Podcast #20: There Will be Blood

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The Christ and Pop Culture Podcast is back! This week, we introduce our new host, Ben Bartlett, a long-time listener and writer for the Christ and Pop Culture Website.

After that, we discuss There Will be Blood. With tons of critical success, you’d think this film would be perfect. So why do so many regular people hate it? Is it worth sitting through the whole thing? And does P. T. Anderson hate Christians?

We’ll discuss these questions, plus list our Top Five Depressing Movies in this twentieth episode of Christ and Pop Culture!

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We love feedback. If you’d like to respond you can comment on the website, send an email to christandpopculture@gmail.com or best yet you can leave a voice-mail at 206-888-2471. We would love to respond to feedback on the show, so do it now!

The music in this episode is by SoberMinded and awesome rap band featuring our own writer, Alan Noble. Check them out!

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  • David Dunham

    Good show guys. A few comments:

    1) What do you mean I am replaceable?

    2) Great job Ben!

    3) Rich, I can’t believe you haven’t seen “No Country”. That is one of my favorite movies now!

    4) Good conversation on personal emotional ranges and movies, I had never thought that way.

  • Rich Clark


    1. I kid, I kid!

    2. Ditto!

    3. Sorry man. So much to see, so little time.

    4. I thought the same thing!

  • I’ve been wondering what to say about this one.

    While I found There Will Be Blood‘s pacing a bit too deliberate, I didn’t really find it depressing at all. Instead it was an in interesting and largely successful character study.* It was certainly an uncomfortable movie for me (largely due the inherent tension in the musical score), but not all that depressing or even violent. I would definitely like to see it again—as certain parts have stuck with me and I wouldn’t mind discussing it with certain people.

    Whether P.T. Anderson hates Christians or not, I can’t really answer; but I don’t think that we can at all use Eli and the Church of the Third Revelation as evidence toward this conclusion. One might as well say that he hates business owners (or even people for that matter) when one considers how he portrays the one major business owner in the movie. The fact is, pentacostal charlatanry was not uncommon in Plainview’s era. America was the land of Christianity gone haywire and I appreciated the inclusion of Eli and his own bid for power.

    Rich, I think you are at war with yourself here. you mention that films should be something to relax to on a Friday night with a date but so much of what you predicate your movie-watching experience on is seeing something that says something about the world we inhabit. You mention that critics love There Will Be Blood but the average person doesn’t. That’s probably almost fair in that all Anderson’s movies carry a bit of art-house sensibility, but I think most people can recognize that a movie is good without need to watch it over and over again. Citizen Kane is an awesome movie and well-constructed, but I only watch it every few years or so. But I’ve seen Empire Records well over ten times. If I want to see good art**, I’ll watch Citizen Kane. If I want cheap entertainment, I’ll watch Empire Records.

    p.s. I miss David. No offense to Ben, who did fine.

    *note: I found that it only became awkward in its final third, from the point of the big time jump (i.e., the wedding onward). I was not convinced that the character Daniel Plainview became in that final act was actually the character he would have become. We’re not privy to the intervening events and circumstances that would so shape his character. We get glimpses of how he might arrive at that point earlier in the film, but it wouldn’t be any more surprising or uncalled for to make that time jump and find that Plainview was a much beloved civic leader and founder of a great orphanage (though that might not fit so well with the film’s title).

    **note: I don’t actually conder quality cinema to be art but only use the term to imply things like quality and craft and meaning and importance.

  • Riley

    Great show. Good job Ben. Dave, we miss you too. I look forward to future podcasts. Thank you for helping a goon like me think critically about pop culture, specifically film.

  • Rich Clark

    The Dane, really good comments.

    I agree with a lot of what you said, but I’ll address your third paragraph in the next show or so.

    I also miss David btw! I really meant for that replacement comment to come across as a ludicrous joke, but I think after I editted it down it lost shape a bit.

    But yeah, I was really impressed with Ben. He’s a smart guy and will bring an interesting balance to the podcast.

    Riley, thanks for your constant support!

  • Your ‘God’ is pretend and invented my mankind.

    ‘There Will Be Blood’ is a remarkable film portraying realistic events. Live and let live.

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