Has he peaked?


PTA is easily one of my all time favorite directors. Magnolia, Boogie Nights, and Punch Drunk Love are three of my all time favorite movies. With this said I feel that PTA has peaked. While I enjoyed Phantom Thread and Inherent Vice, they simply are not in the same class as some of his earlier work. I feel like his last great movie was There Will Be Blood. So do you think he has peaked?

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Yes. But I'd prefer any of his new movies to... let's say Spike Jonze or James Franco or... Wes Anderson.

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I think The Master was almost on the same level as TWBB, personally - the 70mm cinematography made it special, and the performances are unreal. Inherent Vice was a disappointment for me. Phantom Thread is pretty great, gets better on repeat viewings, but yes, it's not in the same league as TWBB. I don't know, I think we're in for another classic soon. I think a lot of it could depend on the subject matter he chooses.

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Yes. It happens to every great director. Take a look at any great director and they usually have about 3 great films in their body of work and they usually occur over a specific contiguous period of time early in their career. Take William Friedkin for example he did The French Connection, The Exorcist and Sorcerer. Quentin Tarantino did Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown. PTA did Boogie Nights, Magnolia and There Will Be Blood. I also love Punch Drunk Love but its slightly a bit less impressive in terms of direction, although I think the use of sound and music is magnificent.

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I agree except Tarantino has done Django Unchained, Inglorious Basterds, Kill Bill, and now Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

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Django, Basterds and Kill Bill all have great stuff in them but they have a lot of weaknesses in them, and most of them are too overlong. Tarantino peaked with his first three films imo. A lot of Anderson's work are original and god knows what his influences are in some cases.

With Friedkin I think you could even go with The Boys In The Band, which is a fantastic film. So that's 4 in a row. He even had Cruising and To Live and Die in L.A to come as well.

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You’re a complete idiot if you think Jackie Brown is better than any of those three. Plus I would argue Inglorious Basterds is his best movie. You’re a troll and a loser

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I agree that's often the case but you do get exceptions. For Spielberg I think there are many that would cite Jaws or Raiders as his best work, and equally a similar number would say Schindler's List, which is over a decade later with numerous films in between. Eastwood has been directing movies since the 70's, but you would argue his most critically acclaimed period of work has come in the last 2 decades. Kubrick has produced what people would consider masterpieces over several decades. Same with Scorsese.

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Yes there certainly are exceptions. Its just a pattern I have noticed and pointed out. Ridley Scott is another example of a director that has directed many excellent films over the entirety of his career.

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Ha, I was thinking how Scott is one that actually fits your criteria more than most. Blade Runner and Alien IMO are masterpieces that came fairly early in his career, and nothing has been as good as those since. I mean he's done some good films since then but they've been few and far between and they aren't up to the same standard as the two aforementioned.

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Idk I find Kingdom of Heaven to be exceptional and most would say that Gladiator is as well even though I am not so impressed by Gladiator. I also thought Prometheus was almost excellent but fell short. It started off as a strong mystery and devolved into a body horror. American Gangster was also a very good film. So in that regard he certainly has directed a lot of very good movies over a long period of time.

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Scott's best film since Blade Runner is Gladiator, though that is still a bit overrated and I lose interest in the film in the second half. American Gangster I found to be boring, as with Robin Hood. Prometheus wasn't bad but had many flaws, and I sort of have to hate it on principle for damaging the Alien legacy, along with its even more inferior sequel. I haven't seen Kingdom of Heaven.

He's been a very inconsistent director for a while in the quality of films he's made, with more films I'm not bothered about than ones I am. Nothing has touched the quality of those 2 films he created back in the day.

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Michael Mann is another Director who has performed consistently at a very high level although recently seems to have trailed off a bit. Though I do love Miami Vice even though it has some minor flaws and was not well received I find what is good about it far outweighs those flaws.

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Tarantino's peak was a bit more productive than that

He also wrote Natural Born Killers, True Romance, and From Dusk Till Dawn. Though he only received story credit for NBK

I've always thought Tarantino's main strength was his writing

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He also did a punch up on the Crimson Tide script.

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No. I still think he's got another masterpiece in him.

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There Will Be Blood is the greatest film of the last thirty years or so for me, always going to be tough to top that. I thought The Master and Phantom Thread are masterpieces, and Inherent Vice a strong film not quite up there with his truly great work.

He's never made a bad film so far, and all of work ranges from 4/5 to 5/5. I won't rule him out churning out a film that comes touching distant of There Will Be Blood.

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There Will be Blood is an amazing film but for me Magnolia is my favorite PTA masterpiece with TWBB being second. Magnolia has the ensemble cast and interweaving storyline's which is very difficult to direct and also achieve such a high level of execution. Even PTA has said he doubts he will ever make a film better than that. I was not so much a fan of The Master and Inherent Vice but PTA could certainly put out another masterpiece in the future. I would love to see him work with Tom Cruise again and get TC an academy award for acting. That would be something.

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this is almost exactly what i would say - except that i don't quite rate there will be blood that highly.
but otherwise i agree with you so much that i actually double-checked your username to make sure that wasn't something i posted & then forgot about.

i actually think phantom thread might be his greatest film.
i don't think he's peaked at all.
i love boogie nights, i love punch drunk love, but i wouldn't want him to spend his career trying to replicate those films, trying to reacquire some magic, trying to meet some standard he's already surpassed.

i hope whatever he does next is completely unlike what i'd expect him to do.

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I find myself on the same page with you, again, looper. TWBB is in my Top 5 all time.

What's unfortunate is the fact that Hoffman is gone, DDL is said to be retired, and Philip Baker Hall is almost 90. PTA always has Joaquin Phoenix & John C. Reilly, but he's already done so much with them, particularly Phoenix. Of others he's known to work with, I'd love to see him try to get more out of Thomas Jane and Kevin J. O'Connor.

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He hasn't worked with C. Reilly since Magnolia, shame as he was excellent in the three films he did with PTA. Phoenix was fantastic in the Master, and was good in Inherent Vice.

I'm surprised when some that they don't rate TWBB, the film is a legit masterpiece.

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I'd like to see him work with Michael Fassbender. At least of the top of my head...before he gets old.

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I should watch more of his stuff. I've never seen much of it, to be honest. I'm not usually a fan of biopics, so films like "Steve Jobs" are pretty much an automatic skip, for me. I guess I'd say the best I've seen from him was in "Jane Eyre" (2011) and "Fish Tank". I should watch FT again, because I'm pretty sure that was the first time I had ever heard of him, so I wasn't really especially focused on his performance, but rather on the girl's story. Now that I'm aware of how much others like him, I'd like to see it again while really paying attention to him.

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I haven't seen those, other than Jobs. He's very good in Shame & he was also in 12yrs a slave (both Steve McQueen)

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"Shame" sounds like it might be interesting; a topic I haven't seen explored often. And, I actually have 12YAS, but have yet to even open it. I will soon enough. My watch list is begging for mercy. I just keep finding stuff on a whim, here lately, and I go with it.

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Even if he has peaked, I still have enjoyed the more recent, less great films of PTA. There Will Be Blood and Magnolia are my favorites. Can't choose which one I like more though. They are both so different.

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I think TWBB, The Master, and Phantom Thread are his three best movies and those are three of his last four. So I think he's at his peak right now.

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