Paul Thomas Anderson's New Rule: Don't Say You Hate a Movie

Paul Thomas Anderson's New Rule: Don't Say You Hate a Movie
The accomplished filmmaker gave some special advice to John Krasinski. 

It's hard to believe that it's been 20 years since PTA broke onto the scene with San Fernando Valley Porn Industry epic Boogie Nights. Since then he's released many artistically driven movies, often nominated for and winning major awards. As the industry has shifted away from the indie-scene of the 1990's, PTA's voice has endured. 

According to Indiewire, he gave some advice to John Krasinski, director of last years breakout A Quiet Place, about how artful movies such as his survive or won't.

Krasinski said that he was talking to Anderson about a movie he'd seen recently and said: "It's not a good movie." 

Krasinski went on, "He [PTA] so sweetly took me aside and said very quietly, 'Don't say that. Don't say that it's not a good movie. If it wasn't for you, that's fine, but in our business, we've all got to support each other... You've got to support the big swing. If you put it out there that the movie's not good, they won't let us make more movies like that." 

John Krasinski clarified that the movie in question was something artsy, which qualifies some of PTA's statement. 

The question this leaves us with is are indie art-house movies in such danger that we're not allowed to dislike them vocally anymore? It does seem more and more that the tentpole release guides the industry, the smaller quirky dramas are harder to come by. The big swings are barely taken. 

On the other hand, is it fair to ask other filmmakers to hold their tongue? It almost seems a tad defensive on Paul Thomas Anderson's side, as the maker of so many polarizing big swing types of movies. When you consider what the average Anderson film costs to make, what it brings in, and how much it stands in contrast to the rest of the way the industry works these days, you wonder how much this advice was motivated by self-preservation. 

Anderson wasn't telling the average movie-goer that they should take care not to say they hated a movie, rather he was asking this of a fellow filmmaker. At least, that's how it seems. Maybe he'd just like to see more people within the industry step forward and defend the big swings, since they are fewer and farther between. 

For me, Anderson and Boogie Nights were major sources of early inspiration. I saw that movie and knew I wanted to know more about making movies. It was absurdly funny and deeply human. I've been singing it's praise ever since. 

Many of his other movies left me feeling cold, and certainly less engaged. I love where Anderson's heart is at with this rule and advice for Krasinski but at the same time, I sort of wish the industry gave more big swings to new voices. 

Hasn't PTA taken an awful lot of big swings now? We only got PTA in the first place because people were willing to take a chance on a young filmmaker with fresh ideas and a jolt of energy. 

I want more new voices in cinema, by any means necessary. Where is the next PTA?      

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Your Comment


Call a spade a spade.
Privileged people always look for depth and existentialism in shallow sources mostly because they're coming from places of little-to-no culture whatsoever. Many times films are just flat out trash and there's nothing wrong with saying it. Just because there's an audience for something doesn't make it any less trash. Trash has audiences and cult followings all the time, regardless of the mediums. Hell I have a collection of movies also that are complete garbage in almost every way except cinematography, but you won't catch me fooling myself into saying they're "good/not for me". Some things objectively CAN be judged and others are subjective as well.

No need to sugar-coat things that don't need to be. Some films are genuinely obtuse, yes. But usually the gray goop consists of trash. Indie and studio alike.
Bad films is bad. Period

We also have PLENTY of new voices, new unique voices in film today. The problem is that we're TIRED of hearing the same elements from the same demographic; so everything is bland and flat out dull. Maybe if folks quit looking at Eurocentric elements as the PRIMARY source for filmmaking; an end all be all standard, maybe we could get somewhere on a different, stronger path collectively as filmmakers.

Don't care for a next PTA. I'd much rather hear from the next new creative genius on their own steam. Not someone to call the "next"-anything/anyone, really.

January 4, 2019 at 11:02AM, Edited January 4, 11:07AM


I will continue to say that the movies I think are bad are bad. It's good for artists to get honest feedback, we can be supportive of all efforts without hedging our language and avoiding saying what we think.

January 4, 2019 at 1:56PM, Edited January 4, 1:57PM

George Edelman
Producer and Screenwriter

A Quiet Place was horribly overrated.

January 4, 2019 at 6:06PM

Henry Barnill
Director of Photography

it was mindnumbingly boring and pretended to pass as a "cool experiment", A Quiet Place was the Beverly Hills bland life version of the apocalypse.

January 11, 2019 at 10:09AM


Disagree with PTA on this one. Some trash needs to be called out as such.

January 4, 2019 at 7:59PM

Vincent Gortho

Coudn't disagree more with PTA. Closing ranks around crap does nobody any favours. His stated motivation is that of a coward.

January 4, 2019 at 11:09PM

Minor Mogul

I hate Magnolia.

January 5, 2019 at 5:14AM


me too buddy, me too!

January 11, 2019 at 10:10AM


IMO As a working professional I wouldn't want to bash a movie in the chance that I might be working the some of the people involved in the future. If I really didn't feel a movie I might talk about missed opportunities and things that could've been improved upon craft wise, because it's about making better movies.

January 5, 2019 at 1:13PM


I think it's more that you shouldn't be arrogant to the point to think that you're taste dictates what is good or bad.

There are technically well constructed films that have fallen flat for me, there are some that I feel are even arrogant or pretentious. But then I hear people say they same about other films I love. In some cases it really is just a matter of different people valuing different things and being effected differently.

The problem is that people are egocentric, they write reviews stating "my problems" with a film as if that has any relevance. There might be some valid points to be made but at the day you are not going to react to a film the same as everyone else.

It's a sliding scale, there is a point where most can generally agree that something bad is bad... but then there are still some innocents who "never listen to critics because they are always wrong" that still think its good. So just defend the films you think you need to defend and who cares about anything else.

January 5, 2019 at 9:44PM, Edited January 5, 9:59PM


This is kind of a weird post with some weird responses. I think the first thing I would think about it is that it doesn't matter, it's a non issue. Some people will always think that we shouldn't be overly critical about polarising work, some people will always think that we should.

There's discussion to be had about films, of course, and it can be fun, but it doesn't need to be that you have to be on one side or the other. People should be prepared to be proved wrong about a film, or have their mind changed rather than sticking to their pointlessly proud guns. I know people who I respect, even love, who like films that I think are absolute rubbish. I'm not sure any of it matters that much.

I understand where PTA is coming from with this though. It's a conversation between filmmakers, which is a different thing. It seems like all he was asking was for Krasinski not to spread negativity about a film he didn't like. I think that's fair enough.

January 7, 2019 at 6:13AM

Liam Martin
DP, editor, part time director

a Trash film is a Trash film, plain as that, some films deserve that title and should bear it with honor, Transformer films, Fast and the Furious Sequels (i actually liked the 1st one) i mean some films are entitled to it, because there is a dishonest view and a producer who only wants profit for the sake of profit, they don´t care for a cinematic experience, for a sincere observation of life, they just want to roll the curtain and charge you a ticket, that´s it, the true of life. Hollywood is a machinery, when they apreciate their writers and directors you can get wonderful films from Christopher Nolan or Aronofsky or even Dennis Villeneuve ) but when all they care is to milk the cow even after it´s fucking dead, even after its fucking rotting and dry as the Sahara Desert, believe me they will create more and more trash, just to keep the pump running. A Bad is film is Bad and i call Magnolia´s ending bad even There will be Blood ending is over the top and kinda bad, the rest of the movie is a masterpiece. Kudos. P.D: Ironic that PTA called before Fight Club and No Country for Old Men bad films, how ironic.

January 11, 2019 at 10:16AM, Edited January 11, 10:18AM