Sunday, January 12th, 2003
Paul Thomas Anderson has always made big, dizzying films that are as polarizing as any contemporary filmmaker. Either you love his stuff and hold him up as genius, or you hate it and tear him down as the living embodiment of pretension. His latest Punch-Drunk Love, is a decidedly smaller film than his previous works. Instead of a broad cast of characters and stories, there’s only one storyline – but it’s still a perplexing one. In the hands of another director, it would probably have come out as a charming and heartwarming romantic comedy, but Anderson instead adds enough tension and peculiarity to keep the audience from getting too comfortable. And the periodic fits of rage by the protagonist help in that department, too.
Much ink has been spilled in heaping laurels on Adam Sandler’s performance. And it’s true – he’s exceptional in the role. I’ve always suspected that behind all raging idiot schtick there was a capable actor, and am happy to see I was right. Sandler perfectly captures the repressed, on-the-edge desperation of Barry Egan. Granted, it’s not an enormous stretch from some of his comedic roles, but where those were caricatures, this is a real and complex character. He makes Barry a deeply sympathic and a little bit frightening character. I for one felt great empathy for him, and could relate to how he realized Emily Watson was his probably his last, best hope for happiness. Bravo, Adam, and we’ll forgive you Eight Crazy Nights, but don’t mess up again.
I wish I could find a harmonium in the street.
Bettie Serveert will be coming to North America to tour their new album, Log 22 in March and April! There better be a Toronto date in there.
So apparently we’ve got a candidate for drummer coming down to rehearsal tomorrow night. He responded to an ad I put up on the Anti-Antenna message board, and sounds promising to me. But then, my criteria are pretty much, “Knows which end of the stick is which, will show up to rehearsals”. Not too demanding! Fingers crossed, anyway.
np – The American Analog Set / Through The 90s: Singles And Unreleased