I've only seen of his stuff Boogie Nights, Magnolia and There Will Be Blood, all of which I hated.
Meanwhile... Jodorowsky, Lucky McKee and Duncan Jones (whose father is motherfucking David Bowie) can't even get funding for their projects.
_________________________ "The trouble with being a ghost writer or artist is that you must remain anonymous without credit. If one wants the credit, one has to cease being a ghost and become a leader or innovator." — Bob Kane
Source Code had reasonable box office, I'm surprised Jones is having trouble, if that's true. It wasn't that great, though. I'd still like to see Moon sometime.
I'm sure I've said it before but to me PT Anderson is one of those directors who keeps getting better and learning from his mistakes. He's become one of my very favorites, but it took a while.
His first film, Hard Eight -- which I didn't see until after TWBB -- is actually a super impressive little debut, possibly my favorite Anderson film after TWBB, and I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn't checked it out. Phillip Baker Hall is the first of many truly amazing PT Anderson main characters, and the movie actually shows a great deal more restraint and subtlety than the films that would shortly follow. Really good stuff.
I thought Boogie Nights overrated but I admired its ambition and originality. Magnolia was ridiculous and ruined by its pretentious self-indulgence and shameless melodrama -- but Anderson's unique cast of characters and his command of the mosaic storytelling technique were extremely impressive. The Altman influence is clear but Anderson's style was more propulsive and thought-provoking, with more unique overlaps in the editing and narrative, and better use of sound.
Punch-Drunk Love played a tighter, more focused game, bringing a lot of the unique voice and dark style of Magnolia and Boogie Nights while trimming away a lot of the fat. It was also the first Anderson film to feature a truly brilliant soundtrack. The soundtrack for TWBB has been lauded (and rightly so) but PDL's plinky little electronic score with its nods to Popeye was something I found really enjoyable and original. Its emphasis on the psychology of the protagonist reminded me of Polanski's movie Repulsion.
Finally TWBB brought back the scope and ambition of BN and M in a more historical context, but to me it was also evidence of a lot of lessons learned. While still melodramatic and over-the-top in its way, it didn't suffer from the embarrassing, hypersentimental excesses of BN and M, and everything was brought into clean focus by Lewis's performance and the beautiful cinematography and sound. It also showed his increasing level of mastery over the fluid, self-overlapping narrative style seen in BN and M (fitting Arvo Part should be on the soundtrack, who strove for a similar effect in his music); the scenes rarely stop and start the way one expects, the framing is looser, with one eye always trained on the cumulative effect being created. If ever there was a movie that moves like a piece of music, it's TWBB. I found the movie's sum effect extraordinarily powerful, both intellectually and emotionally. I remember being so stunned and overwhelmed after the first viewing, like my brain could only half-process what I'd just experienced. I have friends who had more critical reactions -- and there are definitely a few qualms I have with the movie -- but TWBB is just fundamentally my Cup of Tea, I guess.
As to The Master, I can't wait to see what Anderson's up to this time around. Clearly the actors here are making an effort to bring their "A" game and go for something different. Just on the basis of the teaser I already feel pretty intrigued by Freddie Quell.
It is a thinly veiled account of the early years of Scientology with The Master as L.Ron Hubbard, the Master's wife Mary Sue as Hubbard's wife Mary Sue and the Phoenix as nobody but a story telling device, just like Danny DeVito was in Hoffa.
A rough cut was screened for Tom Cruise who was said to have not been happy about it.
I have no idea how it will come out, in terms of a quality movie or in terms of a criticism of the cult of Scientology.
How would "Nixon" have been if it was called, "The President" and been about a fictitious president who looked like Nixon with a mustache. How would "Hoffa" have been had it been about a fictitious labour leader who looked like Jimmy Hoffa but with a mustache.
Also, most people don't know much about Scientology except that it is the church of Travolta and Cruise. Many if not most people have an over all bad impression of it. I say this because I read a survey. In Canada it is not a religion but a para-religion. In France it is not a religion but a sect. In both those countries it has been criminally convicted. Scientology is only a religion in the US because of a decision made in the tax office by a man named Fred Goldberg, who was under tremendous pressure when he made it. This Hollywood look at Scientology could support it or suggest that it is a transparent fraud to all but a few.
Strangely, the big story on it becoming a religion was in The York Times, written by old fanzine publishers Doug Fratz, now Douglas Fratz.
There has been at least one other Scientology film, Steve Martin's Bowfinger, which gets it pretty close. South Park did a bang on attack of it. The Simpson's skirted around it.
In comics there has been an E-Man issue with the Psychobabbler, an issue of Wasteland where Del Close writes about playing tennis with L.Ron Hubbard in the '50's, an issue of Fantastic Four where they encounter Xemu and the 5th dimension but most of all there is Donald Duck who wears a sailor suit and works his butt off while a rich old man pays him $.30 per hour. I hear there is a DC robot who acts like a Scientogist as well. I also hear that Howie Chaykin tried to sell a story with a Scientology subplot which was nixed. I stress, that is a rumour.
Anyway, the organization has a reputation, well-deserved, for being litigious. People are scared into silence. Let's see if that changes anything in the movie.
Also, the cult doesn't seem to be doing too well. With the rise of the internet the word is out and it seems to be hard to get new members. When I was a kid they claimed repeatedly, and in print, to have 15 million members and to be the fastest growing church in the world. Recently they have claimed as many as ten million followers. People who are in the know say that they have about 40,000 members throughout the world. This film may be the final nail in the coffin, though I wouldn't bet the mortgage money on that.
I would be that if Tom Cruise stood up and said, "I made a big mistake. L.Ron Hubbard was a fraud. There is no science in Scientology," it would shatter like a piece of glass.
I hope the film is bigger than Gone with the Wind.
Jeez, granfalloon, that longer post above might be one of the most thoughtful, best written things I've ever read on Comicon. --Lawson
Loc: Mason, MI, USA
granfalloon, I think the Howie Chaykin Scientology subplot to which you refer was a storyline in DC's late '80s Shadow series, wherein he fights the members of a cult invented by a 1940s science fiction writer. The story was written Andy Helfer and illustrated by Bill Sienkiewicz (issues 1-6) and Joe Orlando (Annual 1, the prologue).
Ted J. Kilvington, Jr.
"I still have that comic, only now it's in liquid form!"