Round out your 90s Paul Thomas Anderson Film Fest with Hard Eight

 In Crime, Drama, Everything, Good

The review:

Paul Thomas Anderson’s first film holds its reveal for much too long, but is worth watching for the performances.* It’s always a good sign when I’m curious about what’s going on, but also don’t really need to know because the acting is keeping me entertained.** This is clearly early PT Anderson, but early PTA is still a better movie than a lot of mid-career directors.

The verdict: Good

Cost: free via Kanopy
Where watched: at home

Consider also watching:

Further sentences:

*Watching 90s John C. Reilly in 2019, I marvel at how even when he was young he looked middle aged. He was 21 when this was released! Aside from looking reliably middle-aged for decades, he always turns in a winning performance.
**There’s also a bit part with Philip Seymour Hoffman. He’s such a gem. I still miss him.

Questions:

  • Do you think the casino rate card trick would work today?
  • What’s your dream team of PT Anderson regulars?

Favorite IMDB trivia item:

When Jimmy (Samuel L. Jackson) and Sydney (Philip Baker Hall) have their confrontation, Jimmy mentions that he knows Sydney’s friends Floyd Gondolli and Jimmy Gator. In Paul Thomas Anderson’s next movie, Boogie Nights (1997), Philip Baker Hall plays Floyd Gondolli. In Anderson’s followup to Boogie Nights, Magnolia (1999), Philip Baker Hall plays Jimmy Gator.

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