New Line Cinema | Release Date: December 17, 1999
4.5
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Mixed or average reviews based on 512 Ratings
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5
GordonM.Dec 9, 2003
Let's consider the disgusting phenomenon of pt anderson, the young turk or young turkey or young dork(take your pick)of new American cinema. If you've seen Magnolia, you know he's not without talent. He has lively visual Let's consider the disgusting phenomenon of pt anderson, the young turk or young turkey or young dork(take your pick)of new American cinema. If you've seen Magnolia, you know he's not without talent. He has lively visual sense, vivid storytelling ability, a way with actors. However, his faults outweigh his talent by 100 toads to one. Surely, for any man worth his manhood, magnolia is one of the most annoying, self-pitying, and sappy movies of all time. Sappiness is the specialty of the average mainstream movie tugging at our hearts. It's the role of the true artist to give us emotions without the saphead conventions. Not pt anderson, who outsaps them all. The viewer may be fooled into thinking he's peering into real lives, real emotions; that's until PT Anderson plays Leo Buscalia and hugs them all and pops the champagne bottle bubbling with tears. All this was quite apparent in Boogie Nights, a movie purporting to be an uncompromised look at the seedy porn world of the 70s; instead, it culminated in wussyboy antics like ones never seen before. The success--critical or commercial--of both films indicate our society has its share of wussyboys who won't face the music of life, want to be hugged by the movies instead of being challenged or inspired. The signature anderson wussyboy moment is in Boogie Nights, when three morons decide to rob some degenerate coke dealer. the head honcho of the would-be robbers starts losing his cool exterior and we hear his inner voice deteriorate into trembling fear and babbling babytalk, and the robbery is botched and so on. What's Anderson saying here? He's saying that underneath our tough exterior we are all little boys. We're all wussyboys. We think we are men but we're all lonely little boys with our lonely big dreams, desperate for attention, for a goodlife, but always frustrated, always pitiful despite our manly posturing. I don't deny there is some truth to this; after all child is the father to the man. But, with Anderson this point is turned into soap, into an all encompassing worldview. Human misery is tranformed into the simple formula of thumbsucking infantile cry for mama's nipples. It may well be the case with Anderson(I've seen him on charlie rose; what a dork), but to somehow project his sappy self-doubts onto everyone else is utter bulls***. One of the most annoying things about woody allen movies is that every character is simply another variation of the Woody persona. it's like a bunch of characters, men or women, old or young, wasp or Jewish, were merely playing out one of Allen's neurotic fixations or personas. It's like Woody talking to himself. This is artistic masturbation, the inability to leap out of one's skin and see the world that exists outside. Still, Allen has the saving grace of humor. Anderson doesn't; quirkyness is NOT genuine humor. He has populated his movies with emotional clones. Perhaps, this is an unfair assessment of the artistic process. After all, bergman made intensely personal films. Yet, the the big difference is bergman was scathingly harsh on himself. For Anderson, there is only emotional masturbation, Anderson stroking poor Anderson, the outside world turned into a sappy Andersonian theme park where everyone feels as Anderson does, breaks down as Anderson does, throws tantrums for the babybottle, and finds the great, noble, and sappy Andersonian truth at the spiritual dawn of a new day. Speaking of masturbation, then it's no surprise that it's featured so prominently in the films of Anderson, Solondnz, and O Russell. They've graduated from stroking their wood to stroking their egos. Anderson's Boogie Nights is, of course, about the industry that depends on pu*pulling, and the characters in Magnolia all come across as masturbators who can't get the real thing in life. The typical Anderson character is someone who's been soooooo abused by life he finds solace in self-abuse, except emotionally he seems less interested in coming into the woman than crawling inside; ever hear the expression, "We all dream of being a child again"? Well, Anderson must want to be fetus, in which case, he's just a Howdy Doody version of that loathsome Dennis Hopper character in Blue Velvet. Now this is clearly as putrid a vision of humanity as one could imagine. No, I don't think movies have to be rosy, positive, hopeful, and inspirational. They can be grim, ugly. But, they can't have it both ways, giving us ugliness and then swirl around like Julie Andrews in Sound of Muzak and give us a sappy song-and-dance number. It's one thing to have a grim movie like Accatone by Pasolini, about street urchins who do anything to survive. It's a tough, uncompromised view. Or, Scorsese's Mean Streets, which while affectionate and nostalgic, is mockingly unforgivingl when things come to a tragicomic climax. But, Anderson is too coy, too cloying to be direct and honest with issues. Instead, he takes something from altman and the coen brothers, and mixes in his own gooey soapy stew and brews it to stinking perfection for all those in the world who need attention and feel loved. Compare a movie like nashville with magnolia. Both take panoramic view of a community, hopping