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Watch: A Video Analysis of Punch-Drunk Love as Superman-Inspired

As Spinal Tap observed, there’s a fine line between clever and stupid, and there’s a similarly thin divider between convincing argument and tenuous grasping. Is this 12-minute analysis of Paul Thomas Anderson’s Punch-Drunk Love, which argues that it refers heavily to the 1978 Superman, reaching too far when claiming e.g. that the harmonium leading Adam Sandler to Emily Watson could be a stand-in for the Fortress of Solitude? Probably, but it’s an enjoyably go-for-broke interpretation regardless. In this formulation, Sandler’s Barry is Clark Kent — meek and mild at some times, superhumanly strong and violent at others — and Emily Watson’s Lena Leonard is his Lois Lane (note the shared initials). He wears blue, she wears red, and when they come together, their colors unify like Superman’s costume. There’s much more in this video, which at the very least has a solid breakdown of how the color red functions thematically throughout. Hat-tip to David Hudson at Keyframe Daily for drawing attention to this year-old video.

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