Some shit about Paul Thomas Anderson…

In my late teens, early 20s I had a love/hate relationship with Paul Thomas Anderson. At the time I was an aspiring filmmaker and I couldn’t get over how ridiculously young Anderson was when he, not only wrote, but directed flicks like “Hard Eight,” “Boogie Nights” and “Magnolia” (all released before he turned 30). I desperately wanted to find some way to dismiss this dude’s immense talent. My wish was granted when the Jealous, Ambitionless Wannabes Who Get Off On Calling Out The Derivative Qualities of Contemporary Works of Popular Art hipped me to “Raging Bull,” “Saturday Night Fever” and “Short Cuts.” Turns out this so-called ‘wunderkind’ was merely riffing on old shit?! Sometimes even lifting entire scenes from these old flicks???!!! I was so relieved; like a fat slob who thinks that if he could just get his hands on some steroids he would be just as good as Barry Bonds, but then something hit me…

PTA, early in his career, was like a virtuoso hip hop producer. His movies (most notably “Boogie Nights” and “Magnolia”) were like those breathless Oscar montages where a fleeting staccato blur of the more evocative moments of several well-known movies is presented over a sweeping orchestral score. He wasn’t ‘stealing,’ he was sampling, re-appropriating the imagery of artists like Scorsese, Altman and De Palma, while adding a flavor all his own.

I really dig the groove he has settled into lately. His recent flicks feel like the kinda films an ‘extroverted’ Terrence Malick would make.

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