That Moment: Magnolia Diary (Video 2000) Poster

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3 ReviewsOrdered By: Helpfulness
5/10
Very Watchable, But Not Very Good
Mitch-5127 July 2005
Paul Thomas Anderson makes a pretty engaging lead in this documentary about the making of "Magnolia," but the director, Mark Rance wastes a lot of running time. For example, we are treated to hearing an orchestra record the score, but why are there no scenes of Anderson and Jon Brion discussing the score? There are also scenes showing pre-production meetings, but apart from discussions about difficulties in scheduling the actors, the rest could be cut in favor of more Anderson/Robert Elswit footage. I would like to see a doc about Paul Thomas Anderson in the tradition of "Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky." I can't help but feel there is a better doc in the footage not used.
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10/10
shows Anderson's process as it happens, which is precious enough
MisterWhiplash7 September 2015
Starting off with Paul Thomas Anderson talking about some of his influences and screen writing process - that he wanted to write originally something 'small' and then spent eight months writing it (with a rush of a couple of weeks of most of the writing in Macy's cabin) - we then see in That Moment how this man makes a movie. It may not be with every actor (apparently Tom Cruise's people didn't want him to appear in this loose a context), but you get to see many of those little things that happen on a set, how energetic Anderson is with his actors but how they're all eager to reach up to what he's asking for, and it helps to make the film more valuable. Just how he talks to the kids who will be on the game show set, how he's written some things and not others, is precious. And how he especially looks for collaboration from all of his players is incredible.

Oh sure, you may find it tedious to see all of the frogs dropped over and over in the gas station. But you see how little things get done (how can Julianne Moore know all the words to the song - mic in her ear that no one sees, that's how), and what his actors are like on set; Philip Seymour Hoffman has a funny, warm story to tell, and Jason Robards has LOTS of stories to tell, and does tell one of them. That he was just treated for cancer and then doing this role is amazing and touching, and you see the affection he has for PT Anderson and for playing this role (if not Earl Partridge, who is dying and bitter). You get the sense that this filmmaker loves filmmaking so much, and the creativity and steps taken to making this massive, intimate epic is revelatory - I only wish it was longer.
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