I just love the writing. (Except for the very dubious Asian jokes… why twice, Paul, why?) As in The Master and There Will Be Bood, beyond writing plot, PTA writes characters and develops a dynamic between them. The golf course scene – Tom Waits leads a crowd, martini glasses in hand, to the 8th hole, stokes a fire in a sand trap, and goads Sean Penn to fly over it on a motorcycle – isn’t just hilarious but also lets Gary and Alana complete another oscillation of their co-dependent cycle. Alana baits Gary manipulatively, giving her the upper hand and the precocious 15 year-old something to reach for. (When she’s within reach, he stops himself.) They are in a dance of mutual validation and withholding, careful not to tip the balance by entering into something honest – between a 15 year-old and a 25 year-old, a friendship where you keep each other company instead of playing power games.