AUTEUR HOUR: Paul Thomas Anderson

9 01 2015

PTA prof pic

Welcome to a new feature here at Marshall and the Movies that I am calling “Auteur Hour!”  I have hinted at this since 2012 (yikes) and can think of no better way to kick off this series than with a look at the filmography of writer and director Paul Thomas Anderson.

For those who do not know, auteur is a French term meaning “author” that academic writers often apply to directors of films.  The term and all that comes along with it provides constant debate within the cinematic community.  Some think it provides a great way to honor filmmakers who use consistent patterns or motifs throughout their work, while others argue that the term serves as a catchall to redeem anyone who can carry something over from picture to picture.

Paul Thomas Anderson certainly qualifies as an auteur like few others in America with his fluency in the language and history of cinema as well as his virtuosic output.  I had the chance to grab a quick photo with him before the world premiere of “Inherent Vice” – as you can see, both of us were pretty awkward.  I stood speechless in the face of the man responsible for some absolute gems in the crown of cinema.  If you want to stand in awe as well, check out some of these videos…

And now, to the point of the post, here is how I would rank the films of Paul Thomas Anderson.  So without further ado…

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Random Factoid #390

22 08 2010

I watched “Magnolia” last night.  At a whopping 3 hours and 8 minutes, it’s definitely one of the longest movies I’ve seen in quite some time.  Most of it was worth my time, although the last hour bored me (up until it started raining frogs, that is).  And I bought Aimee Mann’s cover of “One” from the movie today.

It really is trying to watch a three hour movie.  For a movie to take that much of your time, it needs to hold your attention the entire time.  And the experience got me thinking about time.  It is very precious, especially for a student.  And being a blogger, there never seems to be enough of it to get everything that you want written.

Often times, my movie choice hinges heavily on the length of the movie.  Sometimes I know I don’t have the patience to sit through a really long movie.  Other times, I really do feel a great desire to be fully engrossed in the world of a movie, something I feel longer movies are more capable of doing.  (For those wondering, I watched “Magnolia” because the iTunes rental period was about to expire.)

I can’t find it anywhere online, but I swear that John Waters once said that a good movie should never be longer than an hour and 45 minutes.  Whether he said it or not, I think it provides a good question to discuss.  How much does a movie’s length impact its effectiveness?

I think certain movies should hover around that time length, like horror movies and comedies.  But an innovative drama like “Magnolia” or a sprawling epic like “The Lord of the Rings” should be able to take as much of our time as the filmmakers need to fully achieve their vision.  Really, I’m willing to sit out anything with vision.

Thoughts?  Can you sit through a three hour movie?