A psychologically troubled novelty supplier is nudged towards a romance with an English woman, all the while being extorted by a phone-sex line run by a crooked mattress salesman, and purchasing stunning amounts of pudding.
Paul Thomas Anderson
Philip Seymour Hoffman
John has lost all his money. He sits outside a diner in the desert when Sydney happens along, buys him coffee, then takes him to Reno and shows him how to get a free room without losing much money. Under Sydney's fatherly tutelage, John becomes a successful small-time professional gambler, and all is well, until he falls for Clementine, a cocktail waitress and sometimes hooker. Written by
Jon Reeves <email@example.com>
When funds ran out, Paul Thomas Anderson used money New Line had advanced him for Boogie Nights (1997) and donations from his cast to raise the necessary $250,000 to finish the film. The film company Rysher signed off on Anderson's director cut on the proviso that he change the title to "Hard Eight". Although Anderson agreed to this change, it didn't stop Rysher from barely releasing the film. See more »
At 30. The crap table that Sydney walks by players cheering but the cover (lid) and count slip on top. If it were a real game there would be no cover See more »
[at the cocktail lounge]
Tell me something. Are you required to flirt, to behave as you do toward that table of men over there? Maybe... it's some part of your job?
Uh, they don't say to do it.
But if you don't?
Well, then I get questioned, like: "Why were so rude to them?", and, I mean, I can't talk back. I can't tell them to fuck off and leave me alone.
As a rule?
I'd also lose the tip.
See more »
This first film from Paul Thomas Anderson shows the promise he would later fulfill with BOOGIE NIGHTS. The writing here is as sharp as it was in the later film, but it must be said as a director, he sometimes lets scenes go on too long (ironic that BOOGIE NIGHTS, which is a longer film, is also a tighter one). The main connection between both films is Anderson's obvious affection for his characters. Also the relationship between Sydney and John doesn't turn out the way you'd expect. And Anderson is to be commended for avoiding melodrama.
Philip Baker Hall is one of those actors who you may not know by name, but when you see him you instinctively feel he's right for the part, no matter how small. This is one of his rare leading roles, and he's perfect, showing the character's success and also his loneliness, without sentimentalizing it. John C. Reilly is properly eager and naive as John. Samuel L. Jackson is dependable here, and Gwyneth Paltrow proves she doesn't need a British accent to give a good performance. She and Jackson should also be commended for backing Anderson when he had problems with the studio.
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