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30 reviews in total 
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86 out of 137 people found the following review useful:
The Curious Case of Conflict Avoidance, 12 January 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I don't understand the appeal of this film. It has no plot (which is not necessarily a bad thing. Another Fincher/Pitt collaboration from 1999 comes to mind), the protagonist has no goal, and the film basically has no conflict.

Massive Spoilers Below.

Button is a FREAK. You would think his life would be a living hell full of torment and meaty conflict...but no. Button's life is wonderful. He rarely encounters hardship.

He gets abandoned by his father, who shows up later and gives Benjamin everything he owns. He is taken in by a loving woman who cares for him every step of the way, keeping him far from anyone who would consider him to be a freak. He lives the good life growing up...or would it be down? He gets a job handed to him while sitting on a bench (a job that he loves so much that he would have done it for free, but he's getting paid!). He travels the world feeling no ill effects and not being taunted or ridiculed one single time for his disorder.

Most difficult situation he encounters is being left without a life jacket when the tugboat encounters a German WWII sub, which the tugboat ends up defeating with such ease and rapidity, Benjamin doesn't even have time to do anything but crouch down for a minute and hide. The lack of a life jacket doesn't even come into play at all. A set-up with no pay-off. What was the point of that? The episodic nature of the story makes it difficult to remember whether Tilda Swinton's character showed up before or after Benjamin went to war, but it doesn't even matter. Swinton has an affair with Button, but Swinton's husband is a spy! Oh shlt? Nope. That is another set-up without a pay-off. More conflict avoided. It's an affair without any repercussions.

The closest the film comes to a plot is the love story between Daisy and Benjamin, which is also the closest the film comes to displaying any sort of real conflict. Benjamin goes to New York to surprise Daisy only to find out she is with someone else. She rejects him. Benjamin goes to Paris. Daisy rejects him again. However, the rejections are only temporary, and Daisy forgives him entirely. More conflict avoided.

From there on, they live a wonderful life. There is even a montage showing how wonderful their life together is. Neither one has to deal with any sort of conflict for a while. They just have sex and fun all day long. They eventually end up having a child together, and Benjamin decides to walk out on them to avoid the possibility of conflict arising from the fact that he will eventually grow young and Daisy will have to care for both of them.

So despite his radical disorder (that nobody even really comments on, let alone ridicules him over), Benjamin goes through what some would consider a perfect life. He ends up with everything he wants and doesn't even have to work to get it.

Hell, I wish I was born backwards so my life would be free and easy.

How could a story with a concept so ripe with conflict completely avoid it?

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
I'd give it 20 out of 10 if I could., 10 January 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Sergio Leone declined an offer to direct The Godfather to direct this film instead. And oh, how I wonder how a Leone-directed Godfather would have turned out (along with Orson Welles as Vito and Robert Deniro as Sonny)...Once Upon A Time In America more than makes up for that desire never having the opportunity to come true.

I mention The Godfather not only because this film is of the same genre, but also of the same level of quality. Seriously. The Godfather edges this one out in terms of acting and perhaps in the level of human emotion the audience feels, but in regards to every other aspect of film-making, it's equal to or better than The Godfather. Keep in mind that The Godfather is my all-time favorite film and book.

The story of Once Upon A Time In America is told in several different time periods simultaneously and seamlessly. Clocking in a nearly 4 hours, it seems like an arduous task to watch this film to completion, especially considering the fractured timetable, lack of a solid external throughline, and two rape scenes (one of which being a truly hard piece of cinema to watch), but the masterful direction of Leone, absolutely breathtaking cinematography of Tonino Delli Colli, and epic, tragedy-filled music by Ennio Morricone are guaranteed to pull you into the world of the story.

It's a truly rewarding experience to view this film from start to finish in a single sitting. It leaves pieces out of the puzzle for the viewer to interpret, ponder, and debate afterward. It's a film that stays with you and actually rewards repeat viewings.

Sadly, there is presently no living director with the skill required to make a film of this caliber. We can only hope and wish that someone comes along and gives us a few cinematic treasures such as this one, The Godfather, Citizen Kane, and the acclaimed films of Kubrick and Hitchcock.

Once Upon A Time In America has been on the rise in the IMDb Top 250 for some time now. Let's help it get to the top 10 where it belongs.

WALL·E (2008)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Pure cinema., 1 December 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

There has been quite a bit of backlash regarding this film and I don't understand why. Maybe because it doesn't have expository dialogue to remind you of what is going on. Or perhaps it could be the lack of cheesy one-liners and asides that are all too common these days. It just might be the story, which doesn't involve a lot of things that blow up real good. I don't know.

