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Thread: I was expecting a better story from Paul Thomas Anderson

  1. #1
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    I was expecting a better story from Paul Thomas Anderson

    Punch-Drunk Love (2002) - **
    Based on the critical acclaim it has received, I had high hopes for this movie. Unfortunately, I was let down. I guess it's supposed to be sort of a romantic comedy, but I didn't think it was funny at all and the romance was a little too unbelievable for me. Emily Watson's character was the most normal character in the movie and I couldn't understand what she would see in Adam Sandler's character. He was a little too strange for my taste, and that's saying a lot for him. I guess I can take him as a funny weirdo, but not a serious one. The whole part of the movie dealing with the phone sex service gone wrong seemed lame to me. And though I liked the part about the Healthy Choice airline miles, it didn't really seem to go anywhere. I was expecting a better story from Paul Thomas Anderson. His last film, Magnolia, was one of my favorites from the 90s, but Punch-Drunk Love left me flat.

  2. #2
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    Yeah, Emily Watson's love for Sandler's character was just out of nowhere. It was really odd in an unintended way. Blah. The Healthy Choice thing was funny, but you knew that nothing bad was going to come of it as there were some serious tieups (Healthy Choice and whatever airlines they used) going on. The hitman crew of white-trashos from was really off the mark too. Felt like an afterthought or something. I didn't like this one on any level.
    Last edited by Ansonm; 10-23-2002 at 12:30 PM.
    I'll figure this out later.

  3. #3

    let down

    I agree. Punch Drunk Love was disappointing. I didn't like the romance and I didn't understand where PTA was going with the frequent flyer mile thing.

  4. #4

    loved punch drunk!

    The movie was amazing! Adam Sandlers role as Barry Egan was an amazing depiction of a guy who has taken crap from his family for years and because of that he was a time bomb just waiting to go off. As usual PT Anderson made me feel just as uncomfortable as poor Barry when had to deal with his terrible sisters.. who just don't realize how hurtfull their love actually is! The poor guy just wanted someone to talk to, and as his luck would play out... he gets blackmailed by the sleezy phone sex operator. Ironic... YES!
    This film was in no way the typical movie.. for that alone made it great. I call it a anti-movie with none of the very expected special effects or cheesy acting. Anderson developes characters in his usual dark and mysterious way, and I couldn't wait to see what happened next. PDL is more than a arthouse film, it should be viewed with an open mind and watch for the subtle connections between sound, color symbolizms and spirit that this film has an abundance of. Throughout this film I found myself rooting for Egan, you could tell he was a nice guy, just a little twisted.. (aren't we all?) The fact that this guy purchased pudding for frequent flyer miles and never intended to actually get on a plane in the first place proves his twistedness. However upon falling in love with a beautiful and understanding soul (Emily Watson), those very frequent flyer miles would be the glue that would keep them close when she traveled for her job.
    I really enjoyed every bit of this movie, it has quickly become one of my favorites of all time!

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    Re: loved punch drunk!

    Originally posted by pbenti007
    Throughout this film I found myself rooting for Egan, you could tell he was a nice guy, just a little twisted.. (aren't we all?) The fact that this guy purchased pudding for frequent flyer miles and never intended to actually get on a plane in the first place proves his twistedness.
    It was the scenes like him destroying the bathroom that left me turned off to Sandler's character.

  6. #6
    I get it. It's an original movie that deserves original opinions.
    As far as the bathroom scene... he just snapped when her heard that his sister told Watson about his rage ( that they caused!)
    He was pissed off, and PTA's depiction of his anger was exaggerated kinda like the whole movie.

  7. #7
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    Realize what the intention of the film is

    Upon seeing "Punch-Drunk Love," I came in expecting it to be short and indeed it was. I honestly don't think you should review a film for how much you should expect it to be. I mean this is a filmmaker who wants to make the film the way he sees it. So if you guys loved "Boogie Nights" and "Magnolia" think that a filmmaker shouldn't be programmed to meet your expectations. You should be open and actually appreciate what someone like Paul Thomas Anderson was trying to say. If you have a positive or negative feeling on any of his films that's ok because the test really is to see whether a motion picture did in fact work for you or not. But expectations for something just ignores that artists want to create original work and something they feel they want the audience to see.

  8. #8
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    My response

    You say it left you flat? How? Do you not feel emotion when watching a film?

    Excerpts from my review-

    One of the most wonderful features of 'Punch Drunk Love' is the soundtrack. A friend suggested a link to Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut on how Anderson will run one type of music over a long sequence of film. Although his style is different I can see the similarities. It got me thinking that this P.T. project is very similar to A Clockwork Orange in the way that himself and Kubrick used the main characters rage for cinematic effect. Kubrick used classical music combined with different camera speed. Anderson uses long takes and growing tension with haunting scores that partly play over the dialogue. He wants to build up the suspense for when Sandler goes nuts.

    Pay attention to this film, for some may say its confusing or they don't get it. I've only seen it once and have already picked up a lot (hint: look at the films lighting and wardrobe selections of all characters).

    The film feeds on contrast. Anderson fills the screen with contrasting combinations. Jarring film cuts, combined with the violent and unexpected, merge with ukulele serenades, ocean waves and all the successful ingredients for a starry-eyed romantic potion that wins the viewer over.

    If you ever had any doubt about the depth of Sandler's talent, his portrayal of Barry is proof that he can act. Between the two of them, and Anderson's ability, every aspect of the film is filled with emotion and momentum, like when Barry first meets Lena outside his workplace. As she walks away, the camera follows her and then cuts to Barry, but the sound stays with her footsteps.

