Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Amazing Coen Brothers



These guys are magic. Ethan and Joel Coen have made some of my favorite movies of all time. 

I first fell in love with the boys' over-the-top movie-making style when a friend told me about "Raising Arizona" -- a film I've seen now approximately twenty-five times.  The dialogue and the voice-over narration are so witty, so articulate that I'd be happy just to listen to this flick -- but then I'd  miss Nicholas's Cage's loose-limbed physical humor or the innumerable 'bits' that make me grin just thinking about them.
"Fargo," "Burn After Reading," "O Brother, Where Art Thou, "The Big Lebowski" -- these, too, are all part of my short list of films to rewatch yearly.  Or more. Sometimes I just need to see the Jesus section of "The Big Lebowski" one more time.  John Tuturro and his purple jumpsuit -- words fail me.

When the Coen brothers'  "A Serious Man"  came out, the reviews I read were lack lustre and  the entire premise just didn't entice me. A Jewish college teacher has a lot of bad things happen to him and he tries to make sense of his trials.

Meh. Didn't grab me.

Then I heard an interview with the Coens and they talked about "A Serious Man" and I realized I'd made a serious mistake.

We watched the movie and I adored it. And for those critics who didn't like the ending -- they should consider the Book of Job.

It really ties the whole thing together.

Looking forward to seeing what the boys have done with "True Grit."


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21 comments:

Margaret Bednar said...

...I think you will not be disappointed with True Grit. I liked it much better than the original. (and they are not the same movie - it has it's own voice and spirit). And I remember the first time I heard "The Big Leubowski". I'm sure I spelled that wrong.. My 17 year old son was on the floor laughing - I'm just glad the grandparents weren't here to here all the swear words! :) But it is a classic, that's for sure.

Diana said...

I loved the new True Grit. And I loved the old one, so I would have been a particularly hard sell.

Martin H. said...

'Raising Arizona' and 'Fargo' are among my all-time favourites, too. Would you believe, I have 'The Big Lebowski' on DVD, and have never watched it. Guess what I'll be doing this weekend.

I look out for 'The Serious Man'.

Miss_Yves said...

Yes, the end of "a serious man "seems rather strange...

I love their movies , I' waiting for last one.

Pat in east TN said...

I'm anxious to see "True Grit" ... everyone raves about it.

Brian Miller said...

hmmm...have not seen this one...will have to check it out...and i totally wan tto see true grit...

Reader Wil said...

I shall try to see this movie when it appears on TV. But it might take a long time before it will be released on TV. I have never heard of these brothers, but if they are Jewish( Coen is probably derived from Cohen) then they are bound to be good.

Bouncin' Barb said...

Fargo is up at the top in my top 10all favorites. Love that movie. Raising Arizona is great. I love Holly Hunter. She's a ball of fire in a tiny body. Great post.

KarenB said...

Definitely go see True Grit. The acting was terrific, just wonderful and the cinematography just wonderful. I haven't seen the original - need to see if the library has it - but I truly enjoyed this movie.

Louise said...

No "True Grit" for me. I won't watch any movie where an animal is killed. I still get sick to my stomach any time I think about the horse and the wolf in "Dances with Wolves," even though I, of course, know that it's fiction.

Brenda said...

Oh, I'm a huge fan! Haven't seen True Grit yet, but that may change this weekend. But - I've never heard of The Big Lebowski, how did I miss that one? Sounds like one I should track down on Netflix or somewhere.

Deanna said...

I'm with you! I never pass up an opportunity to watch O Brother. Am looking forward to True Grit. The previews have already sold me.

pat said...

True Grit is amazing...I couldn't believe it could be better than the original, but you will forever think of Jeff Bridges now....it is different though, so both movies will have a place as classics. And the girl (sorry dont have her name) is the one who runs away with the best acting job....she holds her own against the big names and even rises a bit above. Don't miss it!

NCmountainwoman said...

Me too!!! Me too!!! I watch their movies over and over and gain something with each viewing.

jennyfreckles said...

I'm not familiar with any of these - you have whetted my appetite.

Vicki Lane said...

I saw the John Wayne version of 'True Grit' and loved it. (Still remember the great line:"I call that bold talk for a one-eyed fat man."

Then I read the book and loved it too. Am prepared to love the boys' take on it as well.

Martin - get thee to a DVD player! Really, life without the Dude and Jesus . . . it doesn't bear thinking of.

Miss Yves -- from the book of Job 'And God spoke from the whirlwind...' and told Job not to question His ways ...

Yes, Brenda, what I told Martin.

Vagabonde said...

We saw True Grit this afternoon. My husband had seen the original so many times that he knew some of the lines before they said them. I liked the movie but had trouble sometimes understanding Jeff Bridges because he seemed to mumble and I had not seen the original. After that we watched the movie The King’s Speech. I loved it. I liked it so much that it took a bit away from the first movie we saw, True Grit that is. The King’s Speech is superb and Colin Firth is unbelievably good. If you get a chance see this movie, you will like it. I usually don’t often see movie twice but I would go and see it again next week. I identified with this movie, the King’s problem with his stutter because of my accent – it’s not as bad of course, but I encounter so many problems with people who don’t understand me (or don’t try) that I sometime won’t speak to people I don’t know. It happened just yesterday at Publix and when it was over I was almost in tears. If you don’t speak with a southern accent in some places they stare and won’t help you.

Vicki Lane said...

In the little trailer that I saw, Jeff Bridges did, indeed, mumble. And I know I want to see The King's Speech.

I had a little of your trouble when I moved to the mountains -- often I couldn't understand what people were saying and vice versa.

I just persevered and kept smiling and being as polite as I could and tried to assume that it was a failure of communication rather than actual ill will.

dana said...

Raising Arizona. I watch it every time it's on television. Fargo: the same. True Grit? I love Jeff Bridges and the girl that has Kim Darby's part is fantastic!

It is more historically accurate, where the clothing, ie: filth, is concerned. (you'll particularly feel your skin itch when you see the man wearing a bear's hide)

But NO ONE can deliver the lines with the right amount of "pi**ed off" attitude like John Wayne.

My post today deals with the difference in delivery.

Pepper Cory said...

Saw the new True Grit and thought it was amazing. Much truer to the book. Where the animal dies--heard the Coen brothers interview and they said no animals had been hurt (many regulations now)and that the death scene was done with digital fiddling. Much nicer than when horses' legs were yanked out from under them in Westerns. The Humane Society's on it.
I know it's a good movie when I think about it several days in a row.

Tess Kincaid said...

You're gonna love True Grit.