Wall-E is pure cinema. It goes back to the silent film days where you didn't have the luxury of dialogue to tell a story. The filmmakers then had to rely on images to give the viewer all the information. It's not like today where an untalented director points and shoots because he wants to. Each shot had a purpose, and the juxtaposition of shots and images and actions were all important - scratch that...NECESSARY - to tell the story. Today, film editing is a complete joke. Either nobody understands it's purpose, or nobody applies it.

What elevates Pixar above everyone else is their understanding and application of what you could say are the "rules of cinema". Of course there are no rules, but there is what works and what does not. Pixar takes the time to find what works rather than what looks cool or what is the current trend. And the result of this is a story that everyone can enjoy. Today, a month from now, twenty years from now. A story where the main characters are not actors. They are not even physical, tangible objects. They are computer generated images with one or two word vocabularies. Yet, we grow to care for them as they learn to care for one another.

This is all possible through the magic of cinema - a VISUAL medium.

I want to go to the movies more often, but there are so many bad movies that I simply can't. I can't make myself go anymore. I used to for a long time, but now...I just can't do it. A rare film like Wall-E comes along and completely ruins any hope for me leaving the house to pay money to watch crap. I don't want to see lousy writing and bad dialogue and muddled images and inept editing and inferior story structure and flat characters lacking emotion, horrid acting and unoriginality. That is 97% of movies these days and over 99% of television.

When the the standards drop so low? Did I miss a meeting? I praise Pixar for staying true to themselves, and rebounding from their two worst outputs with their most cinematic film yet.

I just hope the rest of today's filmmakers and those of the future come to understand how cinema functions. What works and what doesn't. I hope they realize that film is meant to be a VISUAL medium, and not an economic one.

10 out of 18 people found the following review useful:
Quantum leap into the dumpster., 16 November 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If I wasn't so bored, I might have felt violated by this awful suckfest.

Seriously...who greenlights a script this bad? I'll give you a quick excerpt of the "plot": Bond gets to the hotel and kills the geologist, gets the briefcase and walks out just in time for the car to pull up. He gets in and the girl pulls a gun on him. He gets out just in time to hop on the motorcycle. Follows the car to the dock just in time to overhear the conversation and see the boat take off just in time. Follows on motorcycle and drives off the ramp of a boat that was lined up just in time for him to land in a powerboat. Fights off baddies and in the process, the girl gets KO'ed just in time for Bond to reach land and drop her off so he can get to the airport just in time to see the villains take off, etc.

Notice the excessive usage of the phrase "just in time".

There's even a spot where Bond has left a party and is driving in the middle of the desert where he just so happens to come across a man who just so happens to sell Bond his plane. Bond flies the plane for less than 5 minutes and just so happens to get shot out of the air. Bond and the girl (did they even say her name more than once?) open the parachute just in time - oops, sorry. About a minute too late. Sorry, but if you open a parachute 12 feet from the ground, you're dead. I don't care if you're James Bond. You're dead. So anyway, they just so happen to land directly above a sinkhole which just so happens to have the most easily accessible exit in the history of any place where any character was ever trapped in film history, and then just so happen to end up in a spot where they can easily recognize the villain's plan (which was over AN HOUR into the film - didn't know the purpose of any of the action up to that point, which made it tedious and boring), etc, etc.

Notice the excessive usage of the phrase "just so happens".

There is absolutely no plot to this film whatsoever. There are no characters. There is no dialogue. There are no relationships. There is no originality at all. None. Everything about this film is one - yes, ONE dimensional. Not two, and definitely not three. Just one.

This is action porn...but even the action sucks.

It opens with a car chase where one dark vehicle is shooting at another dark vehicle, so you can't tell what the hell is going on, who is in which car, who is shooting at Bond and why they are shooting at him. It makes no sense to a viewer. Neither does any of the action that follows. Bond leaves bodies in his wake, never even encountering a real challenge. Coincidences move him from place to place and stuff blows up and people shoot guns in the process. That is this movie.

Bond doesn't struggle at all. The villain's henchman is supposed to be the brawn to the villain's brain. Look at Odd Job and Goldfinger. Here, we have this guy with a flo-be bowl cut who gets tripped by a girl in a cocktail dress. And the main baddie himself looks like a young Roman Polanski...and the members of his super-secret organization that nobody knows anything about just so happen to conveniently sport little Q lapels, making them so easy to identify. Smart.

