Ranking The Films Of Paul Thomas Anderson From Worst To Best

7. Hard Eight

Phillip Seymor Hoffman The Master
Goldwyn Films

Like a lot of first features from auteurs (looking at you David Fincher), Paul Thomas Anderson's first film suffers from a bit of an identity crisis. The film follows a successful yet illusive gambler named Sydney who takes a young protégé named John under his wing in Nevada. PTA's vision often came at odds with the studio executives and the final cut resembles a film that has been picked apart by the producers in charge.

Despite PTA's lack of autonomy, Hard Eight is quite enjoyable. Phillip Baker Hall is suitably alluring as the mysterious Sydney and the subsequent reveals about his past are satisfying to watch. Unfortunately, when the film is over, not much of what you've seen will stick with you for long.

It is hard to know how much of the film is PTA trying to find himself as a director and how much of it is the studio meddling with Anderson's ideas. Regardless, the final product is neither terrible or amazing. Its worst sin is it is rather forgettable.


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