SoNowThen on December 04, 2003, 03:52:30 PM
I agree with most of the above.

Now I'll give my two cents: like most others I saw Boogie before Hard Eight. Would I have checked out more PTA if the first thing I saw was Hard Eight, probably not with that much enthusiasm. Now, PI was the first DA film I saw (and blind bought, I don't even know why, I guess the cover looked cool...). Now PI maybe me crazy to see what this guy could do with more money. I guess that's the difference. I like both these movies about the same, but PI is supposed was more impressive.

However, as jss04 said, Paul left Darren in the dust with his next film.
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: Weak2ndAct on December 04, 2003, 04:34:53 PM
I saw Hard Eight first, rented it b/c Boogie Nights was getting crazy pre-release hype-- so my expectations were zero.  What impressed the hell out of me was how damned mature and patient the film was-- especially from a young punk like Paul.  The film was slow and deliberate, the style restrained (like Sydney).  But it was still wonderfully shot and edited.  The director's hand was there, but not pulling your hair as he whip-pans-pushes-in-etc.  I felt like I was in good hands (unlike 'Monster,' which I saw last night-- no vision whatsoever) and the director's intentions were clear.  Unlike many first films, there was no jumping up and down, announcing 'lool at me, world!'  Just characters sitting around talking.  I never knew I could savor Philip Baker Hall walking around a casino, but Paul was mightily aware.  It's a knockout first film.
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: MacGuffin on December 04, 2003, 04:41:01 PM
Quote from: Weak2ndAct
Unlike many first films, there was no jumping up and down, announcing 'lool at me, world!'


*coughdonniedarkocough*
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: SoNowThen on December 04, 2003, 04:44:33 PM
Nothing wrong with "look at me" shots.

I mean, c'mon, you guys all like Tarantino, and he's a "look at me" filmmaker for every single thing.
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: Gamblour. on December 04, 2003, 05:30:11 PM
Quote from: SoNowThen
Nothing wrong with "look at me" shots.

I mean, c'mon, you guys all like Tarantino, and he's a "look at me" filmmaker for every single thing.


Tarantino does it so well though. Donnie Darko was a little uninspired and trite style-wise. The writing was good, but you can look at Resevoir Dogs and see that Tarantino (though the story is lifted) changed a lot of things about how cinema is done and influenced a lot of people (Kelly for example).
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: Weak2ndAct on December 04, 2003, 06:30:02 PM
Quote from: SoNowThen
Nothing wrong with "look at me" shots.

I mean, c'mon, you guys all like Tarantino, and he's a "look at me" filmmaker for every single thing.

Yes, but there's something to be said for restraint.  To have the big guns in the arsenal, yet hold them back and let the story play out the way it should is very admirable.
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: Banky on December 04, 2003, 06:40:06 PM
weakn2act when are those contracts gonna be signed?
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: NEON MERCURY on December 04, 2003, 11:33:56 PM
Quote from: SoNowThen
However, as jss04 said, Paul left Darren in the dust with his next film.


.....????????how??????????..by copying marty and making "Boogiefellas"

and at least.. RFAD is more INNOVATIVE ANNND CREATIVE.....

there is nnothing like it......

aronofsky's gotten sh*tted on also....the fountain would have eclipsed ANNY annnd EVERYthing PTA would have made.....i ffeel sorry for aronofsky. bad luck....just wait until his nnext feature.....
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: SoNowThen on December 05, 2003, 05:12:20 PM
all of a sudden Scorsese has a copyright on steadicam shots and quick cutting montage sequences??

DA has so far made a great little debut film, then adapted somebody elses great story to make a very good film. Call me back when he writes his own blistering masterpiece and films it, then we'll do PTA vs DA comparisons.
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: tpfkabi on December 06, 2003, 02:38:46 PM
what is the fountain? i remember reading about DA's next project and RK's, but i've already forgotten about both.......i shall venture to imdb
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: NEON MERCURY on December 06, 2003, 10:29:16 PM
Quote from: SoNowThen
all of a sudden Scorsese has a copyright on steadicam shots and quick cutting montage sequences??
.


your being to generic w/that...theres more to it than just steadicam/quick cutting montage or else nobody would see the blatant comparisonns/ripoffffs from marty.....
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: eward on December 07, 2003, 01:45:52 AM
hard eight is great
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: kassius on December 11, 2003, 05:47:48 PM
Quote from: Banky
was there any significance in the bloody sleve thing at the end?


Yes.  

Of course, what we learn is that Sydney had killed John's father in Atlantic City.  He ended up leaving that in his past and until he ran into John outside the diner... the issue never came back into his life.

The blood on his sleeve, of course, was there because he killed the man in the hotel room that owed Clementine money.  By looking down on it, he realized what a terrible thing he had done... but just like John's father... he covered it up, and moved on.

I think it was a nice twist to the end of the film.  The entire point of the movie, was MOVING ON.  A more dubbed-down idea imposed in "Magnolia".

Don't get me wrong... this movie is no Boogie Nights, no Magnolia... and no Punch Drunk Love.  It was a good independent film... and most noteably, a great story backed up by a pretty darn good cast for a low-budget film.

For his first film... you saw a lot of potiental in PTA's future.
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: Spike on December 14, 2003, 01:06:23 PM
I also saw "Sydney" after I saw "Boogie Nights" and "Magnolia", but I wasn't dissapointed. I liked it immediately. And for a directing debut this is amazing.
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: ᾦɐļᵲʊʂ on December 14, 2003, 01:18:09 PM
Quote from: Banky
its definantly not amazing


I wouldn't brush it off that easily.  This movie has several factors that make it so realistic and mind-blowing...so subtley that we may not notice it at first.
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: eward on December 15, 2003, 12:41:02 PM
Quote from: ckad79
The blood on his sleeve, of course, was there because he killed the man in the hotel room that owed Clementine money.  


no he didn't....
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: Finn on December 15, 2003, 02:47:21 PM
The blood on the sleeve was from Jimmy's murder. He never killed that guy in the hotel room. In fact, the original ending was that the guy in the hotel room finds Sydney and kills him.
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: eward on December 15, 2003, 04:38:31 PM
yes
Title: SYDNEY
Post by: mr_boz on December 16, 2003, 04:03:19 PM
wow - you guys are really beating the shit out of poor SYDNEY.  perhaps he deserves it?  i don't think so - this film holds a pretty special place in my heart; it's one the best christmas movies i've ever seen.
- the commentary track with PBH is over the top.  i love to listen to that while i make eggs.
--> ccb
Title: Re: SYDNEY
Post by: eward on December 16, 2003, 04:28:07 PM
Quote from: mr_boz
wow - you guys are really beating the shit out of poor SYDNEY.  perhaps he deserves it?


no shit beating, just pointing out his mistake.  if it was rude i apologize.
Title: Re: SYDNEY
Post by: mr_boz on December 16, 2003, 04:35:06 PM
Quote from: eward
if it was rude i apologize.


