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They Shoot Oil Men, Don’t They?

There Will Be Blood
courtesy of Paramount Vantage

How the West Was Really Won


Happy Super Tuesday film snots …

In the nub of election madness, your favorite cinematic swashbuckler totally spaced on posting my boffo (full) review for There Will Be Blood, now playing at the Bridge. Mea culpa my babies.* I know some of you hoodie-rocking Reel fans probably think taking in a three-hour Western parable about the corruption of power sounds as enticing as getting a root canal at the Republican National Convention, but trust me, Blood is like no other Western you have ever seen.

Nominated for Best Picture of 2007, Blood’s a bonafide epic shocker that follows a Godzilla-like oil tycoon’s lifelong descent into madness. Sure, it may sound like an epic buzz kill but it’s actually a rather apt tale during these Holy Rolling Halliburton Days. While history still glorifies the lives of turn-of-the-century tycoons who civilized the Old West, Blood shows you how the West was really won, not by God’s will or hard work but by plundering the innocent, raping the earth and (oh yes) selling your soul to the depths of hell. 

There Will Be Blood There Will Be Blood
courtesy of Paramount Vantage

The plot is a brutal depiction of capitalism in a morality vacuum. In one corner of the bloody desert you have Big Money in the form of Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis), a ruthless oilman who destroys anything in his path. In the other corner, is featherweight pudding-faced conman Eli Sunday (Paul Dano) who shucks Hysterical Evangelical Christianity to all the suckers in Little Boston.

If you’re into two-fisted throw downs with bitter Biblical veins, I promise you’ll go gaga for the crazed, over-the-top acting perfs alone. But prepare for a Howard Hughes-inspired final act that will leave you absolutely unhinged. I won’t give any spoilers but let’s just say the film becomes the blackest screwball comedy ever when we fast-forward 30 years to find Plainview holed up like a deranged Howard Hughes alone in his mansion, lording over his manicured Hell on earth.

There Will Be Blood
courtesy of Paramount Vantage

Oh, business and religion … you destroyer of souls, when will you release us from the shackles of your pious petroleum grip? I once tossed this spitball to Governor Schwarzenegger at a 2006 LA after party, his response “Hasta la vista Shaggy.” Then he threw me out of his Republican garden party, sponsored by Hummer …  And scene.

One more thing (before I go), when you're in the voting booth today and being inundated with all this American (election) brouhaha, don't forget what you're celebrating, and that's the fact that a bunch of slave-owning, aristocratic, white males didn't want to pay their taxes …* Until next time, this is you-know-who signing off. Rock the vote America, be bad and get into trouble baby …* MRF

There Will Be Blood
courtesy of Paramount Vantage

PTA’s Epic Blood Influences
•    2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) Dir. Kubrick
•    Once Upon A Time in the West (1968) Dir. Leone
•    McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971) Dir. Altman
•    Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) Dir. Huston
•    The Searchers (1956) Dir. Ford

Volume 50 Footnotes
•    “Settle down my babies.” – Late Night With Conan O’Brien (1993 to present) – The King of the Comic Absurd warms up inhabitants of the Cone Zone.
•    “One more thing, this summer when you're being inundated with all this American bicentennial Fourth Of July brouhaha, don't forget what you're celebrating, and that's the fact that a bunch of slave-owning, aristocratic, white males didn't want to pay their taxes …” – Dazed and Confused (1993) Hot hippie teacher, Miss Ginny Stroud, breaks it down for her beer swilling Texas high school class the last day before summer break 1976.
•    “Let’s get into trouble baby.” – Tapeheads (1988): Soul Train host Don Cornelius (as Hollywood Producer Mo Fuzz) breaks it down to upstart filmmakers Tim Robbins and John Cusack.