I feel like there’s a laundry list of things I’ve been meaning to do or should at least try to do. Yet as I’ve said before, time sure flies by when you’re having a bad time.
In an attempt to fight off cabin fever (it is raining and I have a cold so being outside seems counterproductive), I will try to do one of the many things I’ve been meaning to do: write. However, I’ve been discouraged to write. It’s not for a lack of ideas, but a lack of viable outlet for writing. Yes, its the internet and anybody who wants to seek it out can find it. I can use really strong tags to generate interest, but it just feels like throwing a ball against a wall. However, I’m not coordinated to catch the ball after the first bounce back.
When the news of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s passing first broke, like many people, I started to look up my favorite scenes from his work with Paul Thomas Anderson. An hour or so later, I found myself watching/listening to Paul Thomas Anderson’s commentary track on Hard Eight to hear the origin of his working relationship and eventual friendship with Hoffman. Then I put in Boogie Nights and about 90 minutes later, I realized I had somewhere to be in an hour. Listening to a young Paul Thomas Anderson talk energized me, but also made me realize just how much he’s grown as a filmmaker from Boogie Nights to The Master.
I started to think about how to write a book about Paul Thomas Anderson. There’s two books on him, but I believe the academic approach isn’t exactly right. Also, I haven’t read either book because they’re both like 50 bucks.
For what it’s worth, Paul Thomas Anderson is the best filmmaker of the video generation. Anderson has been able to funnel his influences/references/homages into his own unique form of story telling and art. On the Boogie Nights commentary track, Anderson talks about how he lifted shots from Jonathan Demme’s films and Demme didn’t realize/recognized it. Going further down the rabbit hole, you could break down his films into three periods defined by the main influences. Demme/Scorsese/Altman (Hard Eight/Sydney, Boogie Nights, and Magnolia), Tati (Punch Drunk Love) and John Huston/Kubrick (There Will Be Blood and The Master). Since I haven’t seen or read the script for Inherent Vice, I can’t exactly predict what the main influences for the film would be. I’ve read the Pynchon novel and it felt like Altman’s The Long Goodbye.
A big part of Anderson’s films especially his earlier work was the dialogue. Look at the beginning of Hard Eight, it’s just Philip Baker Hill and John C. Reilly talking over coffee and cigarettes. It’s finding the story through the characters just talking.
While the internet is killing off the format, but an oral history type of format works best for a book on Paul Thomas Anderson. It’s finding the story from its cast of characters.
I had that in my head for a couple of weeks, but never took the time to really write it down. I would just get discouraged because I didn’t have the time or money to really invest in researching and writing the damn thing. When I looked at my laptop, I would feel bad about myself because I wasn’t writing. Hopefully, just getting this out of my system and into the either will make me feel better.
I made a mix called “Live For Now”. It’s a kitchen sink type of mix because it pretty much has everything, but the musical equivalent of a kitchen sink. There’s a lot of hardcore. There’s some Morricone/Italian soundtrack stuff and some yacht rock. It’s fun and it’s very positive.
Play it loud.
Happy Valentine’s Day from the Gang.
This is going to be a rough month.