As very regular readers of this blog already know, I watched Magnolia last night. In case you haven't seen it, it should be said it's a masterpiece, and if you care about mid-to-high brow films or, for that matter, people and emotions at all, you should make it a priority to watch it soon.

The most impressive actor in a strong cast is Tom Cruise as Frank Mackey, "author of Seduce and Destroy, a self-help system for men to 'tame' women" (Wikipedia), who preaches the mantra "Respect the Cock" to his following. You wouldn't normally read a good word about Cruise on this blog because I can't stand the man. But that is the point. When Mackey dodges an interviewer's question about his not-so-cool childhood by digressing into his usual PR phrases, it seems like a satire of a typical Cruise interview. The role fits Cruise like a glove and he delivers a truly memorable performance.

This reminds me of Hugh Grant as Daniel Cleaver in the first Bridget Jones movie (which is actually pretty good). Can't stand Grant's guts, and that's why he's ideal as the superficial, dishonest braggard Cleaver.

It's not just actors I dislike playing characters that are disagreeable; Mackey and Cleaver are dislikable in ways that are taylor-made for Cruise and Grant. And it seems I enjoy that more than actors I like in either likable or dislikable roles. Which, in turn, may not express something all that likable about my own character.

Now all I have to do is to think of a proper role for Julia Roberts.

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