Music Video of the Day: The Steps by HAIM (2020, dir by Paul Thomas Anderson)


I’m the youngest of four sisters and everyday, I’m thankful for that because I would seriously be so lost without them in my life.  I think that’s one reason why I like HAIM.  The Haim sisters remind me of my older sisters and that’s especially true in the video for The Steps.

The song, of course, is about a relationship that, if it hasn’t ended yet, is coming to an end.  The messiness of Haim’s morning routine perfectly mirrors the lyrics of the song, in which the narrator says that every time she tries to move forward, her lover gets mad at her for “making a mess.”  There’s something very liberating about HAIM’s messiness in this video.  It’s not just the fact that they’re throwing stuff all over the apartment and stumbling out of bed (which is the way I think most of us wake up but it’s something you rarely see in movies or music videos, where everyone wakes up refreshed and ready for a photo shoot) but it’s also the fact that there’s none of the fake glamour that you might expect to see in a music video like this.  It’s a song about freedom and being yourself and if that means making a mess then make a mess.  It’s a liberating song and a liberating video.  It’s not a video where HAIM tries to live up to some pop princess archetype.  This is a video that says, “This is who we are and fuck you if you can’t handle it.”

That said, I have to admit that I’m a compulsive cleaner and my natural instinct is to usually tidy up so my room has never looked as messy as my life.  I guess I should be happy about that because otherwise, I don’t think I’d ever be able to find anything.  And that’s okay.  It’s okay to be messy.  It’s okay to be neat.  What matters is that you’re being yourself and not allowing anyone to force you to try to be someone else.

This video, like most of HAIM’s recent videos, was directed by Paul Thomas Anderson.  The film critic Armond White has argued that Anderson’s work with HAIM is actually superior to most of his recent films and I think White might have a point.  (Before anyone starts yelling at me, I don’t care whether or not you like Armond White.  He’s a consistently interesting writer and someone has to be willing to be a contrarian.)  There’s a definitely naturalness to Anderson’s videos with HAIM, as if anything could happen at any moment.

Enjoy!

Music Video of the Day: Try by Michael Penn (1997, dir by Paul Thomas Anderson)


I was going to do one of the videos that Paul Thomas Anderson directed for Haim today but I changed my mind at the last minute.  That’s nothing against Haim or the video.  Haim’s great and their videos — particularly the ones directed by Anderson — are frequently brilliant.  It’s just, for whatever reason, I knew that today was not the day to write about their video for The Steps.  That day will come soon.

Instead, I wrote about the video for Michael Penn’s Try.

Try was the very first music video to be directed by Paul Thomas Anderson.  He directed it while he was editing Boogie Nights.  Michael Penn, of course, did the score for both Boogie Nights and Anderson’s earlier Hard Eight.  He can also be spotted in Boogie Nights, playing Nick in the recording studio and incredulously reacting to the efforts of Dirk Diggler and Reed Rothschild to record their own album.

When watching this video, pay attention to the blonde gentleman wearing the Planet of the Apes t-shirt.  He shows up twice and, at one point, holds the microphone into which Penn is singing.  If he looks familiar, that’s because he’s actor Philip Seymour Hoffman!  When I first saw the video, I honestly didn’t recognize him.  I just thought he was some random crew person who got the job because he could run fast enough to keep up with Penn.  Of course, once I learned that Hoffman was in the video and I rewatched it, I immediately spotted him.  I think it says something about what a good actor Hoffman was that, even in something like this, he could be so convincing that, despite being one of the most recognizable actors in the world, he still became somewhat anonymous.  He disappeared into the role.

Thomas Jane and Melora Waters (who played Todd and Jessie St. Vincent in Boogie Nights) are also in this video, standing at the end of a a long line of exhausted dancers.  (This was meant to be a reference to the film, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?)  There’s one other Boogie Nights reference, which is kind of interesting considering the fact that he and Anderson supposedly didn’t get along during filming.  Keep an eye out for door with a purple 9 on it.  That’s a reference to Burt Reynolds, who wore the number 9 when he played college football.

Enjoy!

4 Shots From 4 Films: Special Burt Reynolds Edition


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

Today would have been Burt Reynolds’s 84th birthday.  In honor of a legendary career that is only now starting to really be appreciated, here are 4 shots from 4 of Burt’s best films.

4 Shots From 4 Films

Deliverance (1972, directed by John Boorman)

Smoky and the Bandit (1977, directed by Hal Needham)

Sharky’s Machine (1981, directed by Burt Reynolds)

Boogie Nights (1997, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson)

Music Video Of The Day: Summer Girl by HAIM (2019, dir by Paul Thomas Anderson)


What happened to summer this year?  Seriously, it’s just kind of flying by.  We’ve got August and then the first half of September and then it’s going to be Autumn again!  Get out there and enjoy yourselves while you still can!

Today’s music video of the day is all about summer.  It captures a few essential truths.  Number one, it’s fun to get undressed in public.  Number two, if you take off enough clothes while walking down the street, some dude with a saxophone will undoubtedly start following you.  What I like about this video is how everyone is both intrigued and annoyed by the saxophone player.  This is a video that just captures what it’s like to be young and have your entire future ahead of you.  It also captures the feeling of summer!

This video was directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, who apparently has directed a few films as well.  No, not the Resident Evil films.  That’s a different Paul Anderson, all together.

Enjoy!

6 Good Films That Were Not Nominated For Best Picture: The 1990s


Continuing our look at good films that were not nominated for best picture, here are 6 films from the 1990s.

