Oh, no, it’s happening already. Paul Thomas Anderson’s much anticipated new release The Master opens this weekend and it’s already over my head. So far, some of the reviews I’ve skimmed have included the words allegory, paradoxical, expansive, and expressionism. Words that, when describing a movie, immediately set off a panic button in my brain wherein electrical impulses rocket down my spinal cord and shoot out to the TV remote operating side of my body, demanding my thumb to toggle through the channels until my taxed little noggin is soothed by this:
Ahh…that’s the stuff. Much better.
I ain’t gonna front, smart films intimidate me; and Mr. Anderson makes smart films. How do I know they’re smart? Smart people tell me so.
“I’m smart! Not like everybody says…like dumb…even Einstein couldn’t tell you what The Tree Of Life was about!”
Hard Eight and Boogie Nights I thoroughly enjoyed and both were just my speed. But then Magnolia comes along and I’m all, “Wow, these are some seriously sad and depressed people. I know there are metaphors flying in front of my face right now and I’m just not getting them. Not to mention the fact that – HOLY SHIT! NOW IT’S RAINING FROGS???? WHY COULDN’T WE HAVE JUST SEEN VARSITY BLUES AGAIN?!?!?!”
Always goes down smooth!
I admit I never gave Punch-Drunk Love any love because of my aversion of all things Sandler (save for the Hanukkah Song - even Jesus breaks that one out on guitar at parties around the holidays.) And There Will Be Blood may as well have been called There Will Be A Quiz After Revealing Your Lack of Symbolic Awareness. I was so stressed by the time that movie ended because I knew I was missing something! I always blame this anxiety on scenes where there are extended periods without dialogue. Those are always big “there’s shit going on that you’d be getting if you were only smarter” moments. I hate those and that movie had its share.
And so I admit that the thought of seeing The Master intimidates me. I’m sure I’ll just buck up and go, knowing that a whole other level to the movie will be explained to me later (“Ohhhh, so the plant on his desk that he watered everyday symbolized his physical and emotional impotence??) The thing’s got Philip Seymour Hoffman in it, so I’m sure it’ll be worth it. What about you? You goin’? Do the “smart” movies intimidate you at all?