Today my mom and I went to see There Will Be Blood at the only place it’s playing here on the Central Coast, the Palm Theater. My mom really wanted to see this movie, and I had agreed to go with her, despite the fact that she wasn’t doing a very good job of selling it. She called me yesterday to warn me that she heard it was very long (2 1/2 hours) and more about the characters than the story.
The movie is based loosely on Oil!, a novel by Upton Sinclair. It’s set in California (in fact, SLO County gets a brief mention) in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Daniel Day-Lewis plays Daniel Plainview, an oilman who practices some shady dealings. At first, I didn’t think his character was so bad. Yes, he wasn’t entirely truthful, but he wasn’t that bad, either. However, as the movie goes on, he makes more and more questionable decisions, and drinks more and more booze. By the end of the movie, he’s pretty much constantly drunk, meaner than a snake, and not entirely ummm, grounded in reality. He has a fantastic ending line, “I’m finished.” It’s oh so true, in so many ways.
The other main character in the movie is Eli Sunday, played by Paul Dano, the kid who took a vow of silence in Little Miss Sunshine (which, by the way, is a movie I loved). He’s the young preacher of a revival church in Little Boston, the town that Daniel buys and turns into his oil empire. At times, he gave me the creeps more than Daniel did.
This is one of those movies that is good, but that you hesistate to recommend to others. It’s not for everyone. I would imagine it bored the socks of off some people (I swear there was not a single word of dialogue for the first 5 minutes of the movie…at one point, I remember thinking that it couldn’t have been that hard to memorize lines for this movie…it’s more about the look and attitudes of the characters). Have you seen it? If so, tell me what you think.
In a total 180, School of Rock is currently on tv as I’m typing this up. This would be the movie where Jack Black poses as a substitute teacher in a prep school and class pretty much turns into band camp. As a former substitute teacher, this movie both appalls me and cracks me up.