Archive for February, 2008

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So, you’re an oilman

Ok, as most — if not all — of you know, my friend Heather has a brilliant mind. I respect her opinion on all things and way more times than not, I agree with her. So it is with heavy heart and some confusion that I confess that I thought that There Will Be Blood was a terrific movie. Maybe her scathing review helped me. I saw the movie today, in the afternoon, and armed with a large diet Coke. I expected a slow, methodical movie and that is what I got. I also got a movie that I sum up as fascinating. Here’s why.

I agree with Heather that the movie was slow. I suspect that it is because she prepared me for the pace that I enjoyed the film. This movie reminded me some of Citizen Kane, but with even fewer women and definitely less dialogue. Like Charles Foster Kane, Daniel Plainview is a madman who has built himself quite an empire. Unlike Kane, though, there is no Rosebud and Plainview is plainly insane. At least that’s my take.

For those of you that haven’t seen it, the movie begins at the turn of the century when Plainview finds oil in the desert. The oil comes up inky and thick and people start getting hurt. This is a messy, painful business. The movie goes from there, with Plainview building his fortune. One day, a young man comes to him and sells him information on where a great deal of oil can be found. This leads Plainview to the community of Little Boston, California where he starts buying up everyone’s land. In exchange for the first tract he purchases, he is to give Eli Sunday, the son of the owner of the land, $5000 to get Eli’s church off the ground. Eli is a Jesus man. Daniel is not.

The movie continues as Daniel builds wells and pipeline in Little Boston and Eli builds a congregation. They come to blows more than once during the film, and Eli is no match for Daniel. No one is, really.

I wouldn’t say that the film has a moral center, though Daniel’s son H.W. is probably the closest the film gets to one. And while I really can’t say that I understand the “point” of the movie, if there is one, I still think it was a great epic tale about a man’s madness. And it cannot be said too often: Daniel Day Lewis is a tour de force and I think he, once again, deserves the Oscar.

For those of you that have seen the movie, I’d welcome your thoughts. Let’s talk.

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I’m going to Puerto Rico!

It’s true! Tonight, I had a lovely dinner with my mom & Severa, Michael, and Terry & Steve. It was a belated birthday dinner that, in my view, was just wonderful. Everyone seemed to be in great spirits, despite the snowfall and imminent below zero temps. Aside from the excellent company and yummy comfort food, I received — as always — amazing and way-too-generous gifts. I got three extremely generous gift certificates, a gorgeous vase, some super cute and fun coasters and journals, and a trip to Puerto Rico! It’s true! I’m going to Puerto Rico with Terry from March 11th through the 15th. I’m just so excited and grateful. I thought that I had given up my opportunity to travel to PR with Terry when I decided to go to Sundance. So, this is a true surprise and I’m so thankful.

I would also like to say a word, if you don’t mind, on No Country for Old Men. I thought this was a really, really great movie. I thought it was exceptional story telling. I think the Coen brothers might just be getting better and better. I wonder when, and if, they will peak. One of the few problems I had with the movie, though, was the Woody Harrelson character. Folks, tell me what you think. I was confused by this character. I’m not sure that I understand the purpose that he served. His exposition on Javier’s character was, in my opinion, entirely unnecessary and superfluous. Perhaps he was there just to introduce us to the “manager” behind these crimes — the man in the suit and the office in the highrise. But this seems like a lot of work for this purpose. And it strikes me as distracting to place a Celebrity in such a role — I expect the role to have more import when someone I know is in it. So, if someone can fill me in on the point of this character, I’d be grateful. I think maybe I shall read the book and see what I’m missing. Maybe he was just there to serve the purpose of showing that there are degrees of moral bankruptcy even in the world of the hired guns — as in, Woody isn’t great, but Javier is even nuttier.

Go Badgers! I’m listening on the radio tonight because, as we all know, the Big Ten Network is not on Charter. As in the best Shakespearean works, it’s hard to know whom to blame in this horrible situation that is known as not being able to watch most Badger games in Madison.

The motion W is icks

New Project Runway tonight, yes? We’re buried under three million feet of snow here in Madison. Is spring on its way?


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