Following the announcement of this year’s Oscar nominations yesterday morning, I figured I’d check out Phantom Thread. It picked up a ton of nominations and was one of the few prestige movies I hadn’t seen yet. Simple enough (yes, I went to the movie theater while sick, which means I not only helped the theater industry, but the struggling medical industry as well. The more people I get sick, the more people have to go to the doctor. Ipso facto, I should get a cut of all medical bills for the next week or so). Only problem was, this being a fancy movie, it wasn’t showing at either of my go-to joints and I had to go to an unknown theater. I’m not using hyperbole when I say they had the worst seats of all time. It was like sitting on a 2×4 that was on top of a bunch of bricks. And let me tell you, this was not the right movie to watch in an uncomfortable seat. It was typical Paul Thomas Anderson- pretty slow, kinda boring, pretentious, a little weird, but satisfying nonetheless. It was a 2 hour movie that felt like 20. I would have run out of the theater when the end credits rolled if my back wasn’t damaged beyond repair.
Anyway, that’s not the point of this. The main draw for Phantom Thread is, of course, Daniel Day-Lewis. Not only is he fantastic yet again doing a cross between Woody Allen and Larry David as the brilliantly named Reynolds Woodcock, but this is billed to be his final role. That’s right, DDL, the GOAT, the Method Man, the craziest person who ever lived, is hanging them up. Whether or not he ends his legendary career ends with a stunning fourth Oscar is yet to be seen, but it doesn’t even matter. His legacy is set in stone either way. Has been since Last of the Mohicans. He’ll long be remembered as one of the greatest actors to ever live. I’m just sad to see it end. Or rather, I would be if it was actually ending.
If you’re convinced DDL is done, then I’ve got an offshore bank account with 5 million dollars in it that I’ll split with you once I use your social security number to access it. There is absolutely NO CHANCE this guy is done. For starters, he retires after every movie. Take on look at the trivia section of his iMDb page. They had to drag him out of exile to make Gangs of New York! That came out in 2002! Every time he makes a movie he does his method bit, needs some time off to decompress, then comes back when he realizes he has nothing else. He’s a trained cobbler and wanted to be a cabinet maker. Would you rather make shoes and cabinets or be an actor who gets relentlessly showered with praise and awards every time you make a movie? Man, that’s a tough choice. I have no idea what I’d go with. But then again, I have my own motivations and personality. Daniel Day-Lewis doesn’t. I honestly don’t think there’s a real Daniel Day-Lewis. The being we call Daniel Day-Lewis is merely a husk; an empty vessel in the shape of a man. Its only purpose is to channel the spirit of greater, (mostly) terrible men. The crazy stories that come out about its on-set behavior are seen as comical dedication to the Method, but in reality that’s just how the characters he’s channeling would react if put in the same position. DDL physically and emotionally becomes the characters he’s playing. The meek, milquetoast wallflower you see sticking to the perimeter of the red carpet is merely the being taking efforts to avoid interactions when not hosting a more interesting personality. He’s not a real person. Supposedly he has two children and I can’t imagine having a worse father. One day you’re hanging out with quiet, unassuming dad and the next Bill the Butcher is ruining your birthday party by killing five of your friends for looking at him the wrong way. There’s a 0% chance those kids have a normal relationship with him. I’d be surprised if he even knew their names he’s adopted so many different personalities over the years. I give him two years. Two years of being “Daniel Day-Lewis,” making shoes with a family he doesn’t know that undoubtedly resents him and being the most boring person of all time before he realizes he needs to come back. I flat-out refuse to believe he’s actually retired. When he wins his sixth Oscar 15 years from now, I’ll try not to say I told you so.