Perhaps i am missing some vital piece of brain, but i think Magnolia was a movie with the utmost potential but zero payoff. Every actor and actress in the film was stunning, and each plot was riveting, but all of those elements threaded together made for a too-long mess of a movie in which you don’t ever really get a chance to sympathize with a single character. And maybe that was the point. However, some things seemed plain old extraneous. The William Macy plot could have been easily removed, especially since it seemed to drag the most. We didn’t need to see that much of Tom Cruise talking. Every monologue which spoke over a montage of scenes was lacking content, especially when given from a deathbed.
That said, some parts of the movie were absolutely fantastic. Julianne Moore’s frenetic soon-to-be widow was awesome, John C. Reilly’s bumbling cop proves that he is a character actor to be reckoned with, and Melora Walters coke-head was unbelievable (in the most believable way possible). I found myself glued to the all of Reilly’s plots and most of Moore’s, but Macy and his younger counterpart (who was a movie unto himself (and his monologues were awfu)) sent me running to the kitchen for more ice cream. I’d love to see a version of this movie with some of the long pauses in the slow plots edited down. However, long meaningful pauses with the better characters were nothing but sweetness, and i loved the frogs. I suppose you should decide for yourself, but i would have rather worked for 3 hours to pay for the amazing Aimee Mann soundtrack.