author C.C.Cole's blog

Saturday, June 9, 2012

On the Work of Paul Thomas Anderson

While at a national academic meeting, I found myself at an airport hotel with nothing to do, my colleagues finding things to do without me, so after hours of sleeplessness and boredom, I did a pay-for-view at the hotel on a new film that had a 70’s backdrop that seemed cool called “Boogie Nights.”

"Boogie Nights"
Oh my!  While I found the film intriguing, the last thing I expected was a story about the pornographic film industry!  And I did a pay-for-view that showed up on my hotel bill!  Great.  I left, now feeling like I’ve joined a club of perverts.  After getting home and informing my husband of the misinformation on the previews, he laughed and said it didn’t understand how I couldn’t know the film’s subject matter.

OK, OK, clueless check.  I saw a movie with more adult material than I’m used to.  Worse things happen to people.  Later I noticed the critical acclaim, like the actors, and have appreciated the latter films I’ve seen them in.  Also, it was great to see Burt Reynolds since Smokey and the Bandit.

Years pass.  I’m awake with a midnight migraine as usual.  Another film piqued my interested that showed up on a cable movie channel called “Magnolia.”  I wanted to see this movie because I could relate to a level to Tom Cruise’s character (as obnoxious as he was), having experienced similar issues with my own family.  Aside from Cruise, who did some great dramatic acting at the end (his Oscar nomination) the actors were in Boogie Nights.  Also, I really liked the music in “Magnolia” of musician Amiee Mann.  After finding the soundtrack, later I saw a singer on a Buffy episode I tracked down.  Again, it was Aimee Mann.  Four CDs later, I enjoy her music.  Later, I found out the director of these films were the same and it made sense:  Paul Thomas Anderson.

Next, “There Will Be Blood” starring Daniel Day-Lewis came out.  I heard mixed reviews, and some thought it was boring.  I had to agree, but the writing interested me, because antagonist characters rarely make a lead role work.  Apparently, the film industry agreed.

Paul Thomas Anderson
When I see books translated into film, it’s usually a diluted version with less detail, less compelling concepts.  With Anderson’s films (that he reportedly writes) I feel like I’m reading a book on film.  That may sound bizarre, but his films have complex plots, multiple characters, and take on unusual topics.  I’m not suggesting his films are for everyone, but as a writer, I do admire a director that takes on the entire effort of the beginning to end of film creation (meaning writing the script and direction).  With his new film about Scientology upcoming, I’m looking forward to seeing what Mr. Anderson has for us.

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