no worries // i'm half-joking here.  i admit that the first time i saw SYDNEY i didn't really 'get it', but it has easily become one of my favourite films over the years and i actually watch it more often than MAGNOLIA and BOOGIE NIGHTS combined (that says more about it's length though).
.
sydney was a badasssssss back in the day; he can take the abuse ;)
.
.
-ccb
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: ComixFan on December 17, 2003, 02:18:51 PM
I just saw this for the first time, as well, and I thought it was excellent. Another PTA masterpiece. My rankings:

1) Magnolia
2) Punch-Drunk Love
3) Hard Eight
4) Boogie Nights
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: cowboykurtis on December 17, 2003, 04:11:41 PM
Quote from: ComixFan
I just saw this for the first time, as well, and I thought it was excellent. Another PTA masterpiece. My rankings:

1) Magnolia
2) Punch-Drunk Love
3) Hard Eight
4) Boogie Nights


you ranking really doesnt matter in the scheme of things
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: kassius on December 25, 2003, 06:02:41 PM
That's right. It still doesn't take away from the fact, that he was covering up something that he did... that was wrong and moved on.

Quote from: eward
Quote from: ckad79
The blood on his sleeve, of course, was there because he killed the man in the hotel room that owed Clementine money.  


no he didn't....
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: tpfkabi on October 29, 2004, 10:55:21 PM
http://www.esquire.com/features/articles/2000/scorsese/000301_mfe_scorsese_ptanderson.html

"Due to the way he claims his very promising first picture, Sydney (retitled Hard Eight for release, in 1996), was butchered by its producers (a DVD of his original cut is available for comparison), Anderson has become exceptionally sensitive about maintaining control over his work."

is the DVD a director's cut?
i've been thinking about getting the DVD for Hard Eight lately.
unfortunately it's very hard to find in stores.
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: ono on October 29, 2004, 11:00:40 PM
Just order it online (http://www.digitalsofa.com/partners/alldvdprices/ShowTitle.asp?id=0001076237-0005).  It's only $14.27 at DeepDiscountDVD.com.  A steal, considering I got it for almost $30 almost two years ago from Amazon.com.  It's well worth it, like a film school (at LEAST a couple lessons anyway) for under $30.  That article is old, so I doubt there will ever be another cut of Hard Eight.  He speaks about the troubles on the commentaries, which are excellent.
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: Pubrick on October 29, 2004, 11:03:06 PM
that's not what he asked.
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: ono on October 29, 2004, 11:04:25 PM
Is too.  He asked if it was a director's cut, I answered in saying that you won't see another version and Anderson addressed this in the commentary.
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: MacGuffin on October 29, 2004, 11:06:23 PM
Quote from: bigideas
is the DVD a director's cut?


Yes. On the commentary track, PTA says that Rysher recut their version and tested it with the results worse than his version, so they gave his cut back to him. But they still won on the title battle.
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: tpfkabi on October 29, 2004, 11:12:08 PM
ok. that was fast.
someone help me out with a timeline here:
PTA finishes Sydney
studio recuts and changes title to Hard Eight
what then?
is the studio cut released to theatres?
H8 performs poorly at theatres, so PTA's original cut is released to the home video/dvd market?
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: MacGuffin on October 29, 2004, 11:17:12 PM
Quote from: bigideas
is the studio cut released to theatres?
H8 performs poorly at theatres, so PTA's original cut is released to the home video/dvd market?


PTA's version is ONLY version released; theatrical and home video.
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: ono on October 29, 2004, 11:44:07 PM
There was also something on the commentary about PTA stealing a work print, working off that, and sending it off to Cannes, which contributed to his convincing Rysher his version was better.
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: tpfkabi on October 30, 2004, 09:07:56 AM
thanks guys.
i imagine it was incredibly frustrating to have to deal with all of that on your first film.
i need to get the DVD.
i'm just surprised that its not more widely available. after Boogie Nights, i figured that stores like Best Buy, etc would have stocked it and then kept it in stock after Magnolia received Academy Award nominations.
why is a film like Bottle Rocket easily available and not this one?
not that i necessarily think anyone has the answer, i just would have bought Hard Eight a long time ago if i could have.
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: Just Withnail on October 30, 2004, 09:19:13 AM
Bottle Rocket is a bit more accessible to the ignorant public than Hard Eight.
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: Finn on October 30, 2004, 10:44:34 AM
Of course. Hard Eight wouldn't be "entertaining" for most audiences. It's a slow-paced character study with hardly any action (which it was once advertised for). It's a great movie and a perfect first film for Anderson, but most people have never heard of it and probably never will.
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: MacGuffin on October 30, 2004, 02:39:37 PM
Look in the 'Action' section. That's where I saw it one time, next to "Hard Boiled" and "Hard Target." I immediately thought of the Elvis Mitchell IFC interview where PTA explains that that title sounds too much like those type of films.
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: mogwai on October 30, 2004, 03:36:27 PM
that reminds me, i was looking for the movie at a rental store that i got so desperate that i searched in the adult section.
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: Just Withnail on October 31, 2004, 03:36:52 AM
Quote from: mogwai
that reminds me, i was looking for the movie at a rental store that i got so desperate that i searched in the adult section.


"The Hard Eight"
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: ElPandaRoyal on October 31, 2004, 04:49:51 AM
:lol:
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: Ravi on November 19, 2004, 12:38:56 AM
Hard Eight was the second or third DVD I bought, so I watched it over and over.  It's no Magnolia, of course, but it is an impressive debut film and a pretty good film period.
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: tpfkabi on December 15, 2004, 10:38:24 PM
i finally got it, it was out of stock.
nice to finally see it in widescreen glory.
i've listened to the first 30 minutes of the PTA/PBH commentary.
i didn't know what to think when he started out singing from the get go.
i guess i need to see Melvin and Howard and Bob LeFlambeur.

i think it's hilarious when John asks for a bucket in the casino. i also like the velcro shoe strapping before leaving the room with Sydney.
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: Stefen on December 15, 2004, 11:01:00 PM
Fuck Melvin and Howard. You need to see Melvin goes to dinner. Odenkirk>>>Demme.
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on December 16, 2004, 12:04:39 AM
Melvin and Howard is indeed overrated and much too 80s.
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: Stefen on December 16, 2004, 12:18:53 AM
Quote from: Jeremy Blackman
Melvin and Howard is indeed overrated and much too 80s.