from one narrative to another, showing the disparaties and the linkage among the characters. The difference is altman has a wider perspective, has true sense of satirical context, and when altman goes for emotional connection, he hits the bull's eye, well-timed and well earned. In other words, altman can tell caca from the real. Altman can see the phoniness but also thru the phoniness to a truer, more private reality. It's when the undisguised humanity bursts or blurts forth--often unexpected--that we see the folks of nashville as more than clowns, puppets, dupes. Same could be said for Fellini's Cabiria and It's a Wondeful Life, movies that deal with agony and loss but rise to a sense of redemption or realization; these films earn this right to be positive because the ultimate lesson is the world is bigger than our egos, our hangups and letdowns. This sense of perspective is missing in magnolia. Anderson wants us to feel so close to his losers that he takes every pitiful, pathetic, neurotic trifle as grave, indeed Biblical in their, ehem, tragic dimensions. So we have that guy with braces in his teeth, how he needs love and how we're supposed to understand his agony. Or julianne moore throwing some insipid fit about how bad she's been, how this ridiculous bwavuwa performance shakes every louse of neurosis out of her hair; method acting has come a long way, no? Or, how a cop is so lonely and on the verge of weeping cuz he wost his gubby wubby, how some woman who was molested by her father long ago can't get out of her coke habit, etc. look... I'm a compassionate person. And I also know that compassion aint only for the starving. I know there's emotional trauma, psychological pain, spiritual crisis. But, the examples cited above are bulls***. Bulls*** either because they are utterly stupid beyond stupid--indeed retarded--or their expressions are obnoxious and beyond the infinitely insufferable. I'm sorry, but no one who has any sense of real suffering in the world--physical or psychological--can possibly not be annoyed to sickening hell by julianne moore's over-the-top hysteria posing as turmoil and pain. It's barely believable and utterly embarassing, both for character and actress. But, alone she aint. Soon, everyone is throwing a fit of his own, breaking down, babbling and bawling, experiencing some catharsis like it's the big bang or something. Well, I don't know about you but I don't think it's the role of the filmmaker or the film viewer to change the characters's diapers. I think empathy is important in movie viewing but so is judgment. Judgment doesn't necessarily mean condemnation but we must judge, we must see things in perspective. Aanderson avoids this and goes a roundabout way of framing his stories in some pseudo-profound metaphysical mumbo jumbo. The framing device and the toads in magnolia mean NOTHING. it's just a cosmic copout by a dork who thinks he's being deep, clever. Expand
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6
JalemanyOct 3, 2015
I keep trying, but I cannot connect with Paul Thomas Anderson supposed genius and mystery. This film is a fantastic formal exercise. Editing, music, acting, characters ... but, I cannot feel anything else. For me, it lacks depth andI keep trying, but I cannot connect with Paul Thomas Anderson supposed genius and mystery. This film is a fantastic formal exercise. Editing, music, acting, characters ... but, I cannot feel anything else. For me, it lacks depth and exploration, heart and truth. Maybe it is there, but I certainly cannot see it.i Expand
0 of 2 users found this helpful02
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4
ExKingApr 1, 2013
this movie without a doubt is the most creepiest 3 hours i spent on the big screen for long long time the writing is so weird that after finish watching the movie i felt manipulated and i felt that Paul Thomas Anderson should made a betterthis movie without a doubt is the most creepiest 3 hours i spent on the big screen for long long time the writing is so weird that after finish watching the movie i felt manipulated and i felt that Paul Thomas Anderson should made a better explanation for all the events that been going on for the entire movie i get the idea that everyone was acting hard but some of them tried so hard it's ridiculous for example Alfred Molina has a 10 minutes of fame and he was acting like it was a scene from the godfather ,Tom Cruise and Julianne Moore did their parts very well but after all the movie is awkward but that make sense since Paul Thomas Anderson is also the director and the writer of there will be blood that awkward movie with a very questionable ending. after this i will never watch his movies again. Expand
0 of 4 users found this helpful04
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4
YoonC.Sep 22, 2003
Has a surging narrative, vivid display of emotions, but ultimately it's a shameless--no, shameful!--wallowing of P.T. Anderson's many alter egos in self-pity, self-righteousness, and self-aggrandizement, finally all souped with Has a surging narrative, vivid display of emotions, but ultimately it's a shameless--no, shameful!--wallowing of P.T. Anderson's many alter egos in self-pity, self-righteousness, and self-aggrandizement, finally all souped with quasi-metaphysical gobbledygook(rain of frogs) which is neither funny nor inspired though it fooled alot of people. Emotionally, Anderson is a frog himself, an amphibian who must crawl back into wet sentimentality to recover his energy to carry on with his offbeat gribbiting. Expand
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