Monday, November 22, 2010
151. Hard Eight (1996)
You know the first thing they should've taught you at hooker school? You get the money up front!
The first movie from Paul Thomas Anderson is a dark look at a Nevada casino friendship gone awry. Anderson has an uncanny ability to create characters that feel extremely familiar. The scope of this film isn't anywhere near as broad as his later movies, but it serves as an awesome introduction to his style. John C. Reilly, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Samuel L. Jackson all shine, but it is Philip Baker Hall who shines as the sage guiding the misguided young gamblers, prostitutes, and hitmen through life.
This movie also marks the completion of debut movies by my favorite directors. Just to recap here they are:
Paul Thomas Anderson, Richard Linklater, Kevin Smith, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Baz Luhrmann, Quentin Tarantino, the Coen Brothers
Barely missing this list are: Danny Boyle, John Cameron Mitchell, Wes Anderson, Richard Kelly, Lars Von Trier, and Rob Zombie