Even action porn needs to be exciting. There have to be reversals. Watch the truck chase at the end of The Road Warrior and you'll see more reversals in that one 10 minute scene than this entire movie. That is why that scene is great and this movie sucks. Both have cars driving fast and people shooting one another and things blowing up. Hint: THAT IS NOT WHY PEOPLE WATCH MOVIES! People watch movies for an experience. We want to see reversals in action, character relationships develop and change, a plot that actually makes sense. We want to see characters develop beyond a thuggish menace before they go and wreak havoc. We want to see this person that we now care about actually struggle and fight for victory. We want to be able to follow what is going on, in terms of story and visuals. You can't do that if the camera is swaying violently and cutting every 3/8ths of a second and the main plot isn't revealed until a majority of the movie is over.

This is perhaps the worst movie I have seen in a decade. An absolutely epic failure on every front, including the future of film-making, which appears to be heading toward a depression of it's own if a film like this, completely void of quality, gets made.

The cinematic apocalypse has begun.

PS: Who the f--k edited this movie?! I want to track this person down and murder them with my bare hands in their own home in front of his or her children. My 5 year-old dog could have done a better job. Is there a bet going on with you and Paul Greengrass as to who will be the first to make a film that will literally cause people's heads to explode from an overload of underprocessed information...or do you just suck that bad? Quit your job immediately and find something that you're actually good at.

11 out of 20 people found the following review useful:
Someone please flush this., 9 September 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie is the cinematic equivalent of an incorrectly-assembled jigsaw puzzle. Just a total mess no matter where you look. Watching this felt like watching 5 movies at once and only catching one-fifth of each one. There's just an incredible amount of underdeveloped characters and subplots.

Why chase the unbelievably athletic black dude bomb maker guy in the beginning? It didn't seem to be connected in any way to the guy with the crazy eye except perhaps in the most minor, circumstantial way possible...not to mention the sequence went on for about 10 minutes and ended with Bond killing the guy outright after we are informed that he needs to remain alive.

And the whole thing about blowing up the plane...why? Who was that guy? I have absolutely no idea. Didn't even catch his name. They gave us NO INFORMATION about him. The whole tanker-chase was just absolutely ridiculous and seemed more at home in a cartoon, and before you know it, the unknown guy is dead. Not to mention the entire sequence was pointless. Bad guy needs money, which is the reason for trying to blow up the plane. Afterwards, Bad guy still needs money. You can remove that entire segment and nothing has changed. It's redundant.

There's at least a dozen characters that we essentially know nothing about who suddenly die and that's supposed to mean something. Who are they? Who's side are they on? Do they even have names? They could have saved the salary budget and just got a few cardboard boxes with painted faces on them instead. I know it's a Bond movie, but for Christ's sake.

The guy with the weird eye was quite a bland villain. It's mentioned that he's some math genius and that makes him good at card games, but why is that talent never actually shown in the movie? He just turns cards like everyone else. I know it would be a little difficult to show the inner workings of his mind, but it's better than a throwaway line. So if being good at math makes him so great at cards, what makes Bond so good? And if Bond doesn't need a reason, why does the eye guy? And why is Bond even there instead of a professional card player if they need this guy to lose so badly? And speaking of this card game, why did the villain, despite his many connections to the underworld and corrupt dictatorships, decides his only way to recoup his losses is by holding a high stakes poker game with a CIA agent as well as a British Secret Agent? And couldn't they just abduct him and hold him in a secret location until his enemies were hot for his blood, then threaten to release him if he didn't flip? It seems much more logical than the card game method, which would still require abducting the bad guy and threatening to release him if he didn't flip.

Despite the repeated need for the villain to win all the money brought to the game, the villain, the alleged super genius, decides to poison Bond while Bond has 50 million sitting on the table which means that money would not have been won by the villain had he succeeded in killing Bond.

After the villain's defeat he was supposed to be grabbed by CIA but apparently the boys from Langley are more incompetent than the guerrilla soldiers from Uganda because they didn't even get near the bad guy and let him abduct members of the British Secret Service and flee the country.

And what was up with that tracking device they put in his arm. Talk about a setup with no payoff. What a waste of time that was.

From here on in we get a lot of contrived and pointless melodrama as the film refuses to stop and continues to slog through Bond's tragic romance with a woman who is so in love with her boyfriend that she decides to steal ten million dollars from the government (that's all that belonged tot eh British government, which ain't that much) and she also bangs the hell out of Bond for good measure - because she is so in love with her abducted boyfriend.

