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take two old and dying men , a lifetime of regrets , a house full of sins , a thoroughly despicable man , enough lies , insecurities and other character defects to keep a team of psychiatrists gainfully employed , then add a inexplicable meteorological and amphibian-based phenomenon and you will have summed up magnolia , the newest film from paul thomas anderson ( boogie nights ) .
the movie tells multiple stories , weaving them together , or overlapping them during the course of its three hour running time .
would that the stories were worth the telling .
earl partridge ( jason robards , a thousand acres ) is dying of cancer .
bedridden , in much pain , it is obvious that his time is growing short .
his much younger wife played by julianne moore ( an ideal husband ) is surprised to find herself struggling with his impending death .
having married for money , she discovers that she has actually fallen in love with the old guy and regrets having cheated and lied .
earl regrets having cheated on his first wife and estranging himself from his only son ( tom cruise , eyes wide shut ) , now a misogynist self-help guru who teaches men how to " seduce and destroy , " his sexual and vulgar perspective on male/female relationships is so over-the-top as to be utterly unbelievable .
meanwhile , jimmy gator ( philip baker hall , the insider ) is also dying of cancer .
not as physically incapacitated as earl , jimmy is still able to perform his duties as the lovable host of a long-running quiz show which pits adults against children .
the current whiz-quiz-kid is stanley spector ( jeremy blackman in his film debut ) who is tired of the pressure of performing and is willing to call it quits .
on the other hand , quiz kid donnie smith ( william macy , mystery men ) would like nothing more than to return to the spotlight when he was a " somebody . "
his pathetic life is souring as he can no longer capitalize on his brief 15 minutes of fame which stanley is all too eager to relinquish .
jimmy has his own family crisis as his drug-addict daughter ( melora walters , boogie nights ) refuses to have anything to do with him for reasons which are not disclosed to us until the end of the film .
grabbing at one last attempt at happiness she reaches out to a softhearted cop ( john c . reilly , never been kissed ) even as she tries to push herself away from him because she deems herself not worthy of his affection .
this dysfunctional group carries on for what seems to be an interminable two-thirds of the movie .
and then it gets worse , literally raining frogs .
yes , frogs .
assuming it to be an intended deus-ex-machina device , it is an ineffective one because it doesn't seem to faze the characters much .
oh , they may step gingerly around the splattered frog corpses littering the streets , but otherwise , the frog shower didn't seem to change their behavior or pattern of living ( or dying ) .
there is simply too much going on in this movie and most of it is distasteful to watch .
mr . anderson further obscures the film by incorporating a loud and intrusive sound track that often drowned out the dialogue , a character who apparently rapped a significant clue to a plot development which was completely unintelligble , and a heavy handed segment of " historical " occurances containing ironic twists which set up absolutely nothing .
one of the recurring themes is found in a line donnie quotes : " we may be done with the past , but the past is not done with us . "
this is an absolute lie .
god is in the forgiveness business .
in fact , as we humbly ask for forgiveness and repent or change our offending mindset , god's word says that he not only forgives , he also forgets .
" i , even i , am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake , and will not remember thy sins . "
isaiah 43 : 25 [kjv]
the spiritual one who keeps bringing up our unrighteous past is the same one who wants to keep us in a state of condemnation .
don't let him .
next time your spiritual adversary reminds you of your past , take great pleasure in reminding him of his future .
he hates that .
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