I think that peeps are all about it just cause PTA mentioned it. Is it just me, or does PTA not know shit about movies?
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: ono on December 16, 2004, 12:25:17 AM
Just because of his allegedly-misguided Demme worship?  (I wouldn't know myself -- never seen anything of Demme's, never been inclined to even though PTA loves him.)
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: cowboykurtis on December 16, 2004, 12:34:21 AM
i had to turn melvin and howard off -- i thought it was dreck
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: bonanzataz on December 16, 2004, 01:17:34 AM
Quote from: cowboykurtis
i had to turn melvin and howard off -- i thought it was dreck


really? i rather liked it (and i saw it post-pta-obsession).
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: classical gas on December 16, 2004, 01:48:38 AM
i think i remember pauline kael writing a very positive review of it, so someone who does know about films did like it.  but, i've never seen it, just sayin...
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on December 16, 2004, 08:45:00 AM
Quote from: wantautopia?
I wouldn't know myself -- never seen anything of Demme's, never been inclined to even though PTA loves him.

You've seen Silence of the Lambs, haven't you?
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: ono on December 16, 2004, 10:15:48 AM
Touche'.  Haha.

On topic, I like Hard Eight.  I really, really do.  Not 'cause it's a PTA movie.  But it's one of those you can just throw in and watch over and over again.  I did that with this and Boogie Nights over the last week.  Listened to both the commentaries.  I learn something new every time.
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: cowboykurtis on December 16, 2004, 12:26:45 PM
Quote from: classical gas
i think i remember pauline kael writing a very positive review of it, so someone who does know about films did like it.  but, i've never seen it, just sayin...


for the record: ms. kael is a cunt
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: Finn on December 16, 2004, 12:59:36 PM
a dead cunt at that
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: meatwad on December 16, 2004, 01:02:01 PM
Quote from: cowboykurtis
for the record: ms. kael is a cunt


any reason?
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: RegularKarate on December 16, 2004, 01:52:12 PM
only she knows why she was a cunt
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: cowboykurtis on December 16, 2004, 03:29:49 PM
Quote from: RegularKarate
only she knows why she was a cunt


thank you
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: modage on December 16, 2004, 05:41:39 PM
i thought M&H was okay, but i wouldnt want to watch it again.
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: cine on December 16, 2004, 05:44:07 PM
melvin and howard are cunts.
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: cowboykurtis on December 16, 2004, 06:47:03 PM
you do have a point
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: classical gas on December 17, 2004, 03:38:34 AM
Quote from: cowboykurtis
for the record: ms. kael is a cunt


actually, i agree...
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: Pozer on December 18, 2004, 12:28:40 AM
Quote from: bigideas
i finally got it, it was out of stock.
nice to finally see it in widescreen glory.
i've listened to the first 30 minutes of the PTA/PBH commentary.
i didn't know what to think when he started out singing from the get go.
i guess i need to see Melvin and Howard and Bob LeFlambeur.

i think it's hilarious when John asks for a bucket in the casino. i also like the velcro shoe strapping before leaving the room with Sydney.

some how I've seen this movie twenty years ago.
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: tpfkabi on December 18, 2004, 02:01:10 PM
listened through both of the commentaries.
man, that PBH can talk.
i liked the isolated score. i guess i could actually make myself a CD of it.
on the second commentary there is a different Aimee Mann song playing over the credits.
was there an officially released soundtrack?

all this talk about Cigs & Coffee makes me want to see PTA's shorts.
i guess the whole dvd of shorts and videos is never going to happen.
someone make it happen please!!
i'm sure we'll all glady cover the costs.
http://xixax.com/viewtopic.php?t=1122
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: MacGuffin on December 18, 2004, 02:19:15 PM
Quote from: bigideas
was there an officially released soundtrack?


http://xixax.com/viewtopic.php?t=6845
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: kassius on December 30, 2004, 11:09:38 AM
This was a good movie. Don't get me wrong, it's not "Magnolia" or "Boogie Nights" or even "Punch Drunk Love".

All of his films now seem to have something really really remarkable about them, this didn't.  I mean, "Punch Drunk Love" with Jeremy Blake's artwork or the music that pounded in each sceen, the cinematography; all of it was there.

BUT.. this movie did move slow.  I liked the concept of how Sydney just hide his past and its mistakes.  He carried a huge monkey on his back, and you could see his emotion ride out on the screen and that was John and Clementine. It was just a solid story, nothing more, not flash and dance, just a great story and wonderful acting.

The more I watch this... the more I respect it and cheerish it.
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: fulty on March 20, 2005, 02:27:53 PM
Quote from: ckad79
...the cinematography...

Give it a chance on a 42" HD widescreen plasma with progressive scan DVD player.

This film is beautiful..!!
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: Gabe on March 30, 2005, 08:45:18 PM
Sorry I'm late.

I was just wondering if anyone saw Hard Eight Before all his other films?
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: tpfkabi on March 30, 2005, 09:04:55 PM
no, it was actually the last one i saw. here is the order i saw them:
Magnolia
Boogie Nights
Punch-Drunk Love
Hard Eight
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: eward on March 30, 2005, 10:38:38 PM
ha, me too.
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: modage on March 30, 2005, 10:55:04 PM
mac might've.  i saw it after boogie but before the rest.
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: SiliasRuby on March 31, 2005, 12:18:12 AM
Here's my order:
Magnolia
Hard Eight
Boogie Nights
Punch Drunk Love
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: Gabe on March 31, 2005, 03:48:56 PM
Quote from: themodernage02
mac might've.


I don't even think mac might've
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: modage on March 31, 2005, 09:41:45 PM
yeah you're right.  but he knew about it.  i found the old thread here: http://www.xixax.com/viewtopic.php?t=2480
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: MacGuffin on March 31, 2005, 09:47:13 PM
I saw a movie by the other Paul Anderson before I saw one by the Paul Anderson.
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: tpfkabi on April 01, 2005, 10:41:00 PM
what is this all about?
i guess i'm not 'in tha know.'
........and someone changed my post.

oh, april fools and stuff.
Title: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: analogzombie on September 10, 2005, 07:20:53 PM
After recently watching Bob Le Flambuer my admiration for PTA's unique artistic voice diminishes slightly, while my admiration for PTA's chutzpah increases slightly.
Title: Re: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: phreelee on March 03, 2006, 02:24:13 AM
I was THOROUGHLY impressed and entertained by this movie from the second it started.  I think it's a truly great film.
Title: Re: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: modage on March 03, 2006, 10:55:03 AM
i'll have to check it out.  do you know who made it?
Title: Re: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: MacGuffin on March 03, 2006, 11:55:45 AM
i'll have to check it out.  do you know who made it?

That dude that made Alien vs Predator.
Title: Re: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: phreelee on March 04, 2006, 05:56:45 PM
I was just responding to those who weren't impressed by the film...

I mean, correct me if I'm wrong:  that is how the thread started, right?
Title: Re: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: RegularKarate on March 04, 2006, 07:31:17 PM
Calm down. 
Everyone here likes everything PTA and coming here, to a board that was BORN on PTAnderson.com and saying "yeah, Hard Eight's a good movie" or "I certainly do like the documentary on Magnolia" is funny to us, especially when just about everything to say has been said.  If you had some new insight to it all, then your ressurecting new threads wouldn't matter.

