Oil!

I read Upton Sinclair’s “Oil!” after being thoroughly impressed by the film ‘There Will be Blood’ which got a few Oscar nods and won Daniel Day Lewis an Oscar for his amazing performance. If you loved the movie, don’t make the same mistake that I made in expecting the book to be ANYTHING like the movie. With the exception of a few primary characters and Oil as a common ground, the book and movie were about as different as [insert brilliant simile here].

While the book was entertaining, it was more of a social (Social?) commentary on the times during the early 1900’s into the first world war. Deemed as a ‘classic tale of greed’ the book spun a tale of Capitalism vs Socialism and Communism with primary characters being often referred to as ‘red sympathizers.’ With an overall hokey outlook and moderate story, the only part that I found ‘blogworthy’ was a snip from the first chapter where the young main character talks about the joys of a road trip with his father:

Any boy will tell you that this is glorious. Whoopie! you bet! Sailing along up there close to the clouds, with an engine full of power, magically harnessed, subject to the faintest pressure from the ball of your foot. The power of ninety horses-think of that! Suppose you had had ninety horses out there in front of you, forty-five pairs in a long line, galloping around the side of a mountain, wouldn’t that make your pulses jump? And this magic ribbon of concrete laid out for you, winding here and there, feeling its way upward with hardly a variation of grade, taking off the shoulder of a mountain, cutting straight through the apex of another, diving into the black belly of a third; twisting, turning, tilting inward on the outside curves, tilting outward on the inside curves, so that you were always balanced, always safe – and with a white painted line marking the centre, so that you always knew exactly where you had a right to be – what magic had done all this?

I couldn’t agree more, my young Socialist.

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2 Responses to “Oil!”

  1. mrod Says:

    the book and movie were about as different as “oil” and vinegar? :)

  2. AKSam Says:

    Oof. M, in the future that needs to be followed up with a Fozzie Bear “wakka wakka wakka!”

    And agreed, my dear friend, the movie was tremendous. I watched that one week and “No Country For Old Men” the next week in succession and had an inexplicably depressing and negative view of humanity for several days afterwards. I could never figure out why…

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