Thursday, October 11, 2012

‘Punch-Drunk Love' Was Released 10 Years Ago Today

I have a love in my life. It makes me stronger than anything you can imagine.

"Punch-Drunk Love" was released ten years ago today on October 11th, 2002. If you weren't lucky enough to have caught Paul Thomas Anderson's 4th film when it debuted at Cannes (where Paul won the Best Director prize), you had another agonizing 5 months to wait. During that time the film picked up even more acclaim at festivals in Toronto, Chicago and New York. Paul's longtime producer JoAnne Sellar said of the film's genesis, "After 'Magnolia', which was a huge, dark, challenging movie. I think Paul wanted to make something that was contained, uplifting and sweet." Prior to its release it was impossible to imagine what a "90 minute Adam Sandler romantic comedy" would look like through the lense of Paul Thomas Anderson. But after you see the film, wonderful and strange as it is, you can't imagine it any other way. The film was not a commercial success and was snubbed at the Academy Awards despite being one of the best reviewed films of that year. In retrospect, the film is a pivotal one in Paul's career, marking the transition from his earlier tightly controlled films to his later more improvisational efforts.

To celebrate "Punch-Drunk Love"s 10th Anniversary, take a stroll down memory lane on our "Punch-Drunk Love" info page. There you can find interviews, production notes, artwork, trivia and more.  We'll be posting some archival bits and pieces throughout the day on Twitter so stay tuned.

I saw "Punch-Drunk Love" on opening night at Loews Lincoln Square in NYC. I was going to college in Philadelphia at the time and rather than wait another week, I decided to drive up to New York with a few friends to catch the first evening show. The film was nothing like I'd expected but I loved it all the same and proved that the filmmaker who had made "Boogie Nights" and "Magnolia" was capable of doing something different, wildly different even, than critics, fans and audiences had expected. I saw the film several more times in theatres and one final time the following summer at a BAM screening in Brooklyn with Paul and Philip Seymour Hoffman in attendance.

Where did you first see "Punch-Drunk Love"?
What are your favorite moments from the film?
Leave a comment below or use the hashtag #PunchDrunkLove10 on Twitter.

Stay tuned to Twitter and Facebook for the latest news and updates.   


  1. I saw PDL three times in the theater. I found it really interesting, but I got the impression everyone else in the theater pretty much hated it. At each screening the hostility toward the film was almost palpable. I remember on opening weekend there was a whole row of 10-year-olds sitting in front of me, clearly expecting an Adam Sandler romp and being very disappointed. (They left after the phone sex scene.)

    But my favorite moment was during the third screening. There were a bunch of teenage girls sitting behind me and they were tittering and making fun of the movie the whole time. About halfway through, I hear one of them whisper to another, "This is SO WEIRD" in an exasperated and condescending way. And the other girl responded, defensively, "It's not THAT weird." And I thought, Wow, this movie might've actually reached someone who wouldn't normally watch something like this, and maybe she had an affecting cinematic experience she'll treasure forever. I know that's what PDL was for me.

  2. I first saw "Punch-Drunk Love" in a Kansas City, MO area $1 theater. Not only did the projector break down several times, but (with all due respect) a large group of mentally handicapped moviegoers entered the theater early for the movie to follow and started making very loud and weird noises. All things considered certainly added to the surreal, original and wonderful experience the movie already provided. Not to mention my future love and wife was at my side for the punch-drunk memory! It has since become my favorite movie and its creator my favorite artist. I am Barry Egan. Thank you, Paul Thomas Anderson!

  3. will this ever come out on blu ray?

    1. came here to ponder this very question...

  4. As a young film student at Cal Arts I had the ultimate privilege to get to work as a Production Assistant on Punk Drunk Love at the tender age of 19. Paul had come to speak at Cal Arts several months prior and had offered some of us a job shortly thereafter. To this day it stands out as being the most incredible experience of my life. I got to hang out on the set for a couple of days and just watch him direct. Occasionally we'd chat a little bit but mostly I just stood back and watched with awe as he directed the opening shots of the film. He was such a kind guy, without any kind of Hollywood pretension. A brilliant mind with a genuine heart. Even all these years later I marvel that I even had the opportunity to meet him, let alone participate in working on his film. It was a transformative moment in my young life and I am deeply grateful to have been able to have such an experience.