Thursday, June 18, 1998

Flagpole Special (1998)

This 17 minute short was shot by PTA for inclusion at the RETinevitable 1 which is held at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge in New York. Paul made the film specifically for the festival at Adam Levite's request who incidentally designed the cover art for the Criterion LaserDisc & Boogie Nights 2 Disc Platinum Series DVD. The short lays the early groundwork for the Frank "TJ" Mackey character as John C. Reilly & Chris Penn spend the entire film talking about how to "Seduce and Destroy" women. Here's a brief summary of the short by Res Magazine from their Summer 1998 issue: "Paul Thomas Anderson premiered "Flagpole Special", a single seventeen-minute locked-off take on digital video of the torsos of two guys - a long haired, bicycle panted, chubby ranting about women as his pal idly strums his electric guitar. Based on a conversation Anderson found on a discarded audiotape, the characters, portrayed by actors John C. Reilly and Chris Penn, managed to keep up their inane dialogue for an irresistibly mind-boggling amount of time like a flesh-and-blood Beavis and Butthead." The press screening was ruined by an audio malfunction (see the Entertainment Weekly article below), but was eventually fixed before the screening held for the public. Here's the piece EW ran on their website.


The director of "Boogie Nights" and other film notables screen their new experimental films Directors Paul Thomas Anderson ("Boogie Nights"), Atom Egoyan ("The Sweet Hereafter""), and Harmony Korine (writer of "Kids") screened their new experimental films Tuesday night in a show of short films and art installations at RET.inevitable, a sprawling art event in Brooklyn that showcased cutting- edge music and cinema. David Byrne, actor/director Vincent Gallo, and techno artist Moby were among hundreds of downtown denizens who packed the catacombs beneath the Brooklyn Bridge. Films were projected on 50- foot stone walls and ceilings, while DJs mixed beats to video collages of flashy graphics intercut with scenes from such flicks as "Rollerball" and "Clueless." It was a night for young cinematic talent: The only trace of the Hollywood old guard was director Peter Bogdanovich's cameo in a short film by Francis Ford Coppola's daughter, Sofia. The directors' presentations veered from the inspired to the shocking. Egoyan's "Peep Show" used double exposures and dramatic film tinting that made it hard to follow the action. Music- video director Spike Jonze earned cheers for his hilarious short, "How They Get There," which showed how a harmless flirtation can end in a brutal car crash. Unfortunately, Anderson's eagerly anticipated work, a short video called "Flagpole Special," was ruined by an audio malfunction (Please note: this was only during the press screening. It was shown to the public with no audio problems).
Courtesy of Entertainment Weekly - Josh Wolk - 6/18/98


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