Tag Archives: Punch-Drunk Love

Punch Drunk Love: Transcendent Love (083568)

I personally find it rare that a film is carried all by one character alone, usually it is done as a group effort, multiple characters that differ in their own special ways that work together to make a film truly epic and great. However, Punch Drunk Love goes against that belief as it is all about the one character of Barry Egan, played brilliantly by Adam Sandler.

Director Paul Thomas Anderson has done a remarkable job in communicating the character and mind of Barry Egan to the audience. Throughout the entire film the audience is placed in this uneasy and unsettling almost disturbing-like atmosphere. The awkward shots and use of lens flares gives off a very surreal element to the movie and it is through these techniques that we as the audience come to terms and understanding of Barry. It is clear that Barry is no ordinary human being in the sense that he is a very strange man, most likely living with a certain mental condition that is never explained or mentioned whatsoever in the film. Rather it leaves it up to the audience to find out which is much better than resorting to spoon-feeding the audience.

Barry’s actions and responses to everyday life are what captivate the attentions of those that watch this film, that it is because of his unique and different character that we as the audience can’t wait to see how he reacts to something such as a call to a phone-sex line. What ensues is nothing short of genuine comedy, as the phone-sex receptionist struggles to get Barry to talk “dirty” instead Barry chooses to talk about his day and about his life. It is hilarious to see someone refer to a phone-sex line as somewhat of a life-coach or guidance counselor, or even a therapist as Barry talks on and on about anything other than what the purpose of that call would be for any other person.

However, what I really enjoyed about this film was how it revolved around the phenomenon of love. Being a romantic-comedy at heart, it was truly heartwarming to see someone such as Barry Egan find true love in his life. Something that may seem almost impossible given the situation and condition he’s in, one may find it extremely unlikely that Barry find someone willing to spend the rest of their life with him, and as harsh as that may sound, it is all the more joyful when he defies those odds and gets the girl.

It sends out the message that love transcends and conquers all, and what could be more feel-good than that? Filled with hilarious moments such as the absolutely ridiculous dialogue that Barry and Lena (His love interest) share whilst in bed, or when Barry and the character of Philip Seymour Hoffman, Dean Trumbell, get into an intense argument over the phone (, although it may not be for everyone, this film should not fall short of entertainment.

Although I will be honest, at first I was not all that interested in the film, the awkwardness and unsettling nature of the score and dialogue made me feel way too uneasy at first. However, after taking much time to realize what the film had done, I’ve come to appreciate a lot more than I thought I could have. Overall, at it’s core, Punch Drunk Love is a heartwarming tale of a strange man that goes against the world in his fight for true love, and in the end wins her heart.

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Posted by on 26 May 2011 in Uncategorized


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Down but not Out [Punch Drunk Love] (103461)

This was probably the first Adam Sandler movie i’ve watched
that wasn’t based on slapstick comedy or racist jokes. Most would probably read
that previous sentence and assume that Punch Drunk Love was a horrible
experiment that failed at being funny. On the contrary, the film wasn’t bad at
all. It might be Sandler’s own fault for being typecast as that funny dumb guy with
a good heart but i believe his performance (as an actor) in this film was his
best work to date.

I can somehow relate to him in terms of his being awkward.
Growing up, I found myself to be a bit more reserved compared to my peers. I
was no athlete and I wasn’t the most eloquent speaker in class. Needless to
say, I would often shy away from any birthday parties that I was invited to,
only attending if it was absolutely necessary. Okay fine I was totally an
introvert, or socially awkward as they would say. His behaviour was very
similar to mine I guess with the only difference being that I could hide all of
my insecurities and control my temper, only losing it when I was completely
alone and out of earshot.

I found his character to be quite unique in that he is
actually a pretty successful guy. He owns his own business and apparently does
well for himself. It was interesting the way he sought to take advantage of a
frequent flyer promotion because it shows that he is actually quite intelligent
and is a keen observer of details. Interesting to note is that he seems to
suffer from ADHD because one of the symptoms of this is obsessive-compulsive
tendencies. In many instances he also lies, denying that he said or did certain
things that he feels are embarrassing or humiliating.

