I think we’ve been going at this all wrong. I think actually the only other artist who deserves to be called “Lynchian” is Paul Thomas Anderson, because no two people on this planet are more apt and able to create works I stare at thinking “what the absolute living fuck am I watching.” They’re Difficult Cinema — what they make is excruciating, but also unworldly dazzling. Incomprehensibly stunning imagery, a profound barrage of batshit ideas, deeply off-putting, mesmerizing, arduous, I hate watching them, I love the experience. That thing. That David Lynch thing. That Paul Thomas Anderson thing.
And another corollary: are their works misogynistic, or do they actually hate and fear men? It’s always hard to say with these filmmakers who make such well-realized indictments of the global ruination that comes from toxic masculinity, and yet are adored by so many male moviegoers, not all of whom could possibly be supplicating at PTA’s latest feat like “o father o brother, lance this troubled sea within my breast, let me See,” which is the only way I’ve been able to imagine would be the experience of watching these movies as a man.
Anyhow. The Master. Truly one of the most beautifully colored and composed movies I have ever seen. Every new shot was breath-catching, framable, like looking at a work of art. And Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Amy Adams are absolutely unreal talents. I have no goddamn idea what any of their characters were doing in this movie, but watching them in this felt like, forgive me, watching masters. It was like an exercise. It also felt like exercise. I am exhausted. God I am so glad I never have to watch this again.