Prompted by an ILE thread on Julianne Moore, I watched Magnolia again a few weeks ago for the fourth or fifth time. It's never going to be a film I love, but I feel more favorable towards it right now than at any time since first seeing it during its initial run in 1999. The per- formances are often amazingly subtle: Cruise got a supporting nomination, and he's very good, but Reilly and Hoffman and Dillon and others are less showy and even better. (Moore herself is another story; you'll either think she's a genius or she'll single-handedly send you running.) And I think it may be the most ambitious American film since Cimino's Heaven's Gate. It really does try to give you the world in three hours. Anyway, just before and after I watched it, I experienced what were to me three phenomenal coincidences: 1) Doing my radio show one Sunday, I played Roxy Music's "Editions of You," the only song of theirs I unequivocally love. Not sure why--in five years of doing the show, I think this was the only time I'd ever played Roxy Music. It wasn't even one of the theme shows I periodically do, like glam or the '70s, just a regular play-whatever-you-feel-like-playing show. Later that day, looking at the Sun's celebrity birthdays, I saw that it was Bryan Ferry's 65th birthday. 2) Also radio-related: when I was choosing music to accompany my interview with Rob Sheffield, I went with Biz Markie's "Just a Friend." It's a song I've always liked, although it doesn't have any special significance for me. Rob barely mentions it in the book, relegating it to his multi-song cassingle chapter. The show aired on October 10, a few days after we did the interview over the phone. Later, when I was checking label information to enter on the playlist I post on this site, I noticed that The Biz Never Sleeps (the album that houses "Just a Friend") was released on October 10, 1989. 3) Tim Powis and I had been planning to see the Wall Street sequel; after rescheduling once or twice, we settled on Tuesday, October 19. As it turned out (which I knew because of the "Today in History" reading I'd done with my grade 6 class earlier that day), October 19 was the anni- versary of the 1987 stock market crash--which also happened to provide the inspiration for the first Wall Street. From Magnolia's prologue: "This was not just a matter of chance. These strange things happen all the time." And the fact that I decided to watch Magnolia, a film structured around coinci- dence, in the midst of these other coincidences, well, that's a coincidence in and of itself.

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