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November 10, 2023 97 mins

Welcome to Director Watch! On this AwardsWatch podcast, co-hosts Ryan McQuade and Jay Ledbetter attempt to breakdown, analyze, and ultimately, get inside the mind of some of cinema’s greatest auteurs. In doing so, they will look at their filmographies, explore what drives them artistically and what makes their decision making process so fascinating. Add in a few silly tangents and a fun game at the end of the episode and you’ve got yourself a podcast we truly hope you love. On episode 18 of the Director Watch Podcast, the boys are joined by Ethan Warren, Senior editor at Bright Wall/Dark Room and author of The Cinema of Paul Thomas Anderson: American Apocrypha Ethan Warren, to discuss the first film in their Paul Thomas Anderson series, Hard Eight (1996).

So begins a new series about a director that might not only be the best of his generation, but is a foundation filmmaker for both Ryan and Jay. But before he influenced them, a young PTA had to find his voice, and after breaking out with the short film Cigarettes & Coffee, he was given the chance to turn it into a feature film. In this somber directorial debut, Hard Eight follows an older gambler takes a younger, homeless kid (John C. Reilly) under his wing, and they do well making money, till they both meet a waitress (Gwyneth Paltrow) that will change their life, for better and for worse. Led a stellar performance from veteran actor Philip Baker Hall, Ryan, Jay and guest Ethan talk about the legacy of Anderson’s debut, if he wears his influences too much on his sleeve, how this movie lead to Boogie Nights, the final shot of the film, and read an interesting review for Ethan’s fantastic book.

You can listen to the Director Watch Podcast wherever you stream podcasts, from iTunes, iHeartRadio, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Spotify, Audible, Amazon Music and more.

This podcast runs 1h38m. The guys will be back next week to continue their series covering the films of Paul Thomas Anderson with a review of his next film, Boogie Nights. You can stream Boogie Nights on Paramount + with the Showtime plan, as well as rent it via iTunes and Amazon Prime rental in preparation for the next episode of Director Watch. Till then, let’s get into it.

Music: MUSICALIFE, from Pond5 (intro) and “B-3” from BoxCat Games Nameless: The Hackers RPG Soundtrack (outro)

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