Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Most Romantic Exchange of All the Aughts

JA from MNPP here, chiming in with what I consider to be what that there title proclaims: the most romantic exchange of the Aughts. It came at us in 2002, the year Nat's literally just finished giving some love to and has moved on from. But Paul Thomas Anderson's Punch-Drunk Love refuses to be pigeon-holed with such small simple concepts as time! All is fluid in the land of Barry Egan's erratic brain. Anyway, that exchange:


Barry: I'm lookin' at your face and I just wanna smash it. I just wanna fuckin' smash it with a sledgehammer and squeeze it. You're so pretty.

Lena: I want to chew your face, and I want to scoop out your eyes and I want to eat them and chew them and suck on them.

Barry: OK. This is funny. This is nice.

If Eternal Sunshine hadn't come along two years later, PTA's light-dappled ode to two crazy people finding solace in each other's crazy would've gotten my vote for the most romantic movie of the Aughts, period. As is it has to take solace in being only the second most lovely thing I saw in the whole decade. But nothing Clementine and Joel spat at each other came as close to making my heart burst into little interstitial title-cards of undulating color and star-fields like this bonding moment between sweethearts Barry Egan and Lena Leonard. I like to think their whispering sweet horrible violences at each other today, in some hotel in Hawaii, where it really looks like Hawaii there.

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9 comments:

amir_uk said...

Oh gosh, I loved this film! And love it even more after that write-up and those stills. The way that light suffuses that close-up. Ah! Minor masterpiece. Nice one, JA.

NATHANIEL R said...

what a great appreciation. I love their romance too. and I especially love the Popeye tune that PTA uses to underscore it.

JA said...

I just watched it last week - I watch the film probably at least once a year - and the Popeye song is STILL stuck in my head. How perfect is Shelley Duvall's voice as the voice of their romance? Who would've thought of that other than PTA?

And now my brain's running off with me and I'm imagining a world where PTA could lure Shelley out of retirement and cast her in his next film. I miss her. And those stories a few weeks back about her complaining about having been abducted by aliens or whatever, those only made me miss her more. I mean, what else would we expect Shelley Duvall to have been doing? Of course she's in the desert being crazy, talking to Maritans with her car's headlights. And bless her for it!

Anyway PTA should find her and bring her back to us, the end.

Moviezzz said...

As much as I love PTA, think MAGNOLIA is one of the very best of the 90's, that exchange is one of the scenes that made me not love PUNCH DRUNK. It is my least favorite of his films.

JA said...

Moviezzz, you're hardly alone there. I'm always on the defense about this movie. I think even more than his other films it's aimed at a pretty specific and odd target that a lot of people find off-putting. I love it for that though - I love how bizarre it is, and how uncomfortable and overwhelmed it makes me feel every time I watch it. And I worship all of PTA's movies but PDL is and probably will always be my heart's favorite (meanwhile my gut goes for Boogie and my brain goes for Blood).

Kyle said...

It certainly has a magical charm doesn't it? PTA is Hollywood's best director in my eyes. (Boogie Nights may be my favorite movie of all time)

Though, I think "Before Sunset" wins "most romantic movie of the Aughts" for me.

Anonymous said...

I was just about to say the same thing (about "Before Sunset").

Wait, but there's also "Brokeback Mountain". And "Once". We should probably take a poll to settle this.

rosengje said...

Before Sunset. Always Before Sunset.

pomme said...

"stage beauty" and every Jane Austen movies also