I know you already told us all off and said "Goodbye", but if you're like half the other people who've been here, you're probably actually going to stick around so instead of ressurecting threads, read them, if you have something new to say, say it, otherwise, introduce yourself (you can tell us how much you love this Paul Thomas Anderson character there) and join in the active conversations... it's less frowned upon when you just agree with stuff we're already talking about.
Title: Re: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: Reinhold on December 03, 2007, 08:21:49 PM
the museum of the moving image is screening Sydney in about a month.

 Paul Thomas Anderson January 5 and 6 (http://movingimage.us/site/screenings/mainpage/paul_thomas_anderson.html)

Saturday, January 5
2:00 HARD EIGHT
4:00 Boogie Nights

7:00 DAY NIGHT DAY NIGHT and SQUARE TIMES with J. Hoberman and A. O. Scott

while i'm here...

Sunday, January 6
3:00 PUNCH DRUNK LOVE  and BLOSSOMS & BLOOD
6:00 MAGNOLIA

Title: Re: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: MacGuffin on January 04, 2008, 12:41:30 AM
One Filmmaker’s Vivid Tales of Fathers and Other Strangers
By MATT ZOLLER SEITZ; New York Times

The films of the writer and director Paul Thomas Anderson are obsessed with the destruction and reinvention of families, particularly the anxiety of influence felt so keenly in the relationship between distant, absent or controlling fathers and their grievously wounded sons. This in itself is not remarkable. What is remarkable, or at least striking, is how vividly the theme manifests itself in the stories that Mr. Anderson tells, and the evolving style with which he tells them.

The career of Mr. Anderson, whose first four features will be screened on Saturday and Sunday at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, is on the minds of cinephiles with the arrival of his fifth movie, “There Will Be Blood,” a kinetic period piece about a driven oil prospector, played by Daniel Day-Lewis, who builds a financial empire atop the self-destroyed ruins of his personal life.

Whether “Blood” succeeds in all of its varied, wildly ambitious aims is a matter of debate among critics. But there seems to be a consensus that Mr. Anderson — a largely self-taught filmmaker, criticized in some quarters for a hyperkinetic style thick with instances of cinematic genuflection — has forged a distinct voice after a decade of sensuous wide-screen searching.

That evolution is inscribed in his first four movies: “Hard Eight,” “Boogie Nights,” “Magnolia” and “Punch-Drunk Love.” Viewed consecutively they chart the evolution of a style that blooms like the titular flower in the opening credits of “Magnolia.”

‘Hard Eight’

Mr. Anderson’s debut, “Hard Eight” (1996), was a potboiler in the mode that the film historian David Bordwell calls “indie guignol.” John C. Reilly plays John, a sad sack who is instructed by a dapper old gangster named Sydney (Philip Baker Hall) and falls in love with a waitress and self-abasing prostitute (Gwyneth Paltrow). Mr. Anderson directed “Hard Eight” with a poise that mimics Sydney’s rock-of-ages cool. But in its restless trying on of visual and verbal modes, the movie’s heart seems more aligned with the malleable seeker John.

The poetic, profane dialogue in “Hard Eight” owes much to David Mamet, an admirer of Anderson’s movies whose longtime collaborator, the actor and cardsharp Ricky Jay, acted in Mr. Anderson’s “Boogie Nights” and narrated and acted in “Magnolia.” The visuals borrow from giants of ’70s American filmmaking, notably the unhinged innocent Hal Ashby (“Shampoo”) and John Cassavetes, whose improvisation-heavy approach toward performance is evoked throughout Mr. Anderson’s films, down to the convention of having actors play characters who share their first names.

Looming over Mr. Anderson’s shoulder is Martin Scorsese, whose adrenaline-jacked post-“Raging Bull” movies obviously helped forge Mr. Anderson’s compositions and camera movements and his sense of how to cut action to music.

‘Boogie Nights’

Mr. Anderson’s comedy-drama about the pornographic film industry, “Boogie Nights” (1997), was so brazen in its appropriation of techniques, situations and set pieces from great older films that at times it suggested a 35-millimeter version of one of those Top 40 record collections sold on local TV: Scorsese-style high-speed dolly-zooms that lunge into actors’ faces! The walking-into-the-pool shot from “I Am Cuba”! Quentin Tarantino-style freaky monologues that build toward acts of violence! And much, much more!

Some of these elements were undeniably spectacular, notably the film’s opening tracking shot, which Mr. Anderson modeled on similarly acrobatic long takes in “Touch of Evil” and “Goodfellas.” Others were the auteur equivalent of chewing with one’s mouth open.

But lurking beyond (or beneath) the homage was Mr. Anderson’s own sensibility, marked by a dry, goofy wit (picture Mark Wahlberg and Mr. Reilly in “Boogie Nights” bragging about how much they can bench-press) and a bracingly unironic emotional directness. The cocaine-fueled moment when the young porn star Rollergirl (Heather Graham) tearfully asks her mentor, Amber Waves (Julianne Moore), to be her mommy is trite and on the nose; it’s also exactly the sort of thing Rollergirl would say.

‘Magnolia’

“Magnolia” (1999), an ensemble drama about family, fate and coincidence, is longer, louder and more populous than “Boogie Nights” — no mean feat. Its fusion of mundane domestic tragedy, dark-night-of-the-soul emoting and hypermuscular camerawork suggests Robert Altman’s “Short Cuts” on jet-propelled roller skates. (Mr. Altman embraced Mr. Anderson, even asking him to be his directorial understudy should he expire before completing what would become his final feature, “A Prairie Home Companion.” “There Will Be Blood” is dedicated to Mr. Altman.)

But if the film’s miscalculations were magnified by its grandiosity, its sincerity was too. The wilder conceits in “Magnolia” — a biblical rain of frogs; a musical montage in which principal characters sing verses from Aimee Mann’s “Wise Up” — were more startling for being heartfelt.

So too were the film’s confrontations and reconciliations, the most painful of which forced resentful parents and children to move beyond misery and lineage and into enlightenment. Jimmy Gator (Mr. Hall), a philandering, child-abusing quiz-show host says, “We might be through with the past, but the past ain’t through with us.” But it is. The final meeting of the cancer-ravaged tycoon Earl Partridge (Jason Robards) and his long-estranged son, the chauvinist self-help guru Frank T. J. Mackey (Tom Cruise), is an open sore that miraculously heals itself. And the whole movie is filled with intimidating parents who die off, self-destruct or fade in prominence, leaving the next generation to move ahead.

‘Punch-Drunk Love’

Mr. Anderson himself did move ahead, conspicuously, with the romantic comedy “Punch-Drunk Love” (2002). A truly strange movie told mostly in long, slow, unbroken camera moves, interspersed with abstract color patterns and partly scored with a harmonium, it was also the first of Mr. Anderson’s features that concentrated on one character: an emotionally constipated, lovestruck man-child (Adam Sandler) who had no on-screen father, and who struggled to assert his own identity in the presence of his domineering sisters.

