Trailer Blazer: 'There Will Be Blood,' 'The Great Debaters'

Blood_lTwo tales of Dust Bowl Americana in this edition of Trailer Blazer:

There Will Be Blood
(Dec. 26) Is that title a threat or a promise? In this turn-of-the-century tale, based on Upton Sinclair’s book Oil!, faith and Mammon (represented by young evangelist Paul Dano and wildcatter Daniel Day-Lewis, pictured) apparently come to blows, and it looks like they both lose. Even in high-def, this looks relentlessly grim and grimy, though the title card that touts director Paul Thomas Anderson gives me hope that there’ll be more than bleakness and Oscar-chasing on screen.

The Great Debaters (Dec. 25). Here’s another movie, à la Seabiscuit or Cinderella Man, in which an underdog competitor comes to represent the fighting spirit of downtrodden Americans during the Depression. Only this time, instead of a racehorse or a boxer, it’s an African-American college debate team. The trailer makes it look like all of America was tuned into the radio broadcast of the climactic debate between the all-black team from a small Texas school and the bluebloods of Harvard (Really? What a quaint country we used to be!), but such details aside, it looks like we’re supposed to be swayed by the stirring rhetoric, the hissability of white bigots (like John Heard, in a thankless-looking role), and the sight of young African-American kids standing up for themselves and fighting with words instead of sticks and stones. Oh, and the credits noting the participation of Oprah Winfrey (who produced) and Oscar-winners Denzel Washington (who directs and stars as the debate professor) and Forest Whitaker. Uplifting? No doubt. Predictable? Almost certainly.

addCredit(“There Will Be Blood: Melinda Sue Gordon”)

Comments (11 total) Add your comment
  • stephen

    “There Will be Blood” looks good, even though when I first heard the title I thought it was another sequel to “Saw.”

  • Rob

    Both of these movies have some serious talent — Daniel Day Lewis, Paul Dano, Denzel Washington, Forrest Whittaker.
    There Will Be Blood does look good, and I would probably pay to see it.
    The Great Debaters brings back memories of the last major college debate movie — Listen to Me, an 80s piece with Kirk Cameron and Roy Scheider. Sure, the Great Debaters looks MUCH better, but I still shudder at the thought of ANY college debate movie.

  • Sally

    I intend to see “Blood” because of Daniel-Day Lewis….I don’t intend to see Debate, because honestly it looks like a Made-for-TV movie Hallmark Hall of Fame…and more thoughts on that — Oprah is good producing Tv movies and I wonder if she’s out of her element with big-screen movie making. if she wants a big audience, she’s got it on TV.

  • Sarah

    I am really excited to see “There Will Be Blood.” But there is a fear that the only action in the movie is the stuff in the preview…we all know how PTA can get with having overly long, boring scenes.
    Sidenote: PTA is quite the looker.

  • David D

    There’s an earlier trailer to “Blood” that’s much more compelling; it may be an international one. I watched it over at, where I see most of my trailers online. And I love the biblical poster.

  • sam

    Expect many a “Master Debaters” joke to come.

  • furry_tom

    They kick off the Debater trailer with my favorite Langston Hughes poem, but the P.T. Anderson movie is more my taste.

  • Kevin

    3 movies I’m most excited about this Fall: No Country for Old Men, Sweeney Todd, and There Will Be Blood. I’m a fan of PT Anderson. I loved Magnolia and I like Boogie Nights more and more as time goes on (originally, it was too much of a Scorcese rip-off for me…but it grew on me to the point that I think it’s one of the best movies of the 90’s). Punch-Drunk Love was awful though (I blame Sandler). But this trailer gave me chills and Daniel Day-Lewis is a freakin’ genius (wish he did more movies), so I have high hopes.

  • David D

    “No Country for Old Men” and “Sweeney Todd”? Talk about “There Will Be Blood”!!!

  • Kay

    I’m afraid I can’t read or hear “There Will Be Blood” without mentally tagging on “Tonight” done in the voice of Inigo Montoya…. Kind of ruins it for me.

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