To top off the insanity, we get a crazy chase through Venice to hunt down some one-eyed villain we have never seen before that has nothing to do with anything, as far as we know. Then just when things couldn't get more ridiculous, the love interest decides to kill herself by locking herself int the elevator of a sinking house. Why did she do that? I guess because it was supposed to be tragic and sad - it was just stupid.

Another thing that bothered me was the fact that Bond got help with nearly everything he did. He got helped out of the whipping chair, he got help with the defibrillator, he got help disarming an enemy, he got help disposing of the bodies, he got help tasering that other dude, etc. Most of the stuff was completely done by other people, and it made for a rather passive "hero".

It seems as though every review ever written for this film (besides this one) compares the movie to other, lesser-quality Bond movies and praises it for sucking less than those. But if you actually look at this movie in and of itself, it's terrible in every way.

And on a side note, Eva Green looks infinitely more attractive without excessive layers of makeup gunked all over her face.

2 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
I'm ashamed to be from the same town as one of the writers., 24 September 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'd like to start off this review by openly admitting that most of what I say is copied from Terry Rossio, co-writer of Aladdin, Shrek and Pirates of the Caribbean. So it's not only my view of the film under discussion, but one of an acclaimed professional. Now, on to the review.

I went in with an open mind and an honest hope that this movie would be good. It has one of my favorite actors (Kevin Spacey), but that was the extent of the good things this movie has to offer. All other actors either A) suck, or B) are completely miscast. Kate Bosworth has the worst dye-job in Hollywood history and Brandon Routh has the personality and acting ability of a painted stick. I honestly don't remember who else was in this movie as they have left no lasting impression whatsoever.

Something I couldn't understand was how Superman and Clark Kent both return from a massive furlough on EXACTLY THE SAME DAY, yet nobody makes the connection. But that's okay. It worked in Batman Begins, right? No, it didn't work, there or here. You would think that someone who spends a considerable amount of time with each personality, someone like Lois Lane, would be able to spot the disguise from a mile away. Is it because Clark Kent/Superman has no disguise? Concerning the return of Superman, what significance does it have? None. As Terry Rossio pointed out, the topic is never explored. The title of the film is Superman Returns, but refuses to discuss the consequences and issues that arise from his return. So if he was gone for 5 years and nothing changes when he comes back, why have him leave in the first place? You may point to the Pulitzer Prise-winning article that Lane wrote about why the world doesn't need Superman. I really wanted to hear some of those reasons, but NONE of them are ever given! The reason why is because it's a completely one-sided issue. The world NEEDS Superman to save crashing space shuttles and bank robberies with advanced weaponry and from explosions and falling buildings. The world does NOT need Superman because...? There is not one good reason. There is not ONE reason. If there is, we don't know it and never will. It is another topic never discussed.

And speaking of such, what does Superman think about failing to show up to court which caused Lex Luthor's freedom? Wish I knew, but Superman does not say ONE WORD about that issue. Not a single letter in the way of the colossal blunder that caused the movie to happen. And guess what else? Superman does not say a word -- and I'm serious, this is a true statement -- Superman does not say a word about having a son.

Which brings me to yet another gigantic flaw with this film...what is the point of the kid? He is shown to be the son of Superman by one act of inhuman strength, and then literally does nothing for the rest of the film. Nothing.

So...what the hell is this movie supposed to be about?! It picks several different possible topics to explore and totally ignores every one. The villain's plan makes no sense at all and doesn't seem that big of a deal to go through all that trouble to try and achieve.

One last thing that bugged me...Superman is too powerful -- the character in and of himself, in every TV show and movie and comic. Too powerful. He has ONE single weakness, which is present in this film: kryptonite. Nnothing else can even put a tear in Superman's costume fabric. (?) So why does he struggle with a car and a space shuttle and relatively small debris, yet is able to lift an entire MOUNTAIN of KRYPTONITE and throw it OUT OF THE EARTH'S ORBIT with a shard of kryptonite pierced in his side?! How do you gauge his strength? There is no measurable way. He simply struggles with everything for the sake of making it hard on him so the audience will not be bored, not because his character is unable to deal with such difficulties.

This movie made every possible wrong decision it could, and it still got made. How? Nobody along the way took a look at the script and said "Woah, hold the phone! What the hell is this?!" Nobody at all involved in the creation of this movie had any consideration for cinematic quality. They made a horrible movie because they knew they could make money no matter what they put out.