    The film is complicated and quirky. It may not appeal to everyone, but it still has to leave an emotional impact on the viewer.
    " We can't run from who we are. Our destiny chooses us " - Rounders

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    Re: My response

    Originally posted by missionimpossib
    You say it left you flat? How? Do you not feel emotion when watching a film?
    I feel emotion when watching some films, but not this one. I didn't find the movie confusing or complicated, I just didn't think it was very good. I couldn't relate to any of the characters. The only seemingly normal one in the movie was Emily Watson's character and she was pretty underdeveloped. Adam Sandler's character lost me when he busted up the bathroom at the restaurant. I know some have commented on the music, but I actually found it somewhat annoying. I've read a wide range of reviews of this movie, so I know I'm not the only one who didn't care for it. I didn't hate it, but like I said...it left me flat.

  10. #10
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    It left you flat?

    I can say this... "Punch-Drunk Love" is probably my least favorite of Paul Thomas Anderson films and the only thing that left me empty was that it was short. That could have had a problem with character development I don't know what you mean by "it left you flat." Does this mean you felt empty?

    Also, I don't think not relating to a character in a film should hinder whether you think a film is good. I personally can't relate to Barry Egan because he's crazier than I am. I felt it was illogical for him to just rip up the bathroom because Lena told him his sisters said he needed a psychiatrist. Barry could have just gone and told his sisters but hey, he couldn't control himself so he just smashed the bathroom. However, I have sympathy for the Egan character because he grew up with 6 mean sisters who have picked on him his whole life. I would imagine growing up with those sisters makes it harder for you to control yourself.

    I think that how I relate to characters in film does shelter my taste. I go to see films because I want to see varieties of characters even if they aren't similar to who I am. That's how stories are the way they are. Then again, I'm probably more open than the average consumer.

  11. #11
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    Re: It left you flat?

    Originally posted by pipsorcle
    That could have had a problem with character development I don't know what you mean by "it left you flat." Does this mean you felt empty?
    Not empty...just flat, evoking no emotion in me whatsoever. It never drew me in, but left me simply as an observer...of characters and story that didn't do much for me.

    IMO, a good movie's characters will have draw out some emotion from the viewer. Whether someone you can relate to, admire, hate, pity...something! These characters didn't do it for me. By the end, I didn't really care if they got together or not.

    PTA's last movie, Magnolia, is my favorite movie of 1999. I was hoping for more in PDL. It just didn't interest me. I think it's fine that others like the movie though. It just wasn't made for me.

    Again, I didn't hate it...just didn't like it too much.
    Last edited by SinjinSB; 11-19-2002 at 05:26 PM.

  12. #12
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    I agree, self-consciously weird, but not good

    I agree with the initial posting. It seems many critics like PDL because it's such an unusual film. Granted, it is, but it's weirdness is so artificial and self-conscious, the film is more annoying than funny. Also, you're right, the relationship between Lenna and Barry seems completely arbitrary as well. I didn't see any emotional basis for it, and there is zero chemistry between the two.

    This is one of those rare films in which I think the general public has made a better assessment than critics. I talk with a couple people who saw PDL after the showing I went to and we all had the same reaction: The film is the worst kind of strange; annoying and emotionally opaque.

  13. #13
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    Empty vs. Flat

    Not empty...just flat, evoking no emotion in me whatsoever. It never drew me in, but left me simply as an observer...of characters and story that didn't do much for me.
    [B]

    Ok. When I said "empty" I implied that when I feel empty about a film, I find there's an emotion which isn't shown, that there could be more. You say the characters and story didn't do much for you. I've seen pictures where the characters and story didn't do much for me and I felt "empty." It could just be my emotion or the other films' stories might be more developed than "PDL." I don't know how "flat" fits in. Could you say that "Punch-Drunk Love" was flat in its development (i.e. no chemistry amongst Adam Sandler and Emily Watson, the events in the film's storyline being scattered out at random)? Was that in the narrative what made you to feel "flat" about the film?

    As I compare "Punch-Drunk Love" with "Magnolia," I can agree that "Magnolia" is a more accomplished film. I didn't feel as emotionally attached to "Punch-Drunk Love" as "Boogie Nights" or "Magnolia" and I felt "PDL" could have been much longer. That might have saved it in a long run. My particular tastes in film lie in long films but that's just me.

    Here's my reaction to "PDL" after I left the theatre... I felt it contained a lot of European film influences. I don't feel this is a definite but do any of you feel this way or no?

  14. #14
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    Punch Drunk Love--leaves you feeling flat?

    I want to put in a strong vote in favor of Punch Drunk Love as one of the most interesting movies of the year. Iím glad there are plenty of people out there who love Boogie Nights and Magnolia and have even gone back and watched Hard Eight, but I donít think thereís any need to compare and find PDL wanting because somehow it doesnít stack up to those, which are, after all, all pretty different from each other.

    Iím old enough to remember seeing Antonioniís LíAvventura when it first came out and I saw it with my father in NYC. Afterwards we both agreed it had made us feel very uncomfortable, but that we had loved it nonetheless. It won the big prize at Cannes for creating ďa new cinematic language.Ē Punch Drunk Love challenges the viewer and what I remember most from it is how strange it seemed, not just Adam Sandlerís character, but the way the scenes moved, especially the minimalist sequence at the beginning. For me each successive sequence had an edge, and a freshness, and thatís what stays with me as pleasure, as the sense of experiencing a ďnew cinematic language.Ē P.T. Anderson is a real movie genius, kind of like what Orson Welles was when he made Citizen Kane. His movies may be highly allusive and this one is particularly quirky, but they have a visceral effect. If PDL leaves you feeling flat, maybe you were having a bad day. Itís harder to tune in to something thatís original and a good portion of the audience doesnít usually ďgetĒ the great stuff when it first appears. Later it seems really nice to have been there for the experience.

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