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#020 Paul Thomas Anderson: There Will Be Blood vs. Inherent Vice w/ guest Brandon Calvillo of “Vine”

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In today’s episode Nate and Austin compare Paul Thomas Anderson’s best and worst rated films, There Will Be Blood (2007) and Inherent Vice (2014), respectively. Nate has no idea what’s going on half the time, Austin has the hots for Daniel Day-Lewis, and Brandon is still that guy on the internet who does things.

Check back next Sunday at 7pm PST where we will compare James Cameron’s Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991) and True Lies (1994), his best and worst rated films.

Brandon Calvillo will also be in a movie coming out in July called FML. Find him on Twitter @BJCalvillo.


Today we have something a little bit more special than a behind the scenes clip. For this PTA episode we interviewed actor Jim Meskimen (@jimrossmeskimen), who appeared in There Will Be Blood and Magnolia as well as almost 200 other live action and voice acting roles over his career. He illuminated many of the questions we had about working with PTA and what it was like on set. Enjoy!



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Inherent Vice Notes

Worst Rated

PLOT: In 1970, drug-fueled Los Angeles private investigator Larry “Doc” Sportello investigates the disappearance of a former girlfriend.

  • Ratings: IMDb 6.7 | RT 74% C / 52% A
  • Released: 2014
  • Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
  • Writer(s): Paul Thomas Anderson (screenplay), Thomas Pynchon (novel)
  • Cinematographer: Robert Elswit (Nightcrawler, Magnolia)
  • Notable actors: Joanna Newsom, Kartherin Waterston, Joaquin Phoenix, Jordan Christian Hearn, Jeannie Berlin, Josh Brolin, Eric Roberts, Serena Scott Thomas, Maya Rudolph, Owen Wilson, Reese Witherspoon, Martin Short
  • Budget: $20 million
  • Box office: $14.7 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • Reese Witherspoon filmed all of her scenes in four days. Director Paul Thomas Anderson loved working with her so much that he and Joaquin Phoenix, who famously worked with Reese in Walk the Line (2005), began talking with Witherspoon about possibly changing the story so that her character would be around more. However, ultimately the actress convinced the two that it wouldn’t be a good idea, something that in retrospect Anderson agrees with.
    • According to director Paul Thomas Anderson, Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon “have their own language and short hand” with each other. While their natural rapport helped to show the chemistry between their characters, this led to Anderson having to constantly remind them to stop chatting so that they could film.
    • This film is the first adaptation of any of Thomas Pynchon’s novels to be produced for the screen. Paul Thomas Anderson’s script for the film reportedly has the blessing of Pynchon himself.
    • To celebrate the premiere of the film, the famous Alamo Drafthouse theater in Denver, Colorado (where marijuana use is permitted by law) organized a party bus tour where attendees were encouraged to smoke as much marijuana as they saw fit. Paul Thomas Anderson was present on the bus, but amiably declined to partake in the festivities.
    • Robert Downey Jr. was originally attached in the lead role but Joaquin Phoenix ended up taking the role due to Paul Thomas Anderson deciding he wanted to work with Joaquin again. Downey reported that Anderson thought he was “too old” for the role, essentially – not because of scheduling conflicts.
    • Paul Thomas Anderson’s previous venture into adapting a novel, There Will Be Blood (2007), diverted greatly from the source (Oil! by Upton Sinclair). By contrast, this adaptation adheres very closely to the plot and even dialogue of the Thomas Pynchon novel.
    • Paul Thomas Anderson reportedly went about adapting the book by typing it up word for word, then proceeding from there.

There Will Be Blood Notes

Best Rated

PLOT: A story of family, religion, hatred, oil and madness, focusing on a turn-of-the-century prospector in the early days of the business.

  • Ratings: IMDb 8.1 | RT 91% C / 86% A
  • Released: 2007
  • Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
  • Writer(s): Paul Thomas Anderson (screenplay), Upton Sinclair (novel)
  • Cinematographer: Robert Elswit (Nightcrawler, Magnolia)
  • Notable actors: Daniel Day-Lewis, Barry Del Sherman, Paul F. Tompkins, Dillon Freasier, Kevin Breznahan, Jim Meskimen, Randall Carver, Paul Dano, Ciaran Hinds, David Willis, Hope Elizabeth Reeves, Jevin J. O’Connor, David Warshofsky, Charles Thomas Doyle, Colleen Foy, Russell Harvard
  • Budget: $25 million
  • Box office: $76.2 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • While on location in Marfa, Texas, No Country for Old Men (2007) was the neighboring film production. One day, Paul Thomas Anderson and his crew tested the pyrotechnical effects of the oil derrick fire, causing an enormous billowing of smoke, intruding the shot that Joel Coen and Ethan Coen were shooting. This caused them to delay filming until the next day when the smoke dissipated. Both this film and No Country for Old Men (2007) would eventually become the leading contenders at the Academy Awards a year and a half later.
    • The infamous “I drink your milk-shake!” is, in part, a real quote. Paul Thomas Anderson found the metaphor in congressive transcripts from the 1920s Teapot Dome scandal, in which New Mexico Republican Senator Albert Fall was convicted of accepting bribes for oil drilling rights to various lands. According to Anderson, “I think it was Albert Fall, who was asked to describe drainage before Congress. And his way of describing it was, ‘If you have a milkshake and I have a milkshake, and my straw reaches across the room …’ I’m sure I embellished it and changed it around and made it more Plainview. But Fall used the word milkshake, and I thought it was so great. It was mad to see that word among all this official testimony and terminology – a fucking milkshake. I get so happy every time I hear that word.”
    • Daniel Day-Lewis improvised the speech he gives to the citizens of Little Boston, about building schools, bringing bread to the town, etc. Paul Thomas Anderson says of this, “It was delicious. It was Plainview on a platter.”
    • Dillon Freasier (who plays H.W. Plainview, the son of the character played by Daniel Day-Lewis) was not an actor; he was an elementary student near the film’s West Texas shooting location. On the radio program “Fresh Air with Terry Gross,” Paul Thomas Anderson told Gross that when the production was trying to convince Dillon’s mother to allow Dillon to be in the movie, his mother wanted to figure out who Day-Lewis was, so she rented a copy of Gangs of New York (2002) (in which Day-Lewis plays a murderous gang leader nicknamed “The Butcher”). She panicked at the idea of her son spending time with the man she saw in that movie, so the ‘There Will Be Blood’ casting department rushed to her a copy of The Age of Innocence (1993), in which Day-Lewis plays a civilized and gentle man.
    • Daniel Day-Lewis accepted the role of Daniel Plainview as he had been a fan of Paul Thomas Anderson’s previous film, Punch-Drunk Love (2002). According to Producer JoAnne Sellar, the film might not even have been made at all if Day-Lewis declined the role.
    • Every Wednesday night during editing, Paul Thomas Anderson and company would have just steak and straight vodka for dinner to keep in the mentality of Daniel Plainview.
    • Daniel Day-Lewis appears in every scene of the film, with two minor exceptions – he is not present in the scene where Eli Sunday (still covered in mud) berates his father, or in the brief montage of H.W. and Mary Sunday leading up to their marriage.

 

Intro music: Calm The Fuck Down – Broke For Free / CC BY 3.0

 


 



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