Like the filmmaker’s previous efforts, “Punch-Drunk Love” paid homage to past masters, including Mr. Altman, whom Mr. Anderson honored by scoring a daft travel montage with “He Needs Me,” Olive Oyl’s love song from the 1980 Altman film “Popeye.” But the quotations were submerged so deeply within the film’s visual text that the result seemed not merely unique but beguilingly alien, like an artifact from a lost civilization.

“Punch-Drunk Love” is Mr. Anderson’s most tender and self-revealing work, arguably one of American cinema’s most un-self-conscious love letters to romantic eccentricity since Mr. Ashby’s “Harold and Maude” in 1971. In its meticulously composed wide-screen frames, periodically disrupted by eruptions of fury and heartache, you can see the rock-solid artistic confidence that would lead to “There Will Be Blood,” a grimy capitalist opera that pulverizes sweetness and spews black humor like crude oil.

Like “Punch-Drunk Love,” “There Will Be Blood,” based on a novel by Upton Sinclair, concentrates on a protagonist, who is defined more as a father than a son. And with his most recent film an upstart filmmaker elbows his way into the pantheon. The child is father to the man.

Five films by Paul Thomas Anderson can be seen this weekend at the Museum of the Moving Image, 35th Avenue at 36th Street, Astoria, Queens; (718) 784-0077, movingimage.us. On Saturday “Hard Eight” will be shown at 2 p.m. and “Boogie Nights” at 4 p.m. On Sunday “Punch-Drunk Love” and the 2003 short “Blossoms & Blood” will be shown at 3 p.m. and “Magnolia” at 6 p.m.
Title: Re: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: private witt on January 29, 2009, 02:14:06 AM
was there any significance in the bloody sleve thing at the end?

*Bangs head against wall*
Title: Re: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: Pozer on January 29, 2009, 11:51:47 AM
you wasted your 82nd post. shame on you. it could've been beautiful, man. 

*private witt bangs head against wall*
Title: Re: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: private witt on January 29, 2009, 02:45:53 PM
you wasted your 82nd post. shame on you. it could've been beautiful, man. 

*private witt bangs head against wall*

I read an interview of Paul once where the interviewer made a big point of not understanding why Mr. Anderson go so upset after being asked, "What was the significance of the harmonium in PDL?"

This is why he doesn't do directors commentaries anymore, and I don't blame him.
Title: Re: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: Pozer on January 29, 2009, 07:34:18 PM
that's gotta be you, Pubrick. classic. what a comeback :bravo:
Title: Re: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: Stefen on January 30, 2009, 12:39:41 AM
Everyone is P here. Especially you, Pozer. ESPECIALLY YOU.
Title: Re: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: Stefen on September 19, 2010, 11:27:57 PM
Anyone notice how PTA made pirating cool before the internet was big? When John is explaining to Clementine how they get free PPV movies through the 2 tv's, it made me realize this. I pirate all the time.
Title: Re: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: Tictacbk on September 24, 2010, 04:36:55 PM
I pirate all the time.

your a bad person

You're*
Title: Re: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: john on September 24, 2010, 05:15:56 PM
UR*
Title: Re: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: Stefen on June 16, 2011, 05:44:40 PM
Hard Eight was briefly trending on Twitter just now thanks to the #DescribeYourPenisWithAMovie hashtag.

Replying with "It's called Sydney!" would have been a bad idea.
Title: Re: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: Reelist on July 18, 2013, 11:59:02 AM
I have a question about "Sydney/Hard Eight". I know that it was filmed on 35mm, so the director has a choice of different aspect ratios.

I think that both 1.33 and 2.35 versions on the "Hard Eight" DVD are inadequate. In 2.35, there are close-ups of John C. Reilly that cut off his head. It just doesn't look good.

So, my question is, can we have an alternate 1.85 aspect ratio version of "Sydney" that would open up the black bars, and capture more image on top and bottom, as well as left and right side?

Since "The Master" is filmed in 1.85, I think that "Sydney" could be a wonderful aspect ratio soul mate to "The Master". It's my dream to watch "Sydney" on Bluray in 1.85!


Damnit, I specifically remembered you mentioning this before I watched it last night, but I put on the widescreen version anyway thinking it'd have a better resolution. It is indeed cropped, or blown up, Idk what. A lot more shots are cut off at the top than just one close up. I can't do screencaps either, but just watch the movie. It made me wonder if the reason could possibly be that PTA finalized the movie on a work print? In any case, yeah I would really love to see this movie in 1.85 on HD. The way it looks on the DVD is kind of pitiful, it doesn't do the film justice. There could be a lot of tidying up in the steadicam shots and where it quickly changes focus. One shot in particular where Sydney stands up at a table and his back is against the camera in close up just looks like a ton of fuzz dancing on a grey backdrop when I should be seeing BLACK. The movie deserves to be presented as the sleek piece of work it is, I want Phillip Baker Hall's eyes to pierce my soul.
Title: Re: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: ono on June 14, 2016, 09:50:12 PM
http://www.dazeddigital.com/artsandculture/article/31498/1/your-guide-to-paul-thomas-anderson-s-first-film

Most of this is probably old news for most people around here, but it's still worth a look for old time's sake.
Title: Re: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: wilberfan on March 31, 2020, 12:43:15 AM
The original review of "Sydney" in Variety, Feb 4th, 1996:

Sydney

Four excellent lead performances, vividly evoked ambience and a masterfully sustained mood of quiet desperation mark pic as an impressive piece of work. Despite a couple of plot twists that strain credibility, debut feature by writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson has definite sleeper potential, but will need careful handling.
By Joe Leydon   

With:
    Sydney ...Philip Baker Hall John ... John C. Reilly Clementine ... Gwyneth Paltrow Jimmy ... Samuel L. Jackson

Four excellent lead performances, vividly evoked ambience and a masterfully sustained mood of quiet desperation mark “Sydney” as an impressive piece of work. Despite a couple of plot twists that strain credibility, debut feature by writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson likely will generate favorable critical response. Pic has definite sleeper potential, but will need careful handling.

Drama begins with John (John C. Reilly), tapped out after an unlucky run at the Reno gambling tables, broke and shivering outside a roadside diner. A courtly stranger, Sydney (Philip Baker Hall), happens by, brings the poor wretch to his feet and takes him inside for a cup of coffee.

Sydney slowly gains the younger man’s confidence and offers to take him on as a protege. Despite his initial wariness, John is in no position to refuse the offer. They return to Reno, where Sydney, sounding at once paternal and cryptic, teaches John how to look and behave like a high roller. The lessons have an immediate payoff: John is offered a free hotel room by the casino management.

