Pop Culture Rants Archives

October 3, 2011

On Punch-Drunk Love

In what’s bound to be my most topical post in months, I’d like to talk about Paul Thomas Anderson’s 2002 film Punch-Drunk Love. I haven’t seen it since it came out, at which time it ranked as my least favorite Anderson film and my third-favorite Adam Sandler film. (This is the one opinion of mine that hasn’t changed; at the time of its release, I’d only seen Magnolia and every Adam Sandler star vehicle ever made. Since then, I’ve caught up on Anderson’s filmography and found myself blown away by Hard Eight, then There Will Be Blood, and finally Boogie Nights.

About a year ago, I had a hankering to see Punch-Drunk Love again. It’s taken me this long to get to it, and the results will in no way surprise you: it remains a big, ramshackle mess, almost anchored by a career-best performance from Sandler and beautiful, artsy-fartsy cinematography by Anderson’s go-to cinematographer, Robert Elswit.

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Posted by D. B. Bates on October 3, 2011 4:18 PM  | Permalink  | Print-Friendly  | Comments (0)

May 23, 2011

Sandra Bullock: Clinically Insane Like a Fox

Sandy, the aurora’s rising behind us, the pier lights our carnival life forever
Oh, love me tonight, and I promise I’ll love you forever…

I came to a very important conclusion after Tarini dared me to watch All About Steve: Sandra Bullock is either slyly demented or batshit crazy. I’m not usually one to dish on celebs or speculate on the mental well being of Hollywood actors, but this… This is different. I’m not some paparazzo hiding in her bushes, trying to find out if she feasts on the flesh of the recently deceased. This is simply an outside observer looking at her oeuvre and coming to the only obvious conclusion.

The last two Bullock movies I saw — All About Steve and The Proposal (both of which Tarini dared me to watch, because she hates me, and I watched because I hate myself) — are the sorts of films where every single scene prompts the most vital question in all of cinema: “Why?” When the closing credits finally scroll up, it prompts the second most vital question in all of cinema: “What the fuck did I just watch?”

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Posted by D. B. Bates on May 23, 2011 6:38 PM  | Permalink  | Print-Friendly  | Comments (0)

February 18, 2008


With the critical accolades, awards nominations (and wins), boffo box-office, a can’t-lose premise, and a fine ensemble directed by the man who made 2005’s best movie (Thank You for Smoking), I don’t think I was looking forward to anything more than Juno. I even had usually reliable friends raving about this thing. One said, “It’s the rare movie where you can believe every good thing said about it.” He has very discriminating tastes, so it didn’t even seem as much like quote-whoring as it looks there, nakedly in print. He acted astonished and impressed, and I decided, “I must see this movie.” Unfortunately, laziness prevailed, so I didn’t bother to see it until two weeks ago…

…and then I nearly walked out before the first scene gave way to the opening credits. The only thing that kept me there, aside from hardly earned money that could no longer be refunded, was all the external goodwill this movie had built up. But right off the bat, my first thought: “This is some of the worst dialogue I’ve ever heard.” Seems like as good a place as any to start.

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Posted by D. B. Bates on February 18, 2008 10:58 AM  | Permalink  | Print-Friendly  | Comments (39)