We watched this movie on Eleanor's birthday. She selected it. In the afternoon, she called me on my mobile and said, "Can you make this happen? It's all I really want, just 'There Will Be Blood,' okay?" And I said, "Well, there will also be cake," because I wanted to assure her that we would truly be celebrating, not just the usual chinese food and art films. And she said, "Okay, I will be there after 7:30." At 7:00 I called home and said to Dan, "Oh, Dan, please go and trade in whatever girl movie I had on the cabinet for 'There Will Be Blood' because it's Eleanor's special birthday wish." And then he said, "Okay." And then I said, "Can you please also wrap the present that's sitting in the front room?" And he said, "Will there be anything else?" Or something else to show mild loving exasperation with all these tasks, and I said something like "Thank you so much for helping me," because I was really grateful, feeling sort of tired and rushed, and he warmly told me that I was welcome.
If you felt like maybe fast-forwarding through the last paragraph, to get to the pay-off, and you kind of let your eyes wander down the screen to find the point of it all, and then coming to the end of the paragraph you felt like I just nattered on about things that were possibly poignant to me but hardly poignant to anyone else, then you get a small sense of why we watched "There Will Be Blood" on 1.5 speed. You can still hear the talking, okay? It's just that on the long shots where someone is trudging across the badlands, he trudges a little faster. On the endless lingering shots when someone is peering into the distance, or the fire, or the dirt, having complex masculine emotions down deep inside, he peers a little quicker.
Is that a crime?
Well, what if I told you I was making it easy for you in paragraph one? For example, I told you how I was feeling twice, when I could have just described the motion of my eyebrows and expected you to intuit it. I also did not include the 30 minutes I spent listening to my four-year-old daughter's wandering narrative based on the pictures in Peter Rabbit. A time I spent silently listening. I didn't include the time it took to drive home, during which I was almost motionless, staring straight ahead, and the kids were listening to Geggy Tah.
After five minutes, we said, "Maybe this is a movie for men?"
After thirty minutes, we said, "It ain't no 'Boogie Nights'!"
After an hour, we went to 1.5 speed.
We went back to the regular speed for the "I ABANDONED MY CHILD. I ABANDONED MY BOY." part and it was totally not worth it.
In the end, we were unmoved. To be fair, the movie suffered in comparison to the brilliant, amazing, wrenching, hilarious, explosive "No Country for Old Men." Let's face it: Coen > Tarrantino. But Anderson 2008 < Anderson 1998.