Two years pass, and John has proven to be an attentive student. The two men have developed a kind of father-son relationship, with the older man occasionally checking his protege’s excesses. Sydney disapproves of John’s friendship with Jimmy (Samuel L. Jackson), a vulgar and boisterous Reno regular. But he is sympathetically supportive of John’s infatuation with Clementine (Gwyneth Paltrow), a cocktail waitress with a serious self-esteem problem. When Sydney learns the woman moonlights as a hooker, he promises her that he won’t tell John.

Unfortunately, just a few hours after she and John are joined in a quickie marriage, Clementine picks up a customer in a casino bar, which leads to complications involving all four main characters.

Anderson makes the most of an obviously limited budget, and does a skillful job of conveying the tawdry, open-all-hours atmosphere of Reno’s casinos and restaurants. In this, he gets great help from the fluid cinematography of Robert Elswit, who manages a few quietly dazzling and dramatically effective tracking shots.

Despite the busy Reno backdrop, however, “Sydney” is basically a chamber drama, an anxiously claustrophobic four-hander that focuses almost exclusively on Hall, Reilly, Paltrow and Jackson. There is a hint of David Mamet in some of the edgy dialogue, especially in the confrontations between Sydney and Jimmy.

Anderson does his film a disservice two-thirds of the way through by introducing an “explanation” for Sydney’s paternal interest in John. Less damaging, but equally contrived, is a final scene that is too self-consciously ironic.

Hall, heretofore best known as the Nixon of Robert Altman’s “Secret Honor,” plays the title role with grave dignity and sad-eyed melancholy. His performance is nothing short of mesmerizing. Better still, Hall projects just enough authority and strength to make Sydney’s behavior in pic’s final third believable.

As John, a dim bulb who nonetheless is a basically decent fellow, Reilly is affecting and sympathetic. Paltrow deftly maneuvers through Clementine’s sudden mood swings, and is heartbreaking as she conveys the woman’s chronic self-destructiveness. Jackson steals every scene that isn’t nailed down with a performance that occasionally recalls the flamboyant menace of his “Pulp Fiction” portrayal.

Given its setting in a gambling mecca, “Sydney” doubtless will face many comparisons to “Leaving Las Vegas.” Taken on its own terms, though, this is an engrossing drama that, despite some narrative flaws, should satisfy venturesome audiences with a taste for indie fare.

https://variety.com/1996/film/reviews/sydney-1200445122/
Title: Re: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: BigSock on March 31, 2020, 02:21:20 AM
I opened this thread expecting and excited over news like a Criterion announcement
Title: Re: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: jenkins on March 31, 2020, 02:30:00 AM
that's weird
Title: Re: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: kingfan011 on March 31, 2020, 06:11:24 PM
Its funny for some reason I forget that Hard Eight got very good reviews at least by the few people who reviewed it. The review for Hard Eight by Siskel and Ebert is interesting. They loved it but weirdly Ebert is the one who concentrates on Anderson. Siskel never mentions his name and concentrates more on Hall. Of course their major disagreement over Boogie Nights is fun to watch.
Title: Re: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: Freddie Dodd on April 01, 2020, 10:15:26 PM
I want to know how Richard Pryor name got thank in the end credits. Are there any sources or interviews which settles this confusion?
Title: Re: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: wilberfan on May 04, 2020, 02:12:19 PM
THE GAMBLERS RUIN
Hard Eight (1996) (https://www.brightwalldarkroom.com/2020/05/04/hard-eight/)
Ethan Warren

“The law of gambler’s ruin states there is a chance of going broke merely by normal runs of bad luck, regardless of the longer-term expectations.”
– Project Economics and Decision Analysis, M.A. Mian

“Probably the easiest way to understand the gambler’s ruin problem is to view it in terms of…the probability of ruin that the player is financially and psychologically willing to live with.”
– The New Gambler’s Bible, Arthur S. Reber

John (John C. Reilly) never uses matches. “It’s just a rule with me,” he tells Sydney (Philip Baker Hall), the mysterious pragmatist currently driving the destitute John to Reno after meeting him outside a diner and promising—for reasons kept deliberately unclear—to help reverse the younger man’s fortunes. Not wanting to risk taking his hands off the wheel, Sydney has asked John to light his cigarette from a matchbook, but John simply can’t. “I had a really bad experience once and I promised I’d never use them again.”

In a brief cutaway serving as the first suggestion that Hard Eight,1 Paul Thomas Anderson’s debut feature, may have greater stylistic ambitions than to simply join the wave of chatty, violent American indies that littered the mid-1990s, we see John waiting in line for a movie when his pocket abruptly bursts into flames. “Something to do with spontaneous friction, I guess,” John says now of his matchbook’s combustion, still marveling that this casual moment could have erupted into shocking peril. Anyone carrying a matchbook must be aware that they harbor something dangerous, but the object has been designed to harness that danger, offering just enough flame to be productive, but—at least in theory—not enough to be destructive. You’re allowed to believe you’ve mastered this object, at least until some coincidental friction triggers a disaster.

The inflammatory item in Sydney’s own pocket, as we’ll learn much later—and as Sydney will go to murderous lengths to ensure John never finds out—is not an object but a secret: he killed John’s father. How long Sydney has been suppressing this fact is unclear, though it’s been long enough for him to walk out of his old life as an Atlantic City hardass and into a new life as a Reno card shark, and long enough for his old life to catch back up. After two years of mentoring John, assuaging his own guilt by offering the younger man a surrogate father—and himself a second crack at fatherhood, replacing his own estranged son with another adoring protégé he might mold in his image as a quietly confident operator—Sydney’s tenuous symbiosis is rocked by the dual intrusions of security consultant Jimmy (Samuel L. Jackson), who tempts John with an easier, sleazier way of moving through this world of smoke-fogged neon, and cocktail waitress Clementine (Gwyneth Paltrow), who tempts him with a melancholy affection that matches John’s own childlike sheepishness. As Sydney tries with mounting desperation to maintain control via all his tried and true patterns of pragmatism and poise, the jostling of these unstable elements erupts into violence and extortion, exposing the folly of Sydney’s belief that he might covertly absolve himself of sin.

“Y’know what motherfucker?” Anderson rhetorically tells his character on the DVD commentary track, “You’re gonna have to pay for something down the line, whether it’s in your own head before you go to sleep at night or whether it’s to somebody else.”