Dazed and Confused (1993, dir by Richard Linklater)

 An ensemble cast that was full of future stars, including future Oscar winners Matthew McConaughey and Ben Affleck.  A killer soundtrack.  A script full of quotable lines.  Dazed and Confused seemed like it had everything necessary to score a Best Picture nomination and perhaps it would have if the film had been set in Los Angeles instead of the suburbs of Atlanta.  Unfortunately, Richard Linklater’s classic was overlooked.

Casino (1995, dir by Martin Scorsese)

Martin Scorsese’s epic gangster film had all the glitz of Vegas and Joe Pesci to boot!  Despite being one Scorsese’s best, the Academy largely overlooked it, giving a nomination to Sharon Stone and otherwise ignoring the film.

Normal Life (1996, dir by John McNaughton)

Life, love, crime, and death in the suburbs!  John McNaughton’s sadly overlooked film featured award-worthy performances from both Ashley Judd and Luke Perry and it definitely deserves to be better-known.  Unfortunately, the Academy overlooked this poignant true crime masterpiece.

Boogie Nights (1997, dir by Paul Thomas Anderson)

Paul Thomas Anderson first made a splash with this look at the porn industry in the 70s and 80s.  Along the way, he made Mark Wahlberg a star and briefly rejuvenated the career of Burt Reynolds.  Though both Reynolds and Julianne Moore received nominations, the film itself went unnominated.  Oh well.  At least Dirk Diggler got to keep his award for best newcomer.

Rushmore (1998, dir by Wes Anderson)

Though the film was nominated for its screenplay, the Wes Anderson classic missed out on best picture  Even more surprisingly, Bill Murray was not nominated for his funny yet sad performance.  Murray would have to wait until 2003’s Lost In Translation to receive his first nomination.  Meanwhile, a Wes Anderson film would not be nominated for best picture until Grand Budapest Hotel achieved the honor in 2015.  (That same year, Boyhood became the first Richard Linklater film to be nominated.)

10 Things I Hate About You (1999, dir by Gil Junger)

This wonderful take on Shakespeare not only introduced the world to Heath Ledger but it also proved that a teen comedy need not be stupid or misogynistic.  Because it was viewed as being a genre film (and a comedy to boot!), it didn’t get any love from the Academy but it continues to be loved by film watchers like me!

Up next, in an hour or so, the 2000s!

4 Shots From 4 Paul Thomas Anderson Films: Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood, The Master, Phantom Thread


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking.

Yesterday was the birthday of one of our greatest filmmakers, Paul Thomas Anderson!  This edition of 4 Shots From 4 Films is dedicated to him and his brilliant career!

4 Shots From 4 Paul Thomas Anderson Films

Boogie Nights (1997, dir by Paul Thomas Anderson)

There Will Be Blood (2007, dir by Paul Thomas Anderson)

The Master (2012, dir by Paul Thomas Anderson)

Phantom Thread (2017, dir by Paul Thomas Anderson)

 

Music Video of the Day: Across the Universe, covered by Fiona Apple (1998, dir by Paul Thomas Anderson)


In this video, Fiona Apple serenely covers the Beatles’s Across the Universe while chaos reigns all around her.

Fiona recorded this cover for a 1998 film called Pleasantville and the video follows along with Pleasantville‘s plot of a black-and-white world descending into chaos as the result of a little color being added.  That said, I would argue that this video is far superior to the film because Pleasantville was directed by the always heavy-handed Gary Ross while this video was directed by Fiona’s then-boyfriend, Paul Thomas Anderson.  While staying true to the themes of Ross’s film, Anderson still brings his own signature wit to the video.

Enjoy!

Scenes That I Love: The Awards Ceremony From Boogie Nights


I would like to think that when the Palme d’Or is awards in Cannes, it’ll be half as exciting as when Dirk Diggler (Mark Wahlberg) picked up his second Best Actor trophy in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights.

Now, the scene below is actually the extended version of the scene that actually appeared in the movie.  In the movie, you just see Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds) watching his latest film and then cut to Dirk picking up his award.  In the extended version, we get to see everyone’s reaction to Dirk winning.  They’re all there — Burt Reynolds, William H. Macy, Nina Hartley, John C. Reilly, Melora Waters, Luis Guzman, Julianne Moore, Heather Graham, Don Cheadle, Robert Ridgely (as the memorably corrupt Colonel), and, of course, the dearly missed Philip Seymour Hoffman.

I can understand why Anderson chose to go with a shortened version of this scene.  Boogie Nights is a long film and obviously, it wasn’t totally necessary to see how everyone reacted to Diggler’s victory.  (By that point, in the film, we already knew how everyone felt about him.)  That said, I do prefer the extended version.  If nothing else, it’s a reminder that Boogie Nights was more than just the story of Dirk Diggler.  Instead, it was the story of a group of outcasts who became a family.

Anyway, let’s hope that whoever wins the Palme d’Or will be a bit more enthusiastic about it than Dirk.

Music Video of the Day: Little Of Your Love by Haim (2017, dir by Paul Thomas Anderson)


(Sorry, everyone.  This is one of those videos where you going to have to click on “Watch on YouTube” to actually watch it.  I know.  That sucks.  Didn’t we fight a revolution and write a constitution to prevent stuff like this from happening?  Oh well.  Anyway…)

Happy Valentine’s Day!

This fun little video from Haim features a lot of dancing and was directed by Paul Thomas Anderson!  Someday, Anderson needs to direct a feature-length musical.  Spielberg can produce that West Side Story remake if he wants but he needs to hire Anderson to direct it.

(Some may point out that it would have made more sense to have picked Anderson’s video for Haim’s Valentine for today’s music video of the day.  They would be right, except for the fact that the Valentine video lasts 14 minutes while this one is a brisk 3 minutes and 39 seconds.)

Enjoy!