I was very much surprised when Lena, Barry Egan’s love
interest, turned out to have the same unusual behaviour as Barry and that they
actually hit it off. It was actually giving me that whole soul mate vibe seeing
as how they are perfectly suited for each other. It was natural to see Barry
completely lose it after seeing Lena get hurt, as he has been waiting for
someone like her all his life, someone who could relate to him and communicate
with him without prejudice or malice.

I also felt irritated by his sisters who i think are too
judgmental, lacking any measure of sensitivity towards their clearly awkward
brother. They don’t even bother to try talking behind his back, instead letting
him hear of all their degrading insults.

At the end of the film I am glad to see that he found the
courage to confront the syndicate’s leader, who i don’t think was named but is
nevertheless a total jerk to him. This event signals a change in his demeanour
and could possibly symbolize the end of all of his turmoil (brought about by
the phone sex call and his refusal to pay up).

I am not sure what to think of the weird psychedelic
sequences that play out in between scenes but I suppose this would serve to
enhance the notion that Barry sees the world in a different light.

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Posted by on 26 May 2011 in Uncategorized


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Punch Drunk Love: In Need of Understanding (070660)

Punch Drunk Love is admittedly not your usual romantic comedy. For one, I think it tries to be, for lack of a better term, deep, with the way it presents itself. Even the pacing of the movie from the first act itself could be seen as quite experimental; for instance, with the use of space in that long, lingering shot of the main character at the corner of the screen, as discussed in class. This is quite unlike Adam Sandler’s usual straightforward slapstick comedy fare. (It calls into mind the brilliant casting of Will Ferrel in the movie, ‘Stranger than Fiction’; a personal favourite, and which shows that some comedy actors truly have the acting chops.) This is not saying, though, that this perceived ‘unusual presentation’ doesn’t work to its advantage.

There is something wrong with Barry Egan on the psychological level, and the film conveys this hilariously by uncovering his character through his life story. He could be seen leading an extremely uninteresting life; a dead end job, no real friends, and with nothing to look forward to. His sisters don’t exactly help as well, bringing him down and constantly reminding him of his weirdness. However, with the arrival of Lena as played by Emily Blunt, the audience is presented two people who aren’t quite right in the head as per the standards of normal society, navigating their way through the seas of love and just wanting to be understood. I found their chemistry to be somewhat questionable; though if the director’s intention was to show the awkwardness present in their relationship, then he has succeeded. A particularly awkward yet hilarious scene was when Barry and Lena were in the process of making out, and were trying to dirty talk each other, which turned out as disastrously contrived; it would make for a few laughs.

Adam Sandler can be seen to convey a wide range of emotions in this film, and his acting skills are put to the test; he is quite good with these types of movies. On the other hand, Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s performance as the emotionally unstable conman is also worthy of mention, though it is of my personal opinion that he is somewhat underutilized in this film. The supporting cast is admirable as well; with the characters giving off that awkward and unsure vibe as demanded by the movie.

But what steals the show is the direction and film elements; such as the subtle transitions and lighting effects which have been subject to much curiousity and debate. As discussed in class and also due to the supplemental readings, the bluish streaks of light are manifestations of the instances of true love in the movie. These effects, though subtle, are noticeable and provide an experimental twist to what would be otherwise a rather dry and slow paced movie. With all these elements combined, however, the film is a refreshingly unique romantic comedy in this genre which is filled with unoriginal copycats.

Punch Drunk Love’s title alone is unique in the sense that nowhere in the movie could anyone be seen punch drunk. However, it was able to capture that feeling of love? between Barry and Lena, if not the universal yearning of just wanting to understand and to be understood in return.


Miguel Castriciones

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Posted by on 25 May 2011 in Uncategorized


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Punch-Drunk Love (071289)

This was my first time watching Punch-Drunk Love and I didn’t like this movie. I agree with a comment on about this movie “Anderson seems more concerned about pushing the limits of weirdness than actual storytelling.” I think there were a lot of unnecessary and unimportant things and scenes in the movie like the piano/harmonium, the phone sex hotline girl and this thing with the pudding. Maybe these things meant something but for me they didn’t. The phone sex hotline girl might be important here to highlight Adam Barry’s loneliness but it should have ended with the call. This is supposed to be a romantic movie but the love story only happens in like what the last 40mins? They meet, fall in love, something happens and they break up and then they get back together.

