Projections - Movie Reviews


With such a wealth of talent involved, it's a shame that the result is a very unpleasant film.

The theme, if you dig hard enough to find one, is that chance and coincidence play an important part in most people's lives.  Different and seemingly unrelated characters and stories unfold in confusion during a single Los Angeles day.

Tom Cruise plays an obnoxious self-appointed sex guru hawking sex self-help tapes on TV.  His ribald, explicit rantings promise to teach men how to seduce a woman by using the most offensive crude language.  Jason Robards plays an old dying man, Julianne Moore is his hysterical wife, and Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Talented Mr. Ripley) plays Robard's home nurse.  Bill Macy is a one-time kid quiz show star and Philip Baker Hall plays a game show host.

None of these people are worth getting to know.  Loud, flawed and unhappy, they scream at one another for the most of the mind-numbing three hours it takes this film to unfold.

Nine separate plots converge at a rat-a-tat pace, while obtrusive music plays in the background.  There's no redeeming qualities in these mixed up humans and watching them going through their selfish antics is not just boring - it's annoying.

Painful stories can be told effectively, but this script, written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights), is a continual onslaught to your senses and good taste.

This film is currently being acclaimed as innovative, as if anything that's daring is automatically worthy of praise.  It's as if the nastier the characters are or darker and outlandish the script, it must be worth seeing.  What I want to know is: whatever happened to good old fashioned entertainment?

It is rated R for unending obscenities, drugs, violence and sex.


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