I have officially given Magnolia a second chance — which at 3 hours and 8 minutes is no small deal. The emporer still has no clothes. Hiring great actors to cry and curse and scream and then to film it with tracking shots and to assemble it with rapid cuts and loudly rising, melodramatic music will make it appear that what you are seeing is really, really. . .important. And you can even get duped for about an hour. The problem arises when it becomes evident that there is no story here. Even the framing device — coincidences — is a stretch: what, really, are the coincidences of this story that are presented as so flabbergasting? These people all tangentially know one another and they’re all having a bad day replete with overwritten monologues? Here’s my epiphany about Magnolia: It is a 3 hr and 8 minute trailer for an unmade movie. If you’d never seen it before and turned the channel to any specific scene (esp. one with Julianne Moore, Wm. H. Macy or John C. Reilly) you’d say “wow! This movie looks terrific! I’d like to see it from the beginning.) Seeing the whole thing gives you no additional insight into any of the “characters” than any one minute clip. This movie, as a script and as an idea and a general product with so much cache, should, really, get and “F,” but some of those individual scenes (Henry Gibson flaming it up in a bar? Authors, Chaos vs. Superstring and Rub-a-dub? John C. Reilly flirting with a coke fiend?) are so well played, thanks to the great actors, that I’ll be polite and give it the ‘D+”