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HARD EIGHT

HARD EIGHT

HARD EIGHT

1996 / 101min / 35mm

DIRECTOR: PAUL THOMAS ANDERSON

CAST: JOHN C. REILLY, PHILIP BAKER HALL, GWYNETH PALTROW, SAMUEL L. JACKSON, PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN

An auspicious debut that was also somewhat atypical among Anderson’s films for its small cast and obedience to genre rules, this tight, terse neo-noir introduces the first of the writer-director’s makeshift families: Sydney (Philip Baker Hall), a professional Reno gambler; John (John C. Reilly), a simple, skint “stranger” who Sydney decides to mentor; and Clementine (Gwyneth Paltrow), the escort who John falls for. With Samuel L. Jackson as an unwelcome reminder of Sydney’s past, and Philip Seymour Hoffman in a simply massive cameo. (“Shaka lacka doo, shaka lacka doobie doo…”)