This was the thought experiment that motivated Anderson’s first feature script: what might it look like if the hardass at the center of a classic noir didn’t end up pumped full of lead? What if James Cagney not only survived White Heat but lived long enough to look back on his crimes and their victims and wonder, “How do I repent?” And to embody that haunted killer, Anderson recruited the man he refers to on the commentary track as “the great American actor.”2

Anderson met Philip Baker Hall on the set of a TV movie for which the someday auteur was serving as a production assistant. After expressing his admiration for Hall’s work in Secret Honor—the 1984 Robert Altman experiment that saw Hall storm and rage alone on screen for 90 unbroken minutes as Richard Nixon, another man spiritually ruined by his desperate efforts to suppress his secrets—Anderson handed him the script for Cigarettes & Coffee, the short film in which Hall would soon star as a distinctly Sydney-esque operator fruitlessly attempting to dissuade an angry young man from committing an act of violence he’ll regret forever. “I was wondering,” Hall would later recall of reading the script written by this unassuming coffee runner, “who was the first actor in the 17th century to see a Shakespeare script, and did he know what he was reading? I certainly knew what I had in my hand.”

Anderson’s script—which he developed with the help of Reilly and Hall at the Sundance Directors Lab—was inspired by his own days lingering in the bland Nevada environs that Sydney silently stalks like a Wenders angel. These transactional spaces—be they massive casino floors or intimate hotel rooms—are designed to comfort and sedate, to help life’s details slip out of focus. Forget where you came from, they whisper. Forget what you’re running from and what you’re headed towards. All that matters is that you never get comfortable enough to be happy on anything beyond a surface level. You need to stay just unstable enough that you’ll keep throwing money at dealers and cashiers in exchange for another moment’s reprieve, focusing so hard on the symptom that you can forget the cause.

Sydney is the sort of man who believes he can master such banal yet taxing environments, the sort of man who treats games of chance as a matter of skill. Unlike a card counter, Sydney doesn’t play for the big score; as he teaches John, the better bet is to play just enough to put food in your stomach and a roof over your head. After declaring John’s ambitions—win enough money to pay for his mother’s burial—unfeasible, Sydney gives him a crash course in the “comp hustle:” endlessly turn cash into tokens and back again until the casino concludes that you must be a high roller and rewards you with a free meal and, if you’re lucky, a free bed to go with it. If you can fool people into offering things you haven’t earned, Sydney knows, you might secure at least enough time to catch your breath.

But the house, as the saying goes, always wins in the end. Casinos trade in loss, and believing you can outsmart those inevitable consequences is a delusion that can easily curdle into self-destruction. It’s this foolhardy urge that Sydney barrels into at a craps table—that game of pure chance, the one that no amount of skill can influence save for the skill of good judgment. But Sydney allows his judgment to be rocked by the vulgar young man at the far end of the table (Philip Seymour Hoffman), the boor who offers a few smirking obscenities and sends Sydney spiraling into the lap of a spiteful, reckless3 bet: $2,000 that both thrown dice will roll four—a hard eight. All it takes is that slight push and Sydney pushes back, risking and losing his hard-won capital in the process.

As he preens and brays at Sydney, there’s one term the young craps player keeps returning to: old-timer. It’s the same way Jimmy talks to him, sneering as he professes respectability for the classic generation. Their contempt crawls under the skin of this so-called old-fashioned man, and their swaggering solipsism—their flagrance, as John apologetically describes Jimmy—comes to serve as the inverted mirror revealing the rot at the core of Sydney’s attempted improvement.

An old-fashioned man, at least as exemplified by Sydney, believes in conservative grooming and attire, in treating women cordially, in taking care of your responsibilities—whether that means protecting those you’ve sworn to or cleaning up the messes you’ve left behind. Never mind that Sydney alienated his own family and attempted recompense through a campaign of insidious deceit. Old-fashioned men like Sydney believe it’s their right to set the parameters of social conduct independent of anyone who looks different than they do; father, to invoke the show that ruled the airwaves in Sydney’s heyday, knows best. And what John’s surrogate father knows is that to succeed in life, you should move with discretion, with your hand close to your vest, aware always of when to mind your own business. This is the model he provides for John, ensuring his own spiritual survival by passing his code to a new generation while simultaneously ensuring his physical survival by instilling respect in this man who might spell Sydney’s doom if he puts credulity aside long enough to question why his mentor chose him in the first place.

The plot of Hard Eight is predicated on Sydney’s desire to change his ways, to atone for the hurt he’s caused, but that kind of transformation isn’t as simple as turning away from painful memories. If Sydney truly intended to create meaningful change, he would have taken more significant measures than just exchanging one grimy gambling burg for another. Change requires a fundamental reassessment of one’s viewpoints and limitations, to open oneself up to what the world might have to teach rather than pushing back against the oncoming tides of time. Sydney is hobbled by his belief that he can treat the symptom of his regret without addressing the cause: that both his best and worst qualities originate from the same path he’s walked for decades, and that trying to keep one foot in the familiar can’t help but ensure the other foot is dragged back with time. If Sydney’s urge to repentance was true, he would find some way to explain himself to John and create catharsis for both, taking the matchbook out of his pocket once and for all. Instead, he lives by shortcuts and half-measures, impressing this lifestyle on the increasingly impulsive John just as much as his habits of grooming and conduct. Sydney may profess to love him, but he’s removed John’s agency to choose his own way to heal.

Among the many open questions left by Anderson, then, is how trapped any of these characters might be in their cycles of hurt. Does the universe of Hard Eight even allow for catharsis? And the best way to tease out the answer to at least this question may be in the way Anderson discusses his influences.

The film that tends to be cited most often in discussions of Hard Eight is House of Games, the 1987 con-man classic written and directed by David Mamet. There’s an undeniable Mamet patina to Anderson’s film4 with its smoke-fogged games of chance, its characters with shark smiles that distract from the hand behind their back, and the florid menace of the hyper-precise dialogue propelling the plot. But Mamet’s stories of confidence are often so brutal they tilt towards nihilism, and for all his virtuosic wordsmithing, Anderson has rarely made a film since that could be called spiritually indebted to Mamet. Thus, to unite Hard Eight with the remainder of the Anderson canon and suss out the power of its moral gravity, it’s more productive to consider the other artist whose influence he cites most consistently: Jonathan Demme.

“He’s my hero,” Anderson said in a 2018 conversation with Richard Linklater at the Austin Film Society. Watching Demme’s work in his youth, Anderson recalls, he found himself thinking, “If I could make my films, I want them to look like that, sound like that, everything.” Hard Eight wears its Demme influence on its sleeve; it’s evident in the the adoption of what’s by now known as the “Demme close-up”5 and it’s evident in the lengthy opening conversation between Sydney and John as the older man drives the younger one to Reno, an homage to the first scenes of Melvin and Howard.6 But in later years, as his idol became a peer and friend, Anderson would focus less on Demme’s stylistic quirks than on his underlying humanism. “Even Jonathan’s darkest movies are hopeful,” Anderson told David Fear in 2017 following Demme’s death. “I take inspiration from that.”

This sense of hope is present across Anderson’s filmography, even as the individual works often deal in the bleakest of themes while employing the most alienating of techniques. With the exception of the total annihilation that closes There Will Be Blood, Anderson’s endings are broadly happy, offering if not contentment then at least catharsis for their protagonists after struggles both external and internal. The world according to Paul Thomas Anderson is one guided by a moral compass in which punishment tends to come in proportion to a character’s crimes and forgiveness in proportion to their capacity for grace. Even in a film as overwhelmed with cruelty and cowardice as Magnolia, all but one character ends the long apocalyptic night on a path towards healing.

