Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday Movie on the Mind: Magnolia

Welcome to a new weekly feature here at Movies With Abe: Monday Movie on the Mind. I’ll be kicking off each week with a clip or trailer from a film that happens to be on my mind, designed as a retrospective look at some well-known, forgotten, or underappreciated classic from movie history, be it antique or current. Chime in with your thoughts about the film or any other movies that you might be thinking of this week!

Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
Released December 17, 1999

After perusing composer candidates for my Thursday Token Themes section, I started thinking about Paul Thomas Anderson’s brilliant, infinitely complex and creative “Magnolia.” It’s an ensemble drama that brings together an incredibly talented and diverse cast for a three-hour symposium filled with brilliant writing and marvelous camera work. Tom Cruise was the only actor who earned an Oscar nomination for his performance, playing against type as a chauvinistic sex guru, but there are plenty of other people who deserve some recognition, including Melora Walters as a cocaine addict, William H. Macy as a childhood game show winner, Philip Baker Hall as a dying game show host, Philip Seymour Hoffman as a kindly nurse, and Julianne Moore as an unhappy trophy wife, not to mention a stunning debut from the young Jeremy Blackman, who hasn’t done much of note since this film. The music of Jon Brion and Aimee Mann comes together in a magnificent way to support this fascinating, extremely multi-faceted story. There are three scenes in particular that come to mind instantly when thinking of this film, all of them equally unforgettable. The first is the film’s lengthy opening scene, which looks at the notion of chance through three mind-boggling stories. The second features each of the characters breaking out of their shells for just a moment to join in for a few bars of Mann’s “Wise Up.” The third, which can also be found on one of the film’s more terrific posters, features frogs raining from the sky. This is one movie where the three-hour runtime is well worth it, and I highly recommend it if you haven’t yet seen it.

Opening Scene

Wise Up

Raining Frogs

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