I have scratched together a living, in one way or another, as a writer for more than 50 years now. I was a free-lance writer during the early stages of the Vietnam War. I was the Southwest Division Overnight News Editor for United Press International back when UPI was a legitimate news gathering organization. Following that, I went to the Dallas Morning News where I became the first person to write about rock 'n' roll on a daily basis for a Texas metropolitan newspaper. I later became the News' entertainment editor. Following some stints with a couple of prominent PR firms, I had the extraordinary good fortune to team with two communications legends, Ken Fairchild and Lisa LeMaster, as part of one kick-ass media consulting/crisis communications team. That was followed by short stays with the City of Dallas, as its public information officer; the Dallas Northeast Chamber of Commerce where I had the good fortune to meet and work alongside some of this city's business and political titans; and editorial director for QuestCorp Media until that company went out of business. Now officially retired, concentrating on this blog.
I was watching Paul Thomas Anderson’s marvelous The Master the other night when I was hit with the sudden realization of a common thread running through all of Anderson’s great films of the last three decades. (Be forewarned: I don’t consider Punch Drunk Love one of his great films.) What all these films have in common is a different look at the father-son relationship, often disguised in his films as the mentor-protégé relationship. Consider the evidence: the relationships between Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds) and Dirk Diggler (Mark Wahlberg) in Boogie Nights; Earl Partridge (Jason Robards) and Frank T.J. Mackey (Tom Cruise) in Magnolia; Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) and Paul Sunday (Paul Dano) in There Will Be Blood; and, of course, Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) in The Master. I’m not going to psychoanalyze it, just mention it.