It does have the elements of a typical romantic movie complete with all the cheesy lines but it didn’t seem to focus on them throughout the movie. They build this tension from the start then pours it back to you at the end. I really didn’t understand the movie as a whole. I’m glad they got their happy ending though.

Adam Sandler’s acting wasn’t something commendable. His acting here reminded me of him in 50 First Dates and Anger Management.

About the thing with the lens flares, I totally didn’t get that. Turns out it is used during scenes that show the love between Barry and Lena. I don’t know if people really noticed it or just read it online. The lens flares looked so artificially I thought it was just a camera mistake.

I was expecting a warm lovely feeling from this movie. 😦

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Posted by on 25 May 2011 in Uncategorized


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Punch Drunk Loneliness

Adam Sandler stars in this dark romantic comedy that somehow goes beyond its genre with some fight scenes and a psychological element. He plays Barry Egan, a small business owner trying to do his job despite the amount of bothering he gets from his seven sisters. It has the makings of a quirky and funny movie that would make the audience feel good at the end. Instead what the film delivers is a rather disturbing depiction of the dreariness of everyday life and how we do things to chase what we want regardless of the possibility of failure.

The lighting in the film is dim and the sets were under lit probably an indication of the darkness that surrounds Adam Sandler’s character. Overwhelmed by his sisters’ inconsideration for him, Barry Egan retreats to his solitary living. Human nature rejects this kind of isolation and so no one can judge for calling a phone sex line. This need for companionship is necessary to share life moments and make them more meaningful. There are many times when people feel this way and they try their best to come out of the rut that they found themselves in.

A string of troubles and mishaps follow him around after the phone sex line operator calls him up to ask him for his money. We can see that Barry Egan is passive aggressive as his rage and frustration are expressed in the most inopportune times. They come out in rapid and violent bursts that contradict his usual calm and patient self. His impulsiveness comes out when he chases the girl he loves. The basic need for love drives him to fly out and meet her in Hawaii. This film is one about human nature and the needs of sentient beings. There are many lonely people in the world out there and they are all in need to watch this movie about finding the right one who will accept every facet of the person.

In some scenes, leaks of blue light could be seen line across the scene. This interesting use of cinematography added touches of emotion into the story. These light leaks can be seen at the most pivotal moments of Barry’s life. Somehow, it felt as if his emotions were boiling over and spilling into the shot. The immensity of what he felt must have been that overpowering that there was a need for it to be tangible.

Some transitions from one setting to the next had some muffled talking over an array of mixed colours. Dazed, a film viewer could be confused at this seemingly arbitrary part. I found it quite clever the way they did this because it seems as if the viewer is as lost as Egan’s character. There was a constant desire to find a way out of the uncertainties but while you’re there might as well add colour to it despite the chaos it adds.

The films charms the viewers with the grittiness and real-ness it presents. There are no fantastic moments that would make you wish for a Prince Charming because Egan’s life is no fairy tale. He takes life as it comes and holds on to the rare love that he’s found.

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Posted by on 25 May 2011 in Uncategorized


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Untypically Typical : Punch-Drunk Love [092805]

I absolutely love romantic films. More than just romantic films, I love romantic comedy films. I had not heard of Punch-Drunk Love before and when we were told that we were to watch this, yes, I was excited, but I had already figured that it was not going to be the type of romantic comedy film that I was so used to. We had already seen three other films and one short film, in where I could only consider one or two as a film that I actually liked. To be honest, I was not so sure of what sir considered to be a romantic comedy film anymore.

However, as I was watching the movie and as I pondered about it afterwards, as I had mentioned in a previous paper before, I realized that the main reason why it was considered to be a romantic comedy was simply because it had all the elements of one. There was the love tandem: Barry Egan, the dorky (however, not so lovable) leading man and Lena Leonard, the leading lady who I immediately labeled as that of a “damsel in distress”, because of her “cry” for help at the beginning of the movie. In addition to that, in the film, you would see how their relationship so clearly developed: They meet. They date. They kiss. They fall in love. They fight. They make up. They live happily ever after. If given this type of story line, you would think it was a typical love story. You really would.

