Monday, August 05, 2019

Great Moments In Movie Shelves #189

"This happens.
This is something that happens."

When the final act rain of frogs descends on Paul Thomas Anderson's 1999 masterpiece Magnolia the film checks in on every character to see how they're handling this Biblical Moment, and naturally the Quiz Kid Stanley Spector, cloistered away in the safety of his school's library, seems to be handling this great big new information just fine; better than the rest, I'd wager. 

To put it in Stanley's older shadow self Quiz Kid Donnie Smith's terms, "It is not dangerous to confuse children with angels" -- Stanley's the only one who smiles, who immediately senses the opening up of the world's possibilities through this act of absurdity. I know I personally felt like Stanley when I was sitting in the movie theater watching Magnolia -- this is a way movies can tell stories; this is a thing that can happen, in screenplays.

It was Stanley's story that hit me the hardest emotionally on a re-watch of Magnolia last night -- I'm sure that the disgustingly 29-year-old PTA felt some kinship with the pressures wunderkind kind when he made the movie, already having Hard Eight and Boogie Nights at his tail and wondering which route he'd take from here. I'm happy to report, here just about 20 years later, it looks like PTA made it. He done wised up.

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