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
Five people's lives that are curiously intertwined happen to all be at a diner at the same time. An old man (Hall) gives advice to a young man (Baltz) about his cheating wife and best ... See full summary »
Paul Thomas Anderson
Philip Baker Hall,
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Paul Thomas Anderson's original title for this film was "Sydney". Since it was his first film, and he had basically no control over it (much less final cut, like he's had on his other features since), the studio, Rysher Entertainment, re-cut the film and retitled it "Hard Eight". This obviously enraged Anderson, and through many talks and deals, he convinced the studio to let him release his cut, but with the new title "Hard Eight". Anderson later said this experience taught him that doing your best to make the best possible movie was only "half the job" when being a director. The other half was dealing with all the egos involved. 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 »
Philip Baker Hall's Sidney kept me riveted from the first scene to the last. He play the mesmerizing, enigmatic title character with rare mastery and grace. The supporting characters are no slouches either. John C. Reilly is marvelous as Sidney's sweet, if somewhat slow witted protege. Samuel Jackson could have easily coasted on this one, simply repeating a performance from any of a number of previous tough guy types. Instead he creates an entirely new character, one with a reptilian quality not seen in his usual thugs. Even Gwenyth Paltrow is unusually strong as Clem, the waitress who wants it understood that, even if she sometimes sleeps with men for money, she is definitely NOT a prostitute.
I've been a fan of PT Anderson for a while now, and this film gave me new insight into why it is I like him so much. Anderson is that great rarity in modern filmmaking, an actor's director. He gathers terrific actors and inspires them to career-topping performances. There's no fiendishly complex plot here, no nailbiting suspense, no big payoff at the end. Just marvelous actors making the most of an excellent script.
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