Daniel Day Lewis

Saturday night last I encouraged my husband to choose the movie we would watch. We have a stack because the bookmobile doesn’t run during the Christmas break and we wanted to be prepared. We don’t watch television, but we are movie addicts.

Rob’s choice was There Will Be Blood. Critically acclaimed. Won a couple of Oscars. Historical, and we love historical.

But three hours later, not only have we not watched anything other than a lot of disconnected scenes- but thankfully sequential in a chronological way -that didn’t really tell a story, I learned almost nothing about the early wildcatting days in the U.S.

A terrible movie is bad enough, but when I watch period piece and learn nothing about the time period – my time has been more than wasted.

“I rubbed you nearly the whole movie,” Rob pointed out when I complained.

Well this was true. One of the best things about movie night in bed (as opposed to on the sofa where I assure you I wouldn’t have sat for 3 hours watching Mr. Lewis “dazzle” me with yet another character study disguised as a movie) is that I get my back and bum rubbed. A woman can endure much for a good rubbing down.

Rob was disappointed by the lack of story too but his Virgo nature just won’t let him quit.

“Why didn’t you tell me you were bored?”

“Because it’s better to just watch the whole dull mess than to watch you silently fret about not having finished watching an awful movie. You still aren’t over the fact that we didn’t finish Grosse Pointe Blank even though you have seen it before.”

“I was okay with not finishing The Other Boelyn Girl,” he countered. Another film that was an affront to the history teacher in me.

“That’s only because it was chick flickish.”

I could have headed the whole thing off before we’d even checked the movie out because I’d read a review by a book publisher whose blog I follow which summed it up neatly. No plot. But Rob had been wanting to see it for a while and I can’t feed him a steady diet of romantic comedies and widow movies. He needs the occasional man movie and well, Iron Man has a waiting list that stretches into the summer.

“I think I should pick the movies from now on,” I said.

“Did I ever tell you the story of the time I went to the video store to pick our films by myself?”

“You were never allowed to do that again, were you?”

He laughed because I know him too well.

“Nope, I came home with Judge Dredd and Species.”

In case you haven’t seen There Will Be Blood, it’s about an oilman in the early part of the 20th century in California. The story, such as it is, is episodically told and there is so little dialog I felt as though I was watching a silent film at times (probably I was supposed to – you know – because it was “art”). But the characters are an unlikable lot and Lewis “emotes” a lot. 

I know that film is also about the look. It’s a moving painting in a way. But without good story-telling, it might as well simply hang on a wall. Good films blend the visual with plot. This film was not that good.


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