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Saturday, February 09, 2008

There Will be Laughs

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 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.


Brett W. McCoy said...

It's why I hardly ever go to movie theaters... aside from the noisy, cell-phone centric audiences, the stunningly photographed crap that passes for a movie isn't worth the money I paid to see it.

Nancy said...

The student's comment was great: "It gets better in the third hour when the vampires show up."
Stunningly produced crap is a good description of this movie and most others, but had they followed the original source material, it would have been terrific. I think I am going to read more of Upton Sinclair's work as a result, so it had one good effect anyway!

Floyd Norman said...

It's up there with Disney's "Chicken Little."

Nancy said...

And yet Mr. Lewis won the Oscar for his ridiculous performance. It makes me wonder whether I saw the same movie as everyone else.
O well, take what I like and do the opposite, and you get Popular Taste...