- Actors: Tom Cruise, Jason Robards, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, John C. Reilly
- Directors: Paul Thomas Anderson
- Writers: Paul Thomas Anderson
- Producers: Paul Thomas Anderson, Daniel Lupi, Dylan Tichenor, JoAnne Sellar, Lynn Harris
- Format: PAL
- Language: English, French, German
- Subtitles: English
- Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.77:1
- Number of discs: 1
- Studio: Eiv
- DVD Release Date: 2 Jan. 2000
- Run Time: 186 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 197 customer reviews
- ASIN: B00004WCLC
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 26,328 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
Magnolia - Single Disc Set (1999) [DVD]
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Paul Thomas Anderson's acclaimed ensemble drama starring, among many others, Julianne Moore, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Tom Cruise. The lives of various inhabitants of Los Angeles and San Fernando valley intersect when dying television producer Earl Partridge (Jason Robards) seeks a reconciliation with his womanising son, Frank T.J. Mackey (Cruise). Meanwhile, game show host Jimmy Gator (Philip Baker Hall) - also dying of cancer - tries to reconcile with his coke addict daughter Claudia, who embarks on a relationship with cop Jim Kurring (John C. Reilly). Jimmy's last television appearance goes awry when child genius contestant Stanley Spector (Jeremy Blackman) - who is bullied by his father, Rick (Michael Bowen) - refuses to participate, while Donnie Smith (William H. Smith), a former contestant on the show in the 1960s, declares his love to barman Brad (Craig Kvinsland).
A handful of people in California's San Fernando Valley are having one hell of a day. TV mogul Earl Partridge (Jason Robards) is on his deathbed; his trophy wife (Julianne Moore) is stockpiling tranquilliser prescriptions all over town with alarming determination. Earl's nurse (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is trying desperately to get in touch with Earl's only son, sex-guru Frank TJ Mackey (Tom Cruise), who's about to have his carefully constructed past blown by a TV reporter (April Grace). Whiz kid Stanley (Jeremy Blackman) is being goaded by his selfish dad into breaking the record for the game show What Do Kids Know? Meanwhile, Stanley's predecessor, the grown-up quiz kid Donnie Smith (William H. Macy) has lost his job and is nursing a severe case of unrequited love. And the host of What Do Kids Know?, the affable Jimmy Gator (Philip Baker Hall), like Earl, is dying of cancer, and his attempt to reconcile with his cokehead daughter (Melora Walters) fails miserably. She, meanwhile, is running hot and cold with a cop (John C. Reilly) who would love to date her, if she can sit still for long enough. And over it all, a foreboding sky threatens to pour something more than just rain.
This third feature from Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights) is a maddening, magnificent piece of film-making, and an ensemble film to rank with the best of Robert Altman (Short Cuts, Nashville)--every little piece of the film means something, solidly placed for a reason. Deftly juggling a breathtaking ensemble of actors, Anderson crafts a tale of neglectful parents, resentful children and love-starved souls that's amazing in scope, both thematically and emotionally. Part of the charge of Magnolia is seeing exactly how may characters Anderson can juggle, and can he keep all those balls in air (indeed he can, even if it means throwing frogs into the mix). And it's been far too long since we've seen a film-maker whose love of making movies is so purely joyful. This electric energy is reflected in the actors, from Cruise's revelatory performance to Reilly's quietly powerful turn as the moral centre of the story. While at three hours it's definitely not suited to everyone's taste, Magnolia is a compelling, heartbreaking, ultimately hopeful meditation on the accidents of chance that make up our lives. The soundtrack features eight wonderful songs by Aimee Mann, including "Save Me", around which Anderson built the script. --Mark EnglehartSee all Product description
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The two actors whose stories are pretty much contained within the day of the movie -- characters for whom their personal history isn't important for the movie -- are John C. Reilly (a cop) and Philip Seymour Hoffman (a nurse). The intense moments that they experience follow credibly from what we see them DO in the movie, and as a result, they seem right (or "earned," as I put it earlier). Interestingly, both are highly sympathetic characters, and they too give very fine performances. The fact that they seem to be less damaged is perhaps related to their ability to be responsive to others, while Cruise's character and Macy's seem locked in a solipsism or narcissism. Cruise has a terrific scene (rather a number of intercuts to the same scene) in which a news reporter interviews him and starts probing his past -- it's really quite chilling (Cruise plays a male self-help guru whose schtick is motivating men to become manipulators of women). When you consider these two sets of characters structurally in the movie, then you can see that the power of the past -- and especially past within a family -- to do deep and lasting harm is one of the director's concerns. That's an old theme -- see Thomas Hardy, William Faulkner, et. al. -- but the organization of the multiple narratives gives it a fresh and involving twist.
It's that concern that makes poignant the plight of Stanley Spector, the Kid's quiz show genius, who is under severe pressure from his father (who seems in a constant state of anger for no particular reason). Stanley has a spectacular meltdown on set, and the last words we hear from him in the movie are to his father :"You've got to be nicer to me." The father isn't responsive, and we worry that Stanley will go the way of Macy's character, "Quiz Kid Donnie Smith." Yes . . . that's his past -- but we learn that early, so that's hardly a spoiler.
So . . . see the movie. There are interesting story lines that I haven't even mentioned. Music is very well used, the cinematography is unobtrusively fine, and it has a weather event at the end that (as they say) you won't believe.
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