Single-Malt Movies: There Will Be Blood

I saw There Will Be Blood unintentionally.  I was at a theater killing time with my mom while waiting to pick my sister up from something.  We saw that the movie was in theaters, that neither of us had heard of it, and that it started and ended at very convenient times.  A choice was made.  Now, about my drink this week: as a college student, spending $60 per week on fancy alcohols is rather taxing on a wallet.  So this week, I’ve come up with my own recipe for a drink-movie pairing that can be made with the dozen-odd liquors I already have in stock.  (I promise I’ll justify all the choices I made whilst creating the drink.)  A concoction of my own creation, I present to you the “Little Boston Milkshake” from There Will Be Blood (2007).

I drink it up!

Little Boston

  • 4 scoops chocolate ice cream
  • 1 c. milk
  • 3 tbsp. chocolate syrup
  • 2 oz. Bailey’s Irish Cream
  • 1 oz. Tomatin 12-Year Scotch

In blender, combine ice cream, milk, and chocolate syrup and blend until mixture is smooth and frothy.  Once desired consistency is reached, add in Bailey’s Irish Cream and Scotch and mix only until blended.  Serve in tall, chilled glasses.

Plot: Daniel Plainview makes it clear that he loves his work and won’t even let a broken leg prevent him from finishing it.  He’s an oil man.  He’s a charming, smooth-talking family man that convinces towns to let him purchase and drill their land.  One such town that is happy to have him is Little Boston, California.  Despite his claims at helping the town with the profits of oil-drilling, everyone soon realizes that life is a competition to him, and he “wants no one else to succeed.”

While I’m alright that this film didn’t win Best Picture, I would not have been alright if the acting performances in it didn’t receive recognition.  This was the first movie in which I’d ever seen Daniel Day-Lewis.  Even with the first 15 minutes of the film in complete silence, Day-Lewis makes a lasting impression.  He has a perfectly crafted accent and is very composed.  Even Paul Dano had some powerful scenes.  Paul Dano, who seems to have been typecast as a whining pathetic angsty young man, did a decent job as well.  Both Day-Lewis and Dano convinced me that they were in fact these characters.  They blended in seamlessly with the period.

If you’re into dry Westerns, this soundtrack is definitely one to buy along with the movie.  It’s composed by Johnny Greenwood and falls under the music genres ‘contemporary classical’ and ‘avant-garde.’  I’m not much good at describing music, but it sounds a lot like string instruments and is vaguely reminiscent of 2001: A Space Odyssey.  I am confident in saying, however, that this is one of those movies in which you really notice the soundtrack.  It’s unlike any soundtrack I’ve heard before and makes Day-Lewis’ character even more dry and evil.  Listen to the opening track that introduces him to the film:

With all that talk of dryness though you’re probably ready for a milkshake, eh?  I had a few inspirations for this one.  First, the line of the movie that stuck with viewers:

Drainage! Drainage, Eli, you boy. Drained dry. I’m so sorry. Here, if you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and I have a straw. There it is, that’s a straw, you see? You watching?. And my straw reaches acroooooooss the room, and starts to drink your milkshake… I… drink… your… milkshake!  I drink it up!

I couldn’t just make a milkshake though.  I wanted to make a milkshake that seemed both like something Daniel Plainview would drink, and something reminiscent of oil.  I found a quart of the darkest ice cream I could find, added an 8 oz. carton of milk, and two shots each of Bailey’s and Tomatin.  The result was a very dark, very strong milkshake.  If someone had told me how strong it actually tasted, I might have tried to add chocolate syrup and malt powder to it.  I figure the strength was fine though, because Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Day-Lewis had steak and straight vodka for dinner every night during filming.  The milkshake was so rich anyway that I couldn’t have more than a glass or two.  Not my best concoction, but fun to try.

There are two coincidences never addressed in the film that are a bit interesting.  Daniel Day-Lewis plays Daniel Plainview, and Paul Dano plays Paul Sunday (and Eli Sunday, but you see the pattern).  I have no idea if this was intentional or not.  Also, Paul Dano plays both Paul Sunday (who appears very briefly in the film) and Eli Sunday, who has the second largest role.  It’s never addressed that Paul and Eli are twins, and the first time I watched the movie, I thought it was the same character changing his name to add some sort of anonymity to the tip-off for the oil fields.  Some trivia-digging showed me that Dano was given both roles at the last minute and had 4 days to prepare for the entire movie, whereas Day-Lewis had a year.  Fascinating.

Nonetheless, both performances paid off beautifully.  I’ve seen this movie at least a dozen times and I’m sure there are still things I haven’t noticed.  The amount of detail that Paul Thomas Anderson put into creating this is amazing.  The imdb page is well worth a read.  The fifteen minutes of silence opening the film is very Kubrick-esque, and it turns out the bowling alley at the end of the movie was loosely inspired by A Clockwork Orange.  And with that —

I’m finished!

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