Hard Eight

Columbia TriStar; rental pricing
Feature; R
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Cast: Philip Baker Hall, John C. Reilly, Gwyneth Paltrow and Samuel L. Jackson

While Anderson would later wow the critics with Boogie Nights, his solid feature debut inspired little buzz. But this seedy story about two-bit losers adapts well to the small screen. A scam artist (Hall) and his dunderheaded protege (Reilly) get mixed up with a cocktail waitress/hooker (Paltrow) and a suitably reptilian lounge lizard (Jackson). An intriguing walk on the sleazy side, this drama sets the stage for Anderson's breakthrough sophomore effort.