Magnoliai is a very amusing movie.
You have Julianne Moore, who's pretty much what Horseface Whatshernameii aspired to be her entire life : the poster child of broken, desperate, fearful and self loathing third wave feminism. The prozac-addled anti-bullying, non-violent, gay-friendly minority-inclusive generation that fucked up America. Those people. So she's basically playing herself, as it were. I suppose it's probably bitter for them both to remark that the only reason Moore made the cut where Horseface didn't is... well... Moore
looks used to look eminently fuckableiii. Nothing else.
You have Philip Seymour Hoffman, who plays fags exclusively. Flawless is his defining moment, and I suspect he's also playing himself, there and everywhere.iv
You have some token black woman involved, too! She's playing an anonymous reporter, trying to slant reality into what her politically correct stencils allowv. I suspect she's also playing herself.
So basically you have a bunch of fashionable idiots, in the pop style so pervasive momentarily. Kitsch culture and pseudo knowledge of "everything" in the sense of "stuff". And you have a very mean, very merciless young director that lets them go at it.
Paul Thomas Anderson sits and watches while these fucktards make strawmen out of whatever they find in their immediate environment and then proceed to fight - and win!!!!eleven - the battle with the scarecrows in their own heads.
It's a thing of cruel beautyvi, roughly the equivalent of a loony bin director secretly moving all his patients to a movie set while they sleep, then hopping them up all full of caffeine as they wake up, and telling them they've been set free. All of this just so that normal people can laugh their ass off at the pointlessness of freedom for the intrinsically captive.
And so the movie proceeds, relentless. The various ingeniosos hidalgos charge blindly against a set of windmills which they believe to be located in a village called Mensch. Men are crap, you see, because "they cheat". As if this has anything to do with anything.vii Men are evil because they don't give a shit [about random nonsense selected specifically by the criteria that men don't give a shit about itviii]. Men are so and so and back and forth and let's discuss men more, please, because we really don't care and we don't worship them and it's not this fascinating grandiose thing we sorely painfully lack and would go on our knees for in a heartbeat if only it deigned to bless our hollow, miserable sad depressed pointless existance with a second of its warm, slightly sticky glorious attention and oh my god what have we become and what's the point of it all!
As I was saying... quite an amusing movie. I do hope that Anderson moves on from mocking the mentally handicapped to slightly more difficult targets, however.———
- 1999, by Paul Thomas Anderson, with Tom Cruise. [↩]
- The disfigured lead of that HBO series about that group of four stringy old hookers that somehow hallucinate episodes of an alternate reality in which they're socially adjusted, employable and even employed, in touch with reality, stuff like that. [↩]
- On the first and most superficial of examinations. Which is apparently all it takes, perhaps because men don't really care what's inside, and so a wholly disgusting piece of vomited crap if well polished can be a leading lady. Wouldn't ever make it as a leading man, but as long as she's a woman... [↩]
- Which incidentally is NOT what an actor does. People playing themselves aren't really actors, they're just pathetic failures trying to get someone else - in this case movie goers - to pay for their therapy. I guess it's better than trying to offload the cost on taxpayers indiscriminately, but still, everyone'd be a lot better off if they just recorded their little therapeutic activities for the benefit of their doctor alone rather than expect society generally to get involved in what's eminently a private affair. Then again this is part of the complex psychopathology of the gender-and-role-confused group : trying to get people who honestly and flatly don't give a shit either way somehow involved. [↩]
- "He has", you see, "something that needs to be cleared up". She's interviewing some minor celebrity with a shady past that's in no way related to his present activity. It's not the case that he's a politician campaigning on a family platform with a history of bigamy. He's some schmuck selling self help nonsense that also happens to have taken care of his dying mother, changed his name and lied about his academic qualifications. That's the "something" that "needs" to be cleared up. It's not the reporter that likes to bring it up as often as possible because who knows, maybe the guy goes nuts and joins her weird sect if rattled enough, just like Tom Cruise ended up doing IRL with the Scientology scam. Oh, no. It's not that. "It" just "needs" to be "cleared up". Very objective and everything, for srs.
In passing, the screenwriter (who happens to be the director) doesn't quite know what "defeatist" means, but hey, it's a big word, right ? Something smart people use. It's what cultured people say, so... dump it in there. What can it possibly hurt ? It's not like the redditors watching this film straight are liable to notice or anything, and it's not like people with actual educations, actually cultured, people with money and jobs and suits and secretaries - secretaries, Jerry! - can possibly take this entire thing any other way than as a parody. [↩]
- Perhaps the best definition of art, by the way, "cruel beauty". [↩]
- Here's a hint : the notion of "cheating" only exists in a certain system of representation. It has not of the same weight as "men", because men exist in all possible systems, not in just this particular one. And since the particular can never be the essential of the universal, this entire discussion is an exercise in failing senior Logic, or freshman History of Thought, or basic common fucking sense. [↩]
- This is exactly right : the entire intellectual universe of modern "feminist" thought, if such a thing may be contemplated for a moment, is populated with a list of all those things men don't care about, and for that reason only. It consists of nothing substantive, in and of itself, other than the cliquish inclination of the butthurt practitioners, manifested as "let's pile up all the things men don't care about, so we may feel special and like we have an identity". And the more irrelevant or deeply stupid those things are the better, because sane men are then that much less likely to ever start considering them, and so our sense of apartheid and fake identity is quite safe hooray. [↩]