I am definitely out of touch with this century. Or at least with the century's movies. What is it about some of the Oscar contenders that makes them receive raves from critics when a simple viewing reveals them to be utterly mediocre?
THERE WILL BE BLOOD has a 95% positive rating on rottentomatoes.com It has a raft of Oscar nominations. And it's a perfectly ridiculous movie.
I and two grad students were laughing hysterically at the slapping scenes--but why go into lurid detail? There was no way I was going to accept Daniel Day-Lewis as an American, and his character had no development whatsoever--we're suddenly told he hates people, but nothing in the previous hour has shown why or how. It just happens.
This appears to be a common problem in modern screenplays; characters don't hold the center of the film, so why watch it? There were some pretty effects and the first hour wasn't bad.
But then I read some of OIL! the Upton Sinclair book that the film was supposed to be based on, and did a double take. Is this really the same story? Where are the female charaters? (In the movie, you never find out what happened to the boy's mother; in Sinclair's novel, she is a major character.)
The book was fascinating, even in brief online increments. The movie was just laughable. We were cracking up at the ending...
I had to explain what OSCAR BAIT was to the two foreign students. THERE WILL BE BLOOD is someone's party piece, or payback for an ego trip.