Given that Paul Thomas Anderson's "Inherent Vice" opens in two days, what a great time to explore... "The Career of Paul Thomas Anderson in Five Shots"
Remember the movie Magnolia? One of the themes running through the movie was of amazing coincidences and chance. This story of a people getting hit by trains near San Francisco this week mentions one such coincidence. A man was hit by a train, and on that very train was the chairman of a "nonprofit group whose goal is to reduce the number of train-related collisions, deaths and injuries." The additional fact that this safety group leader was enroute to give a speech on grade-crossing safety makes it approach urban legend status, but it did indeed happen.
This year's list of Oscar nominees seems way, way off. But here's my big five predictions given their lame choices (along with my personal faves if I could choose anything): best pic: American Beauty (Magnolia), Actor: Denzel Washington (John Malkovich), Actress: Hilary Swank (same), Supporting Actor: Tom Cruise (Philip Hoffman), and Supporting Actress: Angelina Jolie (same, she was amazing).
(probably my last post about Magnolia) There were a few 'easter eggs' in Magnolia worth mentioning. What may be the first non-555 phone number in a movie was mentioned, but I can't remember it, if anyone tracks it down, please post. There was the 1-877-TAME-HER number that was mentioned on every ad done by Tom Cruise's character. You can call it and hear a special message. If you don't feel like leaving your computer, you can use dialpad.com to make the call. Also, at the end credits of the gameshow, they flash a URL, wdkk.com, which maps to the Magnolia website. At one point, a audience member of the quiz show has a sign that says 'Exodus 8:2' which I looked up, and it reads 'And if thou shalt REFUSE to let [them] go, behold I will smite all thy borders with frogs'. Usually when I see a movie, I don't pick up on these things, I guess Magnolia really was that good.
More Magnolia-esque links. There were several well-known urban legends mentioned in the movie; the stories about the 3 men hanged, the scuba diver found dead in a wildfire, and the old suicide jumper shot while falling. There was also some stuff about raining frogs, and the only things I could find about it were: this newsgroup message, this other ng message, and an entry at the urbanlegends.com site.
I just saw Magnolia, and went looking for interviews with P.T. Anderson, the writer-director. I found one on a fan site, with a bunch of great insider stuff, but I wouldn't suggest reading it unless you've seen Magnolia. Too many spoilers.