Thursday, January 24, 2008

Fire up the presses, it's printin time!

The Times reports:

WASHINGTON — House leaders and the White House on Thursday announced a tentative agreement on an economic stimulus package of roughly $150 billion that would pay stipends of $300 to $1,200 per household, and more for families with children, plus provide tax incentives for businesses to encourage spending.

Translation: They're gonna print a lotta money and throw it in the air by the fistful. A lot more money, to put it accurately. It won't be long before we're all carrying around suitcases full of Benjamins to buy groceries. That's already the case if you travel. Funny how you don't hear much about the deficit these days.

Or perhaps the plan is to trick the Arabs and the Asians and the Europeans into going to war with each other over who gets to buy up everything of value in this country? Nah, there is no plan. At least nothing beyond getting a blip in tomorrow's polls. Maybe they'll kick tomorrow?

And of course it could just be another ruse. Last time we learned that the supposedly free money was just an advance on our tax cut, you know, money we would have gotten anyway. Is that trick in the works again? The news stories describe it as a "stipend" or a "rebate," but it'javascript:void(0)s an unfortunate, and very real, possibility that our top flight media don't know what those words mean, or just take dictation without bothering to stop and think about it. We'll see. It'll probably end up being some combination of the two.

Guy knows how to dig a hole

When There Will be Blood first came out, I was enthused to see it and my daughter wanted to go as well. But her schedule is full and the weeks went by and my interest began to wane, as is prone to happen as a movie's initial hype wears off. Then I saw that it was up for a lot of Oscars, and always in the same sentence as No Country for Old Men, a film I truly hated, and I decided not to waste my money, or my time on it, that it was bound to suck like all the other movies. But then my daughter had a free night and wanted to go, so here I am.

If you plan on seeing There Will be Blood, I recommend that you don't read past this paragraph. I will not give the details of what happens, but I will discuss what I thought about some of the major plot elements. You would do better to see it without letting me color your judgment, one way or the other. It's an interesting movie and worth seeing. And if you want a more intelligent review, I trust Roy will provide one soon.

Okay, you were warned. I thought the ending really sucked and it practically ruined the entire movie for me. It felt like one of those tacked-on studio endings where the big shots snatch the film maker's dream at right before release and turn it into crap. Of course it's also possible that the screenwriter just had no idea how to end it and took the easy way out, but I don't think so. The film was intricately plotted and all the pieces were in place for a satisfying ending that was true to the story, but for whatever reason, that just did not happen.

And it's unfortunate because There Will be Blood had the potential to be a truly great movie. The first two thirds of the story arc provided a nearly immaculate example of visual story telling at its finest. The movie began unraveling a bit as it approached the end, but there were still many good moments and the film was entirely salvageable until the next to last scene.

I know that sounds a bit too much like a lot of the complaints about No Country for Old Men. A lot of people thought that was a potentially great movie until the unsatisfying ending. I, however, was not one of them. Although the movies are similar on one level -- interesting leading man, black humor, unsatisfying ending -- the stories are not comparable. No Country is lame-assed kitsch. There Will be Blood came damn close to nailing it.

Beyond commenting on the story, I'd say the cinematography had its moments. There are some interesting images of warm light in late afternoon and during fire scenes and some interesting use of depth of field and a couple incredibly well-framed close-ups, but overall it was not what you'd call spectacular. The acting was good, particularly Tom Selleck, or some guy that looked like him, in the lead role. If that was old Tom, his acting skills have sure improved since Three Men and a Baby.