Hard Eight

From Academic Kids

Template:Infobox Movie Hard Eight is a 1996 film written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, starring Philip Baker Hall, John C. Reilly, Gwyneth Paltrow and Samuel L. Jackson. Robert Ridgely, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Melora Walters also appear.

The film, originally titled Sydney, was Anderson's first feature; Hall, Reilly, Ridgely, Hoffman and Walters have acted in Anderson's subsequent films.


Sydney, a gambler in his 60s, sees a young man, John, sitting outside a diner and offers to buy him a cup of coffee. When Sydney learns that John is trying to get enough money for his mother's burial, he offers to take him to Reno and teach him how to win the money by gambling. Though skeptical at first, John eventually agrees.

Several months later, John, having finished his task, has stayed in Reno and become Sydney's protege, and is attracted to Clementine, a casino cocktail waitress revealed to be an occasional prostitute. Shortly after John and Clementine get married, Sydney gets a frantic late-night phone call and arrives at a motel to find the newlyweds trying to deal with a customer who refuses to pay for Clementine's services. Afterward, Sydney advises John and Clementine to leave town and head to Niagara Falls for their "honeymoon."

After the two leave, Sydney is confronted by Jimmy, a friend of John's who has worked security at various casinos in the past. Jimmy demands a large amount of money from Sydney, threatening to tell John the truth: that Sydney killed his father. Sydney acquiesces, but sneaks into Jimmy's house later and shoots him.


  • According to Mr. Anderson, Rysher Entertainment attempted to re-edit the film but changed its mind after disappointing focus tests. Anderson, with financial help from Paltrow and Jackson, was able to secure the film and release his version, which was retitled "Hard Eight," per Rysher's request.
  • The film was expanded from a short film, Cigarettes and Coffee. Anderson was invited to the Sundance Institute Filmmaker Lab, where he took his expanded short script (then Sydney) and developed it under the Sundance banner. Cigarettes and Coffee starred Philip Baker Hall; Anderson met the actor while working as a production assistant on a made-for-television movie.
  • Jimmy mentions Floyd Gondolli and Jimmy Gator as people both he and Sydney know; Floyd Gondolli is the name of Hall's character in Boogie Nights, and Jimmy Gator is his character in Magnolia.
  • Michael Penn has said that Anderson was listening to his album Free-for-All while writing the script for Sydney, and that the director had spent months trying to get Penn to score the movie before he finally agreed to do it. [1] (http://archives.cnn.com/2000/SHOWBIZ/Music/04/25/michaelpenn/index.html)

External links

Template:Footer Movies Paul Thomas Anderson



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