I have been looking forward to this movie for quite sometime. The trailer had me with its Penderecki-like violin scratchings ripping and clawing all over the images of the early days of the oil business imagery. It opened here in LA several weeks ago (Dec. 26th I think) but only played at the Arclight in Hollywood for most of that time. Now, the arclight is THE place to see I flick, judging from my only experience back in July when my friend Chris and his buddy Avner brought me to see Danny Boyle's Sunshine there. The sound was fantastic to the point of nearly being painful, which is exactly how I like the sound in a theatre to be. Twice this year we saw big blockbusters out in 'burb theatres and the sound literally seemed to be emanating only from the front of house. Fuck that, I want that shit to RIP my fucking face off! So the Arclight would have been the first choice, except the juxtaposition between Sara's schedule and my own has made it pretty much a massive inconvenience at best to get there. So anyway, P.T. Anderson's newest masterpiece (and probably the best film of his career thus far) opened wide this weekend and we made our way to the theatre in Rancho Palos Verdes, our local fav thus far, to finally see it.
We were not disappointed at all.
What with the three weeks or so of hoping to see it but being thwarted again and again I had begun to worry that my anticipation had been revved to the point of being unquenchable.
From the very first note, the very first shot, all the way through to the end, There Will Be Blood is a breath-taking, dark, witty, funny, horrible, emotional piece of art that will stay with me for the rest of my days. I have a lot of favorite movies, but within that realm there are a certain few whose perverse mixture of the horror and the comedy of life, exemplified by stand out, iconic performances make them actual facets of my personality. Jack Nicholson in Stanley Kubrick's The Shining or Dennis Hopper in David Lynch's Blue Velvet spring immediately to mind. Their violence, sarcasm and beligerence is motivating in that it not only shows you how bad a person can be, but also motivates the impressive tales that contain them to leap off the screen and make you jump, flinch, laugh and hollor along - the inherent 'fun' in being able to be so unbelievably evil just by invoking the character through the quoting of iconic lines or acting along with the characters. Well, everything I'm trying to bestow to you above, Daniel Day-Lewis has it in this film. Hopper's role in BV is argueably a lesser part of the film in that he is not the main character (although I my self would argue he is the main character to some degree; he certainly drives lot of what transpires even if he does not have as much screen time as Kyle MacLachlan) but Day-Lewis' role as Daniel Plainview reminds me so much of Nicholson's Jack Torrance in that since seeing it I find myself wanting to run around holloring any number of memorable lines at the top of my lungs.
Now, TWBB also reminded me of another favorite from this past year, Joel and Ethan Coen's No Country For Old Men. So much quiet. So many big, open spaces where there was no movie on screen but a window into the characters' lives. Sara put it best, and I'll paraphrase her here, but after TWBB she said really like both these films for the fact that they were not so much conventional stories, with set-up, conflict introduced, exposition and finally climax and resolution, but more like recordings of real life. I liken them to using the camera not so much to tell a story the way most filmmakers or filmgoers think of a story, but more as an unnatural observer that watches a cadre of people's lives from point A to point B and then ends. TWBB is definitely that, and I would argue that the problem many people have with NCFOM is that it takes a tale that should have a resolution and everything else and twists and tweaks it so that it does not have them.
My picks for 2007:
Best Film: No Country For Old Men (TWBB a very close 2nd and the one I think will actually win the award)
Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis
Best Actress: Not sure.
Best Supporting Actor: Javier Bardem
Best Director: P.T. Anderson
Best Score: Johnny Greenwood for There Will Be Blood
Biggest piece of shit: Probably Transformers. I know there was tons worse (there's never any shortage of shit on the movie screen) but this, ah, even though I enjoyed myself profusely watching it, it was just bad. Not that it could have been anything else really, but my god, that scene with the autobots leaning backwards over neighboring houses trying to keep out of sight of the kid's parents? John Tuturro in this horrible role? NOOO!!! I'm going to rewatch Miller's Crossing soon to try and renew my faith in the guy.
I'll trail off here because I haven't given the rest that much thought.