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Hard Eight
#1
I got this on DVD the other day, I found it was fullscreen after I bought it, FUCK. I saw it a few years ago and was impressed by it. I watched it again today and it's still a great little film and a solid debut from PTA, you can see flashes here and there of the style he would later unleash in Boogie Nights and refine in Magnolia. The cast is terrific in this film, Philip Baker Hall is the consumate professional, I really like how PTA casts underrated performers in his films like Baker Hall, Reilly and Sam Jackson, the scene where Sydney begs for his life is terrific and also where Jimmy tells him not to look down on him. I'll also mention even Paltrow turns in a good performance and I usually can't stand her.

The whole film is like a slow burn, it's not particularly plot driven, to some that be seen as a weakness but it can also be a strength as this film is more a character study than anything else.

One final thing I'll praise is the score by michael penn and Jon Brion, it's brilliant and I can see why Brion is so in demand now, he coats the whole film in a great noirish score tinted with his own pop styling. The piece that plays before the main title credit is my favorite, just amazing, I'll also give props to Michael Penn for his contribution.
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#2
A friend of mine loaned me this on DVD a few years ago, and I remember really liking it. His copy was widescreen as I recall though. Has there been more than one release? I'm not 100% sure about the extras on the disc, but there were definitely scenes from the Sundance workshop, and maybe even a PTA commentary.
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#3
I got a barebones single disc which is also fullscreen. I know there's definitely a widescreen edition with extras available. I saw it on Amazon. I also read PTA actually got fired and was unable to release his own film, even though there were positive reviews, it mostly went unseen, it only got released after Boogie Nights brought him attention, I think.
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#4
i almost bought it, but then i saw it was full screen, and i said no way am i buying a full screen version of a PTA movie. what next? full screen Sergio Leone?
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#5
For me this is PTA's best film, and my favorite of his.

The presence of the Paltrow has the potential to derail the movie in a couple of scenes, but she doesn't.

I've got the widescreen one, it's got commentaries and the sundance thing, and other stuff.

So far everyone I've shown this movie to has been blown away by it.
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#6
Hall's performance is what makes this one an interesting film to watch. I would also agree that as annoying as Paltrow can be she came off pretty good here.
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#7
I just love that shot near the end where Sydney sits in the chair waiting for Jimmy to come home, such a badass moment and elevated even higher by the score.
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#8
Just finished. Still love it. Remarkably assured debut from PTA. Feels like the 70's; a great vehicle for the actors to show off. The score is a quiet killer.

Film really brought Philip Baker Hall back from obscurity. He nailed the role.

Philip Seymour Hoffman's one scene is hilarious. (/taunting/ "I don't wait for old people!"Wink

Remember when this came out, I thought Gwyneth Paltrow was something special. Nice to be reminded.

Sam Jackson was also great. He excels playing these kind of charming vulgarians.

Of course John C, Reilly!

"Got concrete rhymes, been rappin' for ten years and

Even when I'm braggin', I'm bein' sincere"



"Teenage angst has paid off well/ Now I'm bored and old"


"Drunk as hell, but no throwin' up

Half way home and my pager still blowin' up"


"I'm tired of living all alone
yeah, nobody ever calls me on the phone
But when things start getting bad
I just play my music louder"





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#9
Quote:

Originally Posted by Dragon Ma
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I got a barebones single disc which is also fullscreen. I know there's definitely a widescreen edition with extras available. I saw it on Amazon. I also read PTA actually got fired and was unable to release his own film, even though there were positive reviews, it mostly went unseen, it only got released after Boogie Nights brought him attention, I think.

No he played it at Cannes, but there was a big struggle with the producers of the film... he ended up taking it and making his own cut and then submitted it to Cannes, where he ended up with the attention he deserved. I think he was sued, but obviously that amounted to nothing.
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#10
I first watched this around the same time as The Cooler, and to be honest I'm having trouble separating the details between the two. I don't mean to detract from High Eight, I was quite impressed by the fact that this was PTAs debut film. From what I can tell there are no obvious signs that it was made by a new director.
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#11

I was due for a re-watch.  Still love this film.  Why can't Philip Baker Hall be the star of everything?



Check out CIGARETTES & COFFEE, the short film that HARD EIGHT is essentially an expansion of:



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