The Funny Thing About Burt Reynolds

By Christian DiMartino

When the name Paul Thomas Anderson is mentioned, the discussion usually shifts toward There Will Be Blood. As great as that film is, I still say that Magnolia and Boogie Nights are his crowning achievements.

When Boogie Nights was released in 1997, it immediately showed us that Hollywood had a new, bold filmmaking force. Anderson received a Best Original Screenplay Oscar, and he had much promise. That is what everyone thought… except for Burt Reynolds.

Reynolds, who starred in the film, also received an Oscar nomination. His only one, in fact. But apparently Reynolds and Anderson did not get along on set. For reasons that were pretty vague.

Now Reynolds, who has been out of the spotlight for some time, is back with a new autobiography called “But Enough About Me,” probably as an excuse to stay relevant. While doing the rounds, he elaborated further on his distaste for Anderson.

Well for starters, he mentioned that he has never seen the completed film. His loss, really. He just has no interest in it. Then he went on to mention the fact that he doesn’t like the subject matter, which in this case was pornography. Which is funny, really, considering the fact that, um, he posed his gross hairy body in Cosmopolitan.

Then he went on to discuss Anderson. Their feud has always been a random one. But now the truth is here. Or, Reynolds’ side is at least.

“He was young and full of himself,” Reynolds said, “Every shot we did, it was like it was the first time. I remember the first shot we did in Boogie Nights, where I drive the car to Grauman’s Theater. After he said, ‘Isn’t that amazing?’ And I named five pictures that had the same kind of shot. It wasn’t original. But if you have to steal, steal from the best.”

And now, my point arises. Now Reynolds is obviously a screen legend, and maybe this is because I am blinded by Anderson love. But I seem to recall that about a decade ago, when Reynolds was promoting The Longest Yard, he smacked a reporter in the face because he hadn’t seen the original. Yeah, Anderson is the one who is full of himself.

Really, it is a he said/he said debate. Though if I had to pick a side, I’m team Anderson all the way. Because, judging from the reporter’s smacked face, Reynolds probably wasn’t the easiest to work with. So, Burt Reynolds, you can take that book, and shove it up your hairy ass.

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