Sunday, January 13, 2008

Spears family and There Will Be Blood: separated at birth?

I saw There Will Be Blood on Friday, and while it was very gorgeous to look at and had an interesting score, by the end I thought it devolved into such a pile of overwrought disaster that it had ceased to be compelling.

In other words, it was very similar to the Spears family. Like a Daniel Day-Lewis character, Britney was the epitome of a certain brand of American ambition and success--and, like the TWBB, she was pretty to look at and listen to ("Toxic" was poetry, and don't try to tell me otherwise). The stage mother and the sweet-faced kid sister were great supporting characters. When Britney entered the Period of Skankiness--the 48-hour marriage, the backup dancer babydaddy, the Irish twins, the going into public bathrooms without her shoes on--it seemed to just add to the complexity, and drew us in farther.

But then sometime around the head-shaving incident, the whole thing started to unravel. In There Will Be Blood, SPOILER ALERT, the same thing happened approximately when D D-L caused a scene in a restaurant by getting huffy about slow service, putting his napkin over his face, and threatening to slit someone's throat. Once you've started down that path, it's a steep downward slide from fascinating into banal awfulness. The psychiatric committment, the pregnant 16-year-old sister whose boyfriend is demanding a paternity test--they might as well just SPOILER ALERT kill all the other characters in the movie and be done with it. Yes, yes, America is built on unbelievable depravity, I get it. I'd rather see Juno.

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