The Best Movies of the Master Paul Thomas Anderson, Director Extraordinaire

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His work is known as challenging, uncomfortable, and often emotionally intense, blessed with some of the best performances from some of our most talented actors. Not to be confused with that other cinematic genius, Paul W.S. Anderson, who gave us the hallowed Resident Evil saga, Paul Thomas Anderson is known for giving us Boogie Nights, Magnolia, There Will Be Blood, and most recently, The Master. So, yeah, some of the best films ever. These, in order, are his five greatest masterpieces.
The Best Movies of the Master Paul Thomas Anderson, Director Extraordinaire

2The Master (2012)

A pulsating, raw nerve of a film that uses a Scientology-like cult as the backdrop for the electrifying dynamic between two unforgettable characters, The Master is, like There Will Be Blood, a beautifully shot period piece with a score by Jonny Greenwood. Joaquin Phoenix hands in the performance of a lifetime as Freddie Quell, an alcoholic WWII vet with a knack for whipping up his own dangerous libations from ingredients such as jet fuel and paint thinner. Phoenix’s squirrelly, damaged degenerate meets Philip Seymour Hoffman’s eloquent L. Ron Hubbard stand-in, and is taken in by him and his organization, constantly proving along the way that he is not one to be properly tamed, much less indoctrinated (He pretty much spends the film behaving like you would suspect someone who constantly drinks jet fuel to behave). Amy Adams delivers a quiet, yet powerful turn as Hoffman’s sincerely devoted wife. The Master is a film that deals out a different, yet not necessarily less potent, brand of devastation than There Will Be Blood.
Honorable Mention

Hard Eight (1996) – This film was Anderson’s first feature, a subtle crime flick that stands at one of the best 90s entries in the genre. Hard Eight stars future Anderson regulars Philip Baker Hall and John C. Reilly, as a Nevada gambler and his protégé, as well as Gwyneth Paltrow and Samuel L. Jackson.


Well, those are just about all the films Paul Thomas Anderson has made, every last one worthy of your attention. If you’ve got some kind of gripe with the order, feel free to let us know with your own version of the list.


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