Boogie Nights bought Paul Thomas Anderson enough creative capital to do whatever the hell he wanted on his next film, and he spent every penny of it. He delivered 1999’s Magnolia, a 3+ hour melodrama that follows a dozen main characters and culminates in a rain of frogs.
This is a glorious, full-hearted mess of a movie. It could easily lose 20-30 minutes (something Anderson himself now admits) and yet its grand ambition is one of its greatest charms. And as a time capsule of Anderson’s early development as an auteur, I’m glad it exists in its fascinating, imperfect original form.