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Magnolia (1999)

DVD Cover (New Line Studios)
Genres:
Drama, Ensemble Film, Psychological Drama, Urban Drama
Director:
Paul Thomas Anderson Paul Thomas Anderson
Starring:
Pat Healy Pat Healy
Genevieve Zweig Genevieve Zweig
Mark Flanagan Mark Flanagan
Neil Flynn Neil Flynn
Rod McLachlan Rod McLachlan

7.4 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by bluemeanie
Added: June 05, 2007
Best...Movie...Ever. Well, one of them.

There are so many wonderful things I can say about "Magnolia". First off, I cannot think of a film that has affected me this deeply and this profoundly. I can't think of a film that has so skillfully blended such intriguing characters and connected them in such subtle and beautiful ways. Paul Thomas Anderson could never direct another movie in his life and this film alone would still keep him in the pantheon of brilliant filmmakers. He knows how to tell a story and he knows how to weave plotlines together seamlessly so that they all seem like one fluid motion picture. "Magnolia" was my favorite film in 1999, and it is one of the best motion pictures ever made.

Early on, we are given a taste of all the characters that make up "Magnolia". Tom Cruise stars as Frank "T.J." Mackey, a self-help guru who instructs men on how to 'tame the muffin'. He seems to loathe women and his mission is to make sure men conquer them. Jason Robards stars as Earl Partridge, Frank's estranged father who enlists the aid of his nurse Phil (Philip Seymour Hoffman) to track down his son - sort of his dying wish. Earl's wife, Linda (Julianne Moore) is on a quest for medications and can't bare to live with herself after marrying Earl for his money. On the flip side, we have Jimmy Gator (Philip Baker Hall), a popular game show host who has just found out that he has cancer, and three months to live. He visits his daughter, Claudia (Melora Walters), but she doesn't want anything to do with him. He hosts a show called "What Do Kids Know?". The current star of this show is Stanley Spector (Jeremy Blackman), but the former star of the show was Quiz Kid Donnie Smith (William H. Macy), who now works as a salesman and is in love with a young bartender. John C. Reilly stars as Jim Kurring, a devoted police officer who falls for Claudia when he investigates a noise complaint. Those are the characters that construct "Magnolia".

That might seem like a lot to take in, but for a three hour film, there is plenty of time devoted to each and every character. They all link together in very subtle and very curious ways, but they are all brought together by one life defining event at the end of the film. What's most interesting to watch is the development of these characters and the emotion with which they work. Julianne Moore has a breathtaking scene in her lawyer's office where she confesses that she married her husband for his money, but now that he is dying, has fallen in love with him and wants to be taken out of his will. John C. Reilly has an equally impressive scene where he loses his firearm and finds himself out in the rain, screaming to God for answers and for assistance. Philip Baker Hall and Melinda Dillon have a heartwrenching scene where Jimmy reveals he might have inappropriately touched his daughter when she was younger. But, the highlight scene comes from Tom Cruise himself when he finally confronts his dying father and can do nothing but breakdown. It's a tragic scene and it's Cruise's finest moment on film. But, each and every performer here gets a chance to shine in a number of scenes that showcase their immense talents.

As for the filmmaker, Paul Thomas Anderson outdoes himself. The film opens with a brief tutorial of strange 'occurrences' and 'chances' throughout history, narrated by Ricky Jay. This sets us up for an ending we could never expect, but then we think about that intro and everything seems to fall into place (no pun intended). Halfway through the film, all of the primary characters participate in singing Aimee Mann's song "Wise Up", each one given a few lines, kind of like a montage of what is going on in the film halfway through. Just brilliant. The ending of the film comes out of nowhere, but it is so poignant and does wonders with tying everything in together. This is probably just one of the best shot, best edited and best written films ever made.

If you haven't see "Magnolia" - where the fuck have you been? I don't see how anyone could not appreciate the beauty of this film and the levels to which Paul Thomas Anderson takes the audience. You find yourself laughing, crying, cheering, shouting - it's a cavalcade. "Magnolia" is one of my favorite films ever made. Hopefully, it will be one of yours too. 10/10.
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Tristan #1: Tristan - added 06/05/2007, 07:07 PM
My only beef with this movie, the length. It just went on for fucking ever. I really fell in love with John C. Reilly as an actor after this one. His performance was outstanding. 9/10
bluemeanie #2: bluemeanie - added 06/05/2007, 07:16 PM
Yeah, I think this is Reilly's best film to date. I could have watch another 2 hours of this film.
Edd #3: Edd - added 06/06/2007, 08:54 AM
Contains quite possibly, the greatest line in modern movie history. 10/10
bluemeanie #4: bluemeanie - added 06/06/2007, 10:19 AM
Which one is that? My favorite is: "And as the book says -- we may be through with the past, but the past ain't through with us." Another good one is, "Hello, I'm Frank T.J. Mackey -- the Master of the Muffin."
Edd #5: Edd - added 06/06/2007, 11:59 AM
"Boys, lets get right down to it. Men are shit. Isn't that what they say? Cause we do bad things don't we? We do horrible, heinous, terrible things that no woman could ever do. No, women, they don't lie. No, women, they don't cheat. Women don't manipulate us. You see what I'm getting at don't you?"


Now that's not ver batum, but it's still right up there with the 25th Hour speech and the American Beauty plastic bag part.
bluemeanie #6: bluemeanie - added 06/06/2007, 12:59 PM
Personally, I prefer -- "Phil, I'll fucking drop kick the dogs if they come near me."
Tristan #7: Tristan - added 06/06/2007, 03:06 PM
Hell, now I'll have to watch this again. I forget pretty much everything about it.
bluemeanie #8: bluemeanie - added 06/06/2007, 03:11 PM
"I...I know this sounds silly, and I know that I might sound ridiculous like this is the- the scene in the movie where the guy's trying to get a hold of the long lost son, you know, but this is that scene. This is that scene, and I think they have those scenes in movies because they're true. You know, because they really happen."
Kari Byron's Sex Cyborg #9: Kari Byron's Sex Cyborg - added 12/21/2007, 09:00 AM
Holy mackeral, every single actor's performance in this movie is remarkable, and the number of ace dialogues and breathtaking scenes is countless.
9.9/10
grain of sand #10: grain of sand - added 05/08/2008, 02:49 AM
"you got struck with lightning that one time in Tahoe, I don't think braces is a good idea!"

10/10
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