Or some other type of natural disaster. I don’t get it when someone’s one and only criticism of the Magnolia was the frog scene.
Yes it is random and abrupt and incredulous. But that’s the point of it.
Anyway, for those of you that find it difficult to get past the frogs…had PTA made it an earthquake, would that make a better impression on you?
I like the frogs.
Whose one and only criticism of MAGNOLIA is the frog scene? Clearly random and abrupt and contrived, and yes that’s clearly the point which doesn’t make it any less random and abrupt and contrived and I’d even say phony, but that’s really only the least of the problems with Anderson’s bloated overlong over-written and over-acted repetitious opus.
People here REALLY need to learn to STOP POSTING SPOILERS in thread titles. “Ending of Magnolia” would be fine; people shouldn’t have to expect to have films ruined by looking at the main forum page. The frogs here were a great surprise watching the film, a strange sort of satisfying pay-off; it’s pretty unfair to ruin that for people who haven’t seen it yet.
And I like the frogs – it fits in with the prologue of random chance and is iconic in its own way. An earthquake would have made this film even more of a knock-off of Robert Altman’s Short Cuts than it already is.
The frogs were one of the best ideas in the movie. “Give Up,” however, was not
Every movie should rain frogs.
To be fair B-Rad, once they rent the DVD and see the images of frogs falling from the sky painted onto the disk, it’ll be pretty much spoiled for them anyway.
I had no problem with the frogs. Andrew, when you mention “Give Up”, are you talking about the montage where all of the characters sing Aimee Mann’s “Wise Up”? That was by far my favorite part of the film; one of the most beautiful sequences I’ve ever seen in any movie.
Earthquakes are pretty common, and don’t have the same connotations are frogs. And aren’t disasters by definition random?
No I love the frogs!
As if Anderson hasn’t been accused off ripping of Short Cuts enough.
It woulda been better if it rained milkshakes, harmoniums, and 13 inch penises.
The frogs were awesome.
The entire first 20 minutes of the film stated that random, abrupt and contrived things happen. It had to be something ridiculous and transmundane or else it wouldn’t have had the same effect.
Here is an explanation.
The three (true?) stories at the beginning of the film are all things that technically could happen. Murder, the three mens’ names, scuba diving, fire fighting, gambling, suicide, shooting guns, window washing. There is nothing bizarre about any of those individual things, they happen all the time. But the extraordinariness (is that a word?) is the way in which they intersected, the “chance”. And the are all events that happened because of human actions.
But raining frogs, specifically that many frogs of that size, is basically a supernatural event, especially considering we are not given an explanation. And it certainly is not a byproduct of human actions. Even if it were technically possible for that to happen, it is so utterly bizarre. So I don’t think it really synchs up well with the introductory anecdotes, as the frogs have a much more “divine intervention” aspect to them.
Anyways, I was really expecting the frogs to have more of an effect on everybody. The only real effect they seemed to have was on preventing Philip Baker Hall’s character from killing himself. They possibly changed the outcome of the encounter between John C Reilly and William H Macy’s characters.
Now that i am thinking about it, the frogs are kind of the opposite of the stories in the introduction to the film. They 1) seem like divine intervention instead of the result of ordinary human actions, 2) unlike the introductory stories, the extraordinary event benefits everybody (or at least doesn’t kill them/put them in jail). So perhaps it’s an intentional contrast?
I am also a little thrown off by the narrator. Is he supposed to be reliable?
If this seems a little muddled, its cause I am still a little muddled about it. The more I wrote, the more confused I was getting, so finally just decided to post what I had already written. Any responses/answers are encouraged :)
I sort of thought the frogs did affect everyone. It made the moment between Claudia and her mother more powerful than if they just met to talk. And I think it also kept the moment with Tom and his father from being too melodramatic by distracting Tom and first, but then still concentrating his focus on his father’s last breath. Julianne Moore’s ambulance get’s in a car accident. I think the one it affects the least is Philip Seymour Hoffman’s character. Maybe that’s why he is given the line “Why are frogs falling from the sky?”
I don’t know that I would have reacted better to an earthquake specifically, but I would have reacted much better to some other, more natural event than the frogs.
I was really with the film up until that point. I was with the characters, I was with the plot. I found the whole thing hypnotic. And the frogs just took me right out of it. It felt like a desperate move on the part of the writer, as if he had written himself into a corner, realized he couldn’t get out of it without some sort of deus ex machina, and decided to have it rain frogs. And then went back and added the prologue so that he had some sort of justification for it. It really rang false to me, and while it didn’t spoil my admiration of what came before, it did cloud my reaction to the film as a whole.
I also agree with Captain’s statements about how the frogs don’t really fit in with the stories in the prologue. If the frogs had been, say, gigantic soft balls of hail instead, I probably would have liked the film much better, because it would have seemed like less of a gimmick and wouldn’t have taken me out of the world of the film.
Frogs are cool. Although throw in a few snakes as well and it could get interesting, even on a metaphorical level.
just watched short cuts
going with an earthquake would have made it impossible to defend the accusation that magnolia is an altman ripoff.
my mind was blown when the earthquake begins in short cuts. I was like…hey I made a thread about this on mubi.
I thought Magnolia was overwrought so the frogs were a great relief. If only there had been frogs in Todd Solondz’s Happiness I could have tolerated that movie. The end of the 90’s were filled with movies ABOUT DYSFUNCTION, MAN. Come to think of it, I sometimes think all movie theater seats should be equipped with a frog button. When enough people press it, frogs fall…
Pleased that you finally got around to seeing Short Cuts there Mogambo.
I always get frustrated when people praise Magnolia without having first seen Short Cuts (let alone Nashville). I fail to see how people can praise the writing, scope and supposed depth of characters in Magnolia when its Short Cuts that really delivers on those elements.
Even by substituting frogs for an earthquake, Magnolia feels like a more trite, shallow and pale imitation of Robert Altman’s film.
short cuts is a far superior film to magnolia, especially with the final sequence