Culture Connoisseur: Paul Thomas Anderson

The trailer for Inherent Vice just came out, and it proves one thing.

There is a God, and his name is Paul Thomas Anderson.

He's kind of a genius.
He’s kind of a genius.

His movies are absolutely fantastic, so I’m really looking forward to December and watching Inherent Vice in theatres. There are a few PTA movies you should definitely see. I’m not going to say a lot about each of the movies because I think that you have to experience them in order to fully understand.

The Master. I went and saw this movie by myself at the local AMC when it came out, which ended up being an excellent decision because it’s a movie you really have to see by yourself in order to feel the central theme of isolation. It’s about a man who finds himself in a cult, and his life pre-, during and post-cult life. However, I don’t have enough experience with Scientology to say whether or not The Master is a mirror of it. This was the movie that solidified my love for PTA.

There Will Be Blood. I had counted this as one of my favorite movies after I watched it for the first time, but I didn’t realize that it was a PTA movie after I found out about The Master. It’s loosely based on Upton Sinclair’s Oil!, but it’s not your typical historical drama. There Will Be Blood is not supposed to be funny at all, but there are some really hysterical moments that I can’t even properly describe. Daniel Day Lewis is wonderful, but he’s wonderful in everything. The cinematography in this movie especially is beautiful.

Boogie Nights. Boogie Nights is about a porn star’s rise to fame in the height of the 1970s, so it is definitely not safe for work. But the soundtrack is excellent, and the movie features a great cast of actors: Mark Wahlberg, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Julianne Moore, William H. Macy and more. It’s set in San Fernando Valley in the 1970s and has a gritty look to it, which makes the characters look and seem even seedier.

Punch-Drunk Love. This is the only movie that Adam Sandler is actually good in, and that takes The Wedding Singer into account. Sandler plays a guy who falls in love with a woman he meets early on in the film, which is a standard romantic comedy trope. However, he has a lot of Issues (a standard PTA character) and is harassed and extorted by a phone-sex line operator. It’s delightfully postmodern, and everyone knows how much I love anything postmodern.

I still need to see Hard Eight and Magnolia, which are definitely on my list of movies-to-see.  The Master, There Will Be Blood and Punch-Drunk Love are on Netflix, so go forth! And then when you’ve watched them, come back and let me know what you thought by leaving a comment.


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