#3 Getting Techincal

February 28, 2008


Film Critics love to use high felutin language that they try to pass of as technical expertise. Film Critics will throw into any given review the difference between a pan and a dolly shot, a fill and key light, direct and reflected sound, the signified and the signifier, diegetic and non-diegetic music, and how both a tracking shot and depth of field can be ideological.

Film Critics love to re-inforce in your mind that you don’t know shit about films…and they know shitloads. I’m sure you remember the scene in the recent film starring Daniel Day-Lewis as Oil prospector Daniel Plainview in which he utters the lines “…if you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and I have a straw. There it is, that’s a straw, you see? Watch it. And my straw reaches across the room and starts to drink your milkshake, I drink your milkshake. I drink it up!” ” Now, seems like a great line with no room for technical analysis huh? Wrong! Film Critics will tell you that this is essentially a high level narration of Daniel Plainview’s desire to suck America’s oil supply dry…Oh, really? Allow me to retort…bullshit!


4 Responses to “#3 Getting Techincal”

  1. LP said

    Um… but that’s kind of at the core of that movie- the conflict between capitalist and religious greed?

    Also, what’s wrong with knowing the difference, say, between diegetic and non-diegetic music?

    I don’t know, this website needs a good deal of work… I don’t even understand what’s supposed to be funny or clever about most of these items.

  2. This may not be trying to be funny or clever, we must keep that in mind. Us whiteys, always looking for something that isn’t there. Wait, I mean film critics not whiteys.

  3. Michael Morgan said


  4. Tom said

    No, listen, the milkshake speech really is a metaphor. If it weren’t a metaphor, it would be out of place in the scene, because they’re talking about oil. When he says “milkshake”, he’s not actually referring to a dairy beverage. The wording of the preceding lines is designed to make sure you grasp the analogy.

    Also, the example you give is theoretical, not technical. An example of a technical detail would be to praise the film’s lack of speech for the first twenty minutes (which is odd because the first twenty minutes contain the clearly audible line “No no there she is there she is there she is”), or camera placement during Plainview’s reunion with his son (which is so obnoxiously obvious as to make everyone in the audience feel like a film critic for getting it, which I think is what people like about the movie).

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