50 Reasons “Magnolia” is my Favourite Movie

Yes. Gasp you may, disagree you are welcome to do. We all have movie preferences, favourites, dislikes and opinions. But after hours and days of examining my favourite movies, I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s no movie on the planet I enjoy watching more than Magnolia. I actually have a Top 50 favourite films list which eventually I will post to the site with reasons, but the only thing I’m sure of at the moment is that Magnolia is my favourite. Here are 50 reasons:

1: This guy:

His movies are among the best ever made. Magnolia just manages to beat There Will Be Blood and Boogie Nights, which are both high up on my Top 50.

2: Constantly wondering what Frank T.J. Mackey’s middle initials stand for.


4: Jon Brion’s terrific, pacing score.

5: Strong, strong stuff here, boy.

6: Seeing all my good friends from Boogie Nights, plus Tom Cruise and Jason Robards, who are cool too.

7: These strange things happen all the time.

8: It’s not what you hope for, it’s not what you wish for, it’s what you TAKE!

9: The shape made by a coil of rope on the rooftop before Sydney Barringer commits suicide.

10: The funky music William H. Macy plays on his car stereo.

11: There’s no 13″ penises in this movie, yay!

12: Everyone singing along to Aimee Mann’s “Wise Up”.

13: 82% chance of rain.

14: No such film has evoked such anger when it was denied all three Oscars for which it was nominated.

15: The documentary “That Moment”

16: Respect the cock and tame the cunt.

17: John C. Reilly shining his flashlight into the camera.

18: Tom Cruise pronouncing the name Jeff as “Joff”

19: Do you still want the bread, water and peanut butter?

20: Jason Robards’s monologue, which was not long and boring but moving, powerful and awesome.

21: The casually obvious nods to “Short Cuts” and Robert Altman in general.

22: The usage of Supertramp in a brilliant shot just after William H. Macy enters the bar.

23: It’s not very safe for you here.

24: The deleted scene which was a part of Mackey’s seminar (“Form a Tragedy.”)

25: The extension of a three minute version of Aimee Mann’s “One” into about six, seven or eight minutes.

26: The subtle and unnoticeable usage of the words “sperm acceptode.”

27: John C. Reilly talking to himself in the police car.

28: Melora Walters making horrible coffee and demonstrating a strange physical ability with a long and difficult name and downsizing it to the simple and awkwardly unfunny “clicking jaw.”

29: John C. Reilly making very awkward conversation with Walters in an earlier scene.

30: The fact that the line “Now that I’ve met you, would you object to never seeing me again” was borrowed from an Aimee Mann song, the superawesome “Deathly.”

31: John C. Reilly mooning the camera in an outtake.

32: Philip Seymour Hoffman in his first role as an actually likeable character (well, when you compare him to the disturbing, strange and unattractive character he played in Happiness)

33: Paul Thomas Anderson’s obvious nod to his favourite movie (and one of my favourites) Network in Stanley’s excellent meltdown scene… speaking of which….

34: What Do Kids Know?

35: Go to the card. Go to the fucking card.

36: Exodus 8:2

37: JCR’s gun falling from the sky.

38: PTA’s skilful nod to Bertolluci’s Last Tango in Paris

39: The heartbreaking meltdowns shared by so many characters.


41: The brilliant six minute prologue.

42: Dixon.

43: Marcy, don’t drag that couch any further!

44: It dares to be three hours long (any shorter would have seriously diminished its greatness).

45: Your host and my boss, Jimmy Gator.

46: Alfred Molina’s awesome cameo as William H. Macy’s boss Solomon Solomon (even though it’s got nothing on his performance in Boogie Nights.)

47: Get a calendar.

48: Stanley: You need to be nicer to me, Dad. Dad: Go to bed.

49: The tracking shot behind the set of What Do Kids Know.

50: The book says, “we may be through with the past, but the past ain’t through with us.”

Thanks for reading.


About Tyler

Patient observer of all things film and music, from Béla Tarr to Boards of Canada. Foul mouthed and clinging to the edge of sanity.

Posted on March 14, 2011, in Lists, Movies and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. i just watched it again today and i held my pee for much of it out of respect. it asks a lot of the viewer and i wanted to do my part. i can’t watch it often because it physically exhausts me, so when i did today i settled in for a full-on. it was my favorite movie of all time going into the re-viewing, and it was even better than i remembered. this film echoes throughout my consciousness and i am at least slightly better as a person because of it. it’s a movie like this that makes me feel like ‘what needs to be said has been said’ freeing me to focus on positive possibilities

  1. Pingback: 50 Things I Love About Magnolia « Southern Vision: A Blog About Movies

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