The sole character treated by Magnolia as unworthy of redemption is the one played by Philip Baker Hall. Jimmy Gator,7 unwilling to deal directly with the unimaginable trauma for which he’s held responsible, puts a pistol to his head. But rather than allowing him to pull the trigger, Anderson sends an airborne frog to collide with the gun and do it for him. A character as ethically bankrupt as Jimmy, Anderson seems to say, does not deserve even the shred of dignity represented by such a desperate decision. It’s this most outrageous of dei ex machina that cements the storytelling scales of justice in the Anderson oeuvre, and Jimmy’s bitter fate is one that Sydney escapes more narrowly than he could ever guess.

Sydney does not survive Anderson’s original screenplay. In this widely circulated shooting draft, Sydney’s past catches up in the form of the man beaten and held captive by John and Clementine before Sydney helps them flee to Niagara Falls. The man tracks Sydney down at the diner, shooting him three times before taking off after John and Clementine on a tip apparently given by Jimmy before his own demise. “Sydney holds his breath for another long moment,” the script’s directions instruct before dictating the closing image: “Sydney’s dead body in the middle of the parking lot.”

This intended ending may be an indirect case of retribution—Sydney’s primary crime against this man is failing to help him while aiding his assailants—but in using his relationship with John as a shortcut to redemption, he’s created an imitation hardass whose own victims can be traced directly to Sydney’s original sin. The justice Anderson intended to be enacted by John’s victim is poetic, but it’s cruel as well, moralism rooted in a didactic perspective on crime and punishment.

The completed film ends with Sydney’s survival, granting him the possibility of true redemption should he choose to pursue it. But the closing image—a spot of blood on his shirt cuff, which he attempts to hide with his jacket—suggests that violence and suppression have by now become a self-perpetuating cycle he’s helpless to break. This punishment may be internal, but it’s no less damning, leaving Sydney with a corrosive reminder that his efforts at repentance bring only more regret. And so with Sydney an unlikely candidate for hope, whatever Demme-esque light might be detectable in Hard Eight is best sought in the other surviving members of the film’s core quartet.

The vengeful pursuit of their victim is not the only bitterness Anderson intended for the close of John and Clementine’s story. The original script includes a final glimpse at the pair in which John assaults a bellhop for winking at Clementine, suggesting his road to ruin may be as inescapable as his mentor’s—rather than redeeming himself by assisting John, Sydney may have delivered a poison pill that’s by now taken hold. In the final product, Anderson leaves the pair on a note of aspiration: as they flee for the far side of the country, Clementine gazes out the window and tells John, “I won’t fuck up again, John. I really won’t. I promise you.” It’s impossible to know whether Clementine’s promise will be borne out, and it’s no easier to detect whether she quite believes it herself. What is detectable, with such power it radiates off the screen, is that she wants to believe it. For a story as doom-laden as Hard Eight, the mere desire to do good—and do it the right way—must be hope enough.

While John makes no matching promise, the opportunity to escape the grasp of Jimmy, Sydney, and their warring modes of masculinity—brazen and craven; discrete and deceitful—provides his own avenue for hope: a chance to carve out his own mode, free of poisonous examples, as he sets out on his new life as a married man. Addled and panicked as the decisions may have been that led him to this place of serenity, it seems the most at peace we’ve seen John since we met him. As Aimee Mann sings over the closing credits, now is the time to “look at your behavior” and “the plans you’re making”—to consider the past while pondering the future and measuring the distance between what’s been and what might be. Sydney may have found himself at the start of another hopeless cycle, but John has found himself on an uncharted trajectory. The happiest ending to his story may be this non-ending: the gift of conclusions not yet foregone.

“In all of Anderson’s movies, people try to reinvent themselves in new identities,” John H. Richardson wrote in Esquire in 2008.8 What sets this director apart from others who pursue the theme, Richardson concludes, is the “tenderness to the way he treats his scammers and schemers and lonely midnight dreamers.” Pointedly composed without Anderson’s participation, Richardson’s profile centers on the thesis that the director’s fondness for characters who guard their pasts is rooted in his own reluctance to discuss his history. In the ensuing years, Anderson has maintained his detachment from public life, proving an affable and engaging interview subject during promotional tours while in between, as Steven Hyden wrote for Grantland in 2012, living “as Dylan and Lennon lived in the ’70s, turning out the occasional masterwork but mostly just hiding out.”

Though he may remain cagey about his personal life, Anderson is remarkably open about his craft, happy to discuss his intentions where many of his peers prefer to deflect in the interest of maintaining freedom of viewer interpretation. And, in the DVD commentary for Hard Eight, this is exactly what he does for a moment that seems onscreen to be designed for maximum symbolic leeway: the matchbook combustion. The miniature fire, Anderson explains, is about creating and managing viewer expectations. If most filmmakers want to hook their audience with a show of pyrotechnics, Anderson wants his version to be “punk rock and weird.” In the place of the explosion that might kick off a conventional thriller, he chose to provide “a puff of pant-fire.”

Sydney, it would seem, has learned from John by the film’s conclusion: before his focus turns to the blood on his cuff, we can see that he now carries a lighter in place of his matchbook. No longer will take his accepted safety systems for granted, and though he’ll continue carrying a combustible object, he’ll at least ensure it’s one that can’t be jostled into disaster.

The lesson John learned from the matchbook incident is somewhat more philosophical. As the coda to his recitation of the story in the Demme-inspired opening, John mentions that he considered suing the matchbook company before his cooler head prevailed: “Things happen,” he offers as the moral to the entire inflammatory near-tragedy. “This happens, that happens. Shit just happens, y’know? You just deal with it.”

If anything might suggest a glimmer of hope for John, it’s this simple lesson: our painful pasts are not to be ruminated on, not to be harbored and nursed into grudges and retaliation. Some things just happen. Healing may take time and effort, but in the end, if you just deal with it, you may yet have a shot at escaping ruin with your shirt cuff clean.
Title: Re: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: wilder on July 29, 2020, 12:14:36 PM
October 28, 2020

Hard Eight is coming to blu-ray from Via Vision/Imprint (Australia)

(https://i.imgur.com/ouVNpoW.jpg)
Title: Re: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: wilberfan on July 29, 2020, 01:54:26 PM
I'm in.  What do we need to know about ordering and/or whether it will play in this region?
Title: Re: I just saw Hard Eight for the first time
Post by: wilder on July 29, 2020, 02:18:55 PM
I'm in.  What do we need to know about ordering and/or whether it will play in this region?

It's region-free, available from Imprint's online shop (https://viavision.com.au/shop/hard-eight-1997/).