Monday, January 14, 2008

There Will Be Blood and At Least Two Rabbit References

There Will Be Blood quite possibly...maybe...redeemed the entire 2007 movie year for me in one two-and-a-half-hour chunk. No kidding.

As soon as NI and I stumbled out of the theater and into the hot, bright lights of the lobby and concession area, the first words out of my mouth were "now that was a movie!" Ohhh kittens, I must implore you to see this film at your earliest convenience. I was so wrapped up in being in love with it while I was watching it that I wasn't even taking proper mental notes so I'd be able to talk intelligently about it later. It's no exaggeration to say that DDL is the movie, but Anderson gives him the ballast to achieve escape velocity. What a match, what a marriage. Who ever would have anticipated it? The movie looks great, sounds great (particularly cruelly, given one of the main subplots), and feels great (yr bum will never know how long it's been sitting there, promise). A gorgeous feast. I can't wait to catch it again so I can really concentrate on it this time.

Back in the late spring when Boxer first came out, I remember waxing rhapsodic about the glories of "Green Gloves" and how nice it was to hear a love song about friendship (however subterraneously psycho the lyrics might actually be). Well, how did I ever content myself with one measly song on the theme when James Rabbit went ahead and made a whole freakin' album of love songs about friendship? It's called Coloratura and it's extraordinary. I can't really even link you anywhere describing the album (aside from maybe their MySpace page) because the only way you can get access to it is to send an e-mail to maestro Tyler Martin and actively, personally request a copy to be sent through the mail. Yes, that's right, the post. The album is so local, and so personal, so private, and yet so all-embracingly universal that it recalls nothing so much as the giddy, shocking intimacy of the first time I discovered what a LiveJournal was. "What? I can just read all this person's thoughts about everything? While I'm just sitting in my pajamas in my dorm room?" I've long been a notorious eavesdropper, and listening to the album, despite the fact that it's clearly been produced and put out there for public consumption, is like a pure hit of eavesdropper's heroin shot straight into my veins. You get so much of the shape of this guy's life and relationships and mental states--all the anxiety and over-analysis and panic and doubt, along with all the grace and quiet hope and thankfulness and hard work--in such a direct and honest way, however necessarily fictionalized it must be, that you feel like there's no way you should have such easy access to all this strangely familiar psychic detritus. But--and it's a big but--you just get the lumpy outline of it, underneath a huge, sparkly confetti-gun-blasted blanket of joy. I can't begin to describe how happy this album makes me. These kids are just belting it out at the tops of their lungs (I'm thinking esp. here of "My Choir," which has made me choke back sobs of glee on the train more than once now), and, really, it's just a privilege to be there, at that particular moment in space and time, to be able to hear it. (Major appreciation to Fluxblog, as always, for the heads-up.)

As long as we're going with drug metaphors, let's just say I wanna spread this video out on a mirror and fucking snort it (via). (Re: the via--it's nice to see the word "talented" used without undue ornament in there. The word doesn't get used in indie discourse much, for a lot of often quite valid reasons, but I think it's warranted here.)

I'd be lying if I said I haven't been waiting for this joke since I first started seeing promos for the movie. And yet? Still funny.

"How can you feel sane and healthy when you’re preoccupied with all of the possibilities presented by your massive stores of accumulated wealth? How can you be happy when the world is your stupid oyster? Plentitude doesn’t become us, crackers….Doesn’t it make simple sense that we should have a bone to pick with the establishment, that we should be thirsting for revolution? It’s about time we stopped reorganizing our walk-in closets and started fucking shit up!" --Rabbit Blog


Matthew Perpetua said...

I can't tell you how excited I am to see someone other than myself write about James Rabbit! Seriously, these guys should be everywhere.

michael o'd said...

A hearty second about There Will Be Blood. It's striking to compare it with Gangs of New York: another movie by a great director starring a brilliant DDL as a savage monster, but a movie that somehow left something lacking. (Too conventional?) Even though I definitely agree that DDL owns There Will Be Blood, he does so, like you say, because of Paul Thomas Anderson--because he's an actor who has something to work with, and, more particularly, because he's got a destination to reach at the end. I feel lucky to be alive in a time when you can go to the theater and see a new DDL movie--lucky like Beatles fans going to pick up the new album.

P.S. You and I have discussed Anderson's nod to Goodfellas in the long tracking shot in Boogie Nights. I thought I detected a similar homage to the Godfather (Michael Corleone at the restaurant before committing murder) in the scene in There Will Be Blood when DDL and his son were having a steak dinner and the gents from Standard Oil came in. That face he pulled after downing his whiskey was like 800 shades of crazy.

Jonesalicious said...

I love your enthusiasm.

And I love that the Rabbit has posted yet another piece of deliciousness. She makes me smile, as do you. Thanks!


Anonymous said...

I can't wait for you to see *Blood* again and write an in-depth review. The missus and I saw it last night and were utterly blown away. I haven't thought of PTA as an overtly political filmmaker; his ambition and genius seem centered around his own personal obsessions (gambling, porn, broken families, more porn). But here he takes on a particular moment in American history that explores how we have gotten where we are today. The frightening links among energy, commerce, religion, and manifest destiny were handled so gracefully that we never lost sight of the complex characters who engages these tropes. Also, I'll vouch for Sinclair's novel *Oil!* which is masterful in its own way. --ctla