The Master (2012), dir. by Paul Thomas Anderson
— Lancaster Dodd, The Master (via theemperorofthenorth)
This is a post in a series chronicling my thoughts on the best working writer-directors in the filmmaking business. See the whole series here.
2. Paul Thomas Anderson
I love it when directors push out amazing movies at a fast clip, like at a rate of one every couple of years, like Woody Allen did at the end of the 70’s and into the 80’s, but those directors tend to be unable to keep up the pace. So I like it best when a director does a movie every few years and all of those movies are amazing, like Kubrick and Terrence Malick. Paul Thomas Anderson is also in that category, having directed only five movies, all of them astounding. From “Hard Eight” in 1996 to “There Will Be Blood” in 2007 (and “The Master,” to premiere in theaters next month), PTA has made thoughtful movies with distinct narratives at every turn, always pulling incredible performances out of his actors. “Punch-Drunk Love” may be briefer than his epics “There Will Be Blood” and “Boogie Nights,” and it may not have the emotional sophistication of “Magnolia,” but I think it’s his best film because it seems to be his most personal. It captures what it’s like to be an introvert more than any other movie I’ve ever seen. Picking Adam Sandler as the lead character is a stroke of genius. That’s exactly what PTA is - genius - and that’s what makes him one of the most brilliant artists working in cinema today.
Suggested movie: Punch-Drunk Love (2002)
“Ladies and gentlemen? Ladies and gentlemen. Thank you so much for visiting with us this evening. Now, I’ve traveled across half our state to be here and to see about this land. Now, I daresay some of you might have heard some of the more extravagant rumors about what my plans are; I just thought you’d like to hear it from me. This is the face. There’s no great mystery. I’m an oilman, ladies and gentlemen. I have numerous concerns spread across this state. I have many wells flowing at many thousand barrels per day. I like to think of myself as an oilman. As an oilman, I hope that you’ll forgive just good old fashioned plain-speaking. Now, this work that we do is very much a family enterprise- I work side by side with my wonderful son, H.W.- I think one or two of you might have met him already. And I encourage my men to bring their families, as well. Of course it makes for an ever so much more rewarding life for them. Family means children. Children means education. So wherever we set up camp, education is a necessity, and we’re just so happy to take care of that. So let’s build a wonderful school in Little Boston. These children are the future that we strive for and so they should have the very best of things. Now something else, and please don’t be insulted if I speak about this - bread. Let’s talk about bread. Now to my mind, its an abomination to consider that any man, woman or child in this magnificent country of ours should have to look upon a loaf of bread as a luxury. We’re going to dig water wells here. Water wells means irrigation, irrigation means cultivation. We’re going to raise crops here where before it just simply was impossible. You’re going to have more grain than you’ll know what to do with. Bread will be coming right out of your ears, ma’am. New roads. Agriculture. Employment, education. These are just a few of the things we can offer you, and I assure you ladies and gentlemen, that if we do find oil here, and I think there’s a very good chance that we will, this community of yours will not only survive, it will flourish.” - Daniel Plainview, There Will Be Blood (2007) Paul Thomas Anderson
Happy birthday to Paul Thomas Anderson! Only five films and already one of the great American filmmakers of our time.
Some filmmakers who started out with Super 8 cameras at youth, and then grew into major directors.