This is a completely disgusting film in every regard.

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
I still cannot believe this film ever got made., 10 September 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It's safe to assume that there will never be another film like The Exorcist. Never.

It's not so much because of the subject matter, which is highly controversial even to this day...but the conditions of the filming. Actors were strapped into harnesses and violently yanked across the room, Friedkin shooting off guns to get a startled effect from the actors, having them work in a room that has been refrigerated to such a level that their breath shows up on screen, and everything that 14 year-old Linda Blair had to go through in this film.

Friedkin also used several single-frame inserts of the "devil's face" that some people will not even notice. Also, the strange sounds coming from the room is actually the sound of pigs being slaughtered. All of the subliminal touches and hellish conditions really add to the effect of the film. Another technique that I noticed was that there's often a cut from a loud, violent situation to a quiet, calm setting. The effect is extremely unnerving.

The climax of the film, the infamous exorcism one of the most brilliant moments in film history that still has a HUGE impact even to this day. Keep in mind that all the effects were accomplished without the use of CGI. Which is great, because if they were done with computers, it would look 1000% fake, even if they did it today.

Friedkin really shines here as director, creating many memorable scenes and dozens of physically and aesthetically brilliant shots. His use of the camera is impeccable, and this is surely the greatest film he has ever made to this date, and most likely his best of all time. It's clearly one of the most impactful horror films ever made, and one of the greatest films, period.

If there was one complaint I have, it is the archaeological dig at the beginning of the film. It really doesn't give us any necessary information and doesn't fit with the rest of the film. Other than that, everything is great, especially the cinematography and music (Tubular Bells is a classic).

I'd like to end this review by pointing out something that you will NEVER see in another film ever again. A doctor smoking in a hospital. Watch for it.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Everyone should see this movie., 14 August 2005

No film has ever touched me the same way as The Elephant Man.

When you look at the surface and see the names David Lynch and Mel Brooks involved with this movie, you will most definitely get a different view than what it is actually like before you see it. What astonishes me about that fact is that it's also a central theme for the movie: Don't judge a book by it's cover.

I have seen more movies than I can count and this is by far the most emotionally human out of them all. There are several scenes which are so devastating, that you forget you're actually watching a movie. The way certain characters treat John Merrick are simply cruel. Especially after we find out what Merrick is REALLY like. On the outside, he's a disgusting mess, but on the inside...he's one of the kindest, most gentle characters that you can think of.

The academy completely robbed John Hurt of a much-deserved Oscar for best actor that year. I'll be the first to say that Deniro's performance in Raging Bull was also amazing, but Hurt played his role in a way that no other actor in the world could have. I saw none of John Hurt in The Elephant Man...just 100% John Merrick.

This film is almost perfect. I saw almost because I am still looking for flaws. So far, I haven't found any. The story is extremely uplifting and also very sad at the same time. The acting is out of this world, and David Lynch's directing really contributes to the greatness of the whole project. The last half-hour or so is especially noteworthy. In particular, the final scene with Barber's Adagio For Strings music (used also in Platoon) helping out a tremendous deal.

Everyone should see this movie. If you are not emotionally touched by it, then you are not human.

1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Schizophrenic Hitchcock rip-off, 13 August 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Robert Zemeckis is a good director. It's too bad he blatantly resorted to copying Hitchcock rather than trying to be original. Ripping-off Hitchcock does not make your movie Hitchcockian.

You all know the plot of the movie, so I'm not going to waste my time explaining it. But what I will comment on instead is the severe "multiple personalities" of this film. First, it's a ghost story. Then, it's a murder mystery. The problem lies in the fact that there's too much going on in each story that any attempt to connect them feels overtly contrived. It doesn't gel naturally, and it leaves too many loose ends that nobody mentions after they disappear (despite making a big deal about them earlier). The biggest example of this flaw is the neighbors. First, the female lead character thinks the man next door killed his wife, and finds a bloody shoe on their porch to support her claim. Later on (much later on), we find out that the couple living next to our main characters really have NOTHING to do with the actual plot. A whole hour of film wasted on something that doesn't even matter. And they never ask for the shoe back, either...and it's never revealed how it got bloody in the first place.