Little do people know, however, that even though this is the kind of story line Punch-Drunk Love was comprised of, the characters in the film and all the other elements that belong to the film, are miles apart from “just your typical love story”.

I must say, I saw a different angle of Adam Sandler in the movie. I was actually quite amused that we even viewed a film that he was a part of in this class. To be honest, my perspective of Adam Sandler in any of his movies is not exactly something I think I would be able to write about in class. I have always seen him as such a comedic, mainstream man. Some of his movies are more shallow, and somewhat even juvenile than others. To be honest, I think he acts the same in most of his movies and most of the time, if not all the time, the profusion of varying overly expressive expressions he possesses sometimes get to me. Don’t get me wrong though, I don’t exactly hate the guy. I guess I am just not a fan of his acting and his humor all the time. In this film, however, I saw a darker, not necessarily more serious, but an even weirder version of the usually happy-go-lucky kind of guy. I must say though, he played his part in the movie pretty well.

Indeed, as the movie progressed, I found myself feeling just a little bit uneasy about it. Rare did I find myself feeling that usual feeling any viewer should actually be getting while watching a romantic comedy film: Giddy. Happy. “Kilig”. The feeling which people watch these types of films for- I did not get it. The closest to acquiring that feeling though, was when Barry Egan threw what was possibly the cheesiest line in the movie: “I have a love in my life. It makes me stronger than anything you can imagine.” It was cheesy, and in a regular romantic comedy, it was typical as well, but because of all the weird and strange elements of the movie, I appreciated it. I found it sweet.

In general, I liked the movie. I am not sure if it is a film I would watch again, but I could say that it’s definitely a film I would remember- which I think is more important.

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Posted by on 25 May 2011 in Uncategorized


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Hangover Schmangover (Punch Drunk Love)

No matter how bad a hangover is, there will always be a cure at the end.

If there’s any movie in this class that has disoriented me more than my difficulty in telling left from right, then Punch Drunk Love wins by miles. The supposed romantic comedy turned into a suspense thriller for me and I know that I’m probably the only one who feels this way. It’s not that I don’t get it, because I believe I do — it’s just that I wasn’t so sure if the feelings that the movie wanted me to feel reached me right.

The part when Barry Egan visits the girl in her condo and a certain “suspense” built around it was there, I screamed. But later on, I felt very stupid for “screaming” at a car whizzing by. It’s these unnecessary takes that leave me disjointed while watching the film. There was also the scene where Barry and Lena were in bed talking “dirty” to each other that disturbed me a lot. I know that it was supposed to show us how love can take on different forms and how their relationship is, although peculiar, real. But honestly, I felt scared during this scene. Yes, scared. I felt this certain fear because I thought that the “biting off of the cheek” or “ripping of eyeballs out” kind of dirty talk in bed (I really don’t understand how that can be romantic or funny, even!) would actually come true! I thought that Barry and Lena were going to murder each other or something just merely out of “weird, immense, inexplicable love”. I know that this idea is far-fetched and seemingly irrational, but I can’t help nor blame myself from feeling this because the movie actually had a lot of elements that did not really make sense at first blow.

I understand for example, how this relation illustrates love, or how the pudding coupons illustrate patience, but there is a need for me to exert extra effort to come to this understanding. I actually appreciate how the movie makes me think about the reasons why this is happening or why that is that, and giving me assurance that all my answers will be answered in the end. Unlike Primer which literally left me lost (and it’s still ongoing!).

Somewhere along the communication process, maybe I lost the real message. I was, like the colorful orbs and swirls in the movie, put in an unnatural and foreign place, not knowing what my purpose for being there is. But when the film ended, just how I was able to put sense into why the colorful orbs were there (which I feel that were there to compensate for the movie’s lack of “color” to set the mood and emotions), I was able to put sense into my finding my way through the complicated life of Barry Egan.

Punch Drunk Love is a film that made me think, exercised my ability to analyze, heightened my appreciation for cinema and taught me to be a more critical audience. It gave me a sense of fulfillment that even though I struggled to get through the movie, I was able to reach the finish line without any part of me thirsting for answers.

I was there. And although lost and confused — I was really there.

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Posted by on 25 May 2011 in Uncategorized


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