I'm giving this movie a 6 out of 10 (which equals 3 out of 5 stars). The two lead characters were perfectly cast and anybody else playing their roles besides Michelle Pfeiffer and Harrison Ford would simply be wrong. Pfieffer because she is an outstanding actor (yes, actor. You don't call an author an authoress, do you?) and Ford because you will never expect him to play that kind of role...even while you're watching the movie. The cinematography is very good looking, if a little too bright. The sound design is especially noteworthy and helps a great deal in creating suspense. Alan Silvestri's 'Bernard Herrmann Psycho/Vertigo amalgam rip-off' score is too over-the-top for my liking and sometimes used when it silence would not only suffice, but enhance the viewing experience. And like I said before, Robert Zemeckis is a very talented director. He does a great job here, creating some very unique shots and generating suspense at key moments.

But one thing that really sucked was the ending. Anyone who has at least seen one thriller before will see it coming from 3 miles away. Not the big twist, but everything that happens after it: the chemical that was explained earlier for no reason at all, the killer not really being dead, the killer not really being dead for a second time, the killer following the protagonist as she makes her escape, etc. It's 10 minutes worth of film and the audience is already at 11 minutes. Personally, I don't like being able to predict what will happen in a thriller, like I did when the dog came into the bathroom during the séance.

This is a strange kind of film where there is a lot of bad, but even more good. Even the bad scenes are good, on their own. When they are all together in one film, it's still bad, however, outweighed by the good. Get it? Good.

I'd just like to say again that not only is Michelle Pfeiffer one of the most beautiful women in the history of the world, but she is also a very talented actor. She definitely deserved some kind of award for her performance in this film. She carried the movie despite it's many flaws and made it worth watching, and she should do more movies now that I think about it.

Magnolia (1999)
20 out of 38 people found the following review useful:
Pretentious, incongruous, and simply boring., 27 July 2005

I saw Boogie Nights before Magnolia, so I was obviously excited about this film. Three hours later, I found that my excitement had turned to boredom.

This film's major flaw is the characters. None of them are 3-dimensional and we really have no reason to care for any of them. They simply exist to go through random occurrences for the sake of randomness. None of them are given anything exciting to do, and none of them are nearly as developed as they should be. In fact, some of the characters don't even serve a purpose in the film at all! Julianne Moore's character is the prime suspect of that crime. She's addicted to drugs, cries over her dying husband, and tries to kill herself. And somehow, we're supposed to feel sorry for her. Guess what? Doesn't work. We are given no REASON to feel sorry for her. We are never given any reason to feel sorry for ANOBODY in this movie. They are simply there. They do things and that is it. Seriously, why the hell am I supposed to give a damn if some know-it-all brat pisses his pants?

The beginning of this film showed promise. In an over-long opening sequence, three urban legends are examined for their mysterious coincidences. But sadly, there is nothing even remotely as bizarre or exciting in the actual movie. People meet other people and that's the extent of it.

Speaking of people, let's take a look at some of the characters:

There's some kid who pisses his pants, a dying old man and his overly emotional male nurse, the old man's wife who does nothing, a cop (the most interesting character, mostly because of John C. Reilly), a drug addict (not the old man's wife, a different drug addict), the guy played poorly by Tom Cruise (unsure of his official title), a gay man who wants to get braces to impress a bartender (what?!), and many more.

Instead of actually having any reason to care about these character's unhappy lives, we are TOLD to care. Doesn't work.

Cinematically speaking, this film is actually well-directed, edited, the cinematography is great, but the music is over-used. The film could also be shortened by about a half hour by simply not following around unimportant character from place to place before they vanish and are never to be seen or heard from again. What a total waste.

If you actually believe that this film is original at all, just watch Short Cuts and you'll see the truth. Magnolia is a rip-off. A bad one where everyone has to cry every 5 minutes and sing together at the end before something totally outrageous happens for no reason at all and with no explanation.

And speaking of Exodus 8:2, you will notice a lot of 8's and 2's in the film. Thing is, it's too overt. It's pretentious because Anderson is showing people how clever he is instead of actually being clever and letting people see it on their own. I'll even give an example of this whole "cleevrness with numbers" deal with THE SHINING:

Danny wears a jersey with number 42 Danny and his mom watch the movie Summer of 42 Half of 42 is 21 There are 21 pictures on the Gold Room wall The July 4th Ball was in 1921 The mirror image of 21 is 12 (mirrors play a key role in The Shining) The two times shown via screen titles are 8 PM and 4 PM (8+4=12) The radio call sign for the Overlook Hotel is KDK 12

Anderson has a lot to learn.

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