Better a Witty Fool than a Foolish Wit

Inner Workings of My Twisted Mind.

I’m The Dude…So That’s What You Call Me.

Ok, so I promised a three part series on my favorite T.V. shows and
don’t worry they’re coming.  But I just finished watching Fargo for
the first time since it came to Video (yes, Video) and I just have to
talk about the Cohen Brothers, and what fucking genius’ they are.

Now, when it comes to film I’m not a snob.  I, much like Roger Ebert,
judge films on what they are.  I’m never going to compare Legally
Blonde to Taxi Driver.  Apples and Oranges people.  You just have take
films for what they are and what they are trying to achieve.  Legally
Blonde is a great movie (I can hear my mother groaning from 400 miles
away) and Taxi Driver is a great movie.  Sure, one of them is Oscar
worthy, but they are both awesome movies.  And you know what?  I don’t
always want to watch an oscar-worthy film.  I don’t always want to
watch Taxi Driver.

That being said, The Cohen Brothers appeal to each one of these
sensibilities.  When I need a serious film I, from now on, can turn to
Fargo.  Fargo is just one of those movies where everthing is perfect.
I mean the script (oscar winning I may add) is amazing, but really the
actors are what brings this movie up to what it is.  I watched the
special features on this movie and one of the actors says that it’s
just a movie about ordinary people trying to live ordinary lives.  And
Bill Macy is just brilliant at this.  He’s just trying to make money
for his family and trying to deal with his ass of a father-in-law.  He
makes some bad decisions along the way, but when it comes down to it
he’s just an ordinary man trying to live and ordinary life.

The best performance is by Frances MacDormand.  She’s just doing her
job.  She’s good at her job, but she’s just figuring out this crime.
When it’s over, she’ll move to the next one.

The supporting cast, headed by Steve Buscemi among others, fill out
the texture of the story fabulously.

It’s just a great film.

The Cohen Brothers fill out the sort of quirky, wacky comedy through
two different films.  Raising Arizona was the first.  Nick Cage and
Holly Hunter are just hilarious.  I mean, they want to be parents so
they steal a baby.  Nick’s wacky friends played by Steve Buscemi and
John Goodman are excellent comic relief and overall the film is one
that you can watch over and over.

But the Piece de la Resistance is by far The Big Lebowski (where the
subject title is from).  Okay, so I’m a little biased because my
father is The Dude.  I can just imagine him shopping for milk (for his
white russians) in a bathrobe.  The Big Lebowski is Film Noir turned
on its head.  It’s a mystery, missing person hunt, you don’t know who
works for whom, who’s good, who’s bad, but instead of Philip Marlowe
or Sam Spade we have Jeff Bridges’ The Dude and John Goodman’s Walter.
 They’re the best onscreen duo, onscreen married couple in the history
of movies.

The Big Lebowski, if you are unaware, is somewhat of a cult hit.  If
you have kids or friends in college, or know people in college, ask
them how many times a week they think that movie is played in the
dorms.  I’m sure if you went room to room you could find at least one
person watching it every night.  It’s the kind of movie that only gets
funnier and funnier every time you watch it.  There’s a million little
things Jeff does that are just hilarious.

Also, in what I think is a true stroke of Genius, the narrator (who,
in regular film noir is usually the protagonist), is Sam Elliot (go
look him up on, who is somewhat reminiscent of the Marlboro

The Big Lebowski is the Cohen Brothers Legally Blonde, while Fargo is
their Taxi Driver.

I’ll mention briefly of course that O Brother Where Art Thou?  is a
great adaptation of the Odyssey, but I think that this comparison
rates an entire email rant.

And there are a few that I haven’t seen: Barton Fink and Blood Simple
to name a few.

But I must build anticipation for what, in my opinion, should be the
next great Cohen Brothers film.  They are in the middle of shooting
(for Paramount Pictures) a movie based on the book by Cormac
MacCarthy, No Country for Old Men.  It’s a great book and I must say
that I can’t think of anyone more perfect for this movie than the
Cohen Brothers.

Not only does it have the kind of Fargo feel where ordinary people are
trying to live ordinary lives, but it involves quite a manhunt in a
very Big Lebowski type scenario.  I can think of nothing more perfect
than the Cohen Brothers making a movie that will, hopefully, combine
the best elements of two of their best movies.

Also, this film, like all the Cohen Brothers movies, has excellent
casting choices.  In fact, I’m going to make a bold statement and say
that casting is where the Cohen Brothers excel the most.  Sure, they
write amazing scripts, and the composition of thier frames is
stunningly beautiful (especially in Fargo), but where the Cohen
Brothers succeed in every single one of their films is in the fact
that they cast the right people.  They cast actors who know a role and
are comfortable in their ability to act so they all fully fill out
thier roles.

So here’s to you Joel and Ethan Cohen.  Thank you for redefining the
genres we already know so well, and here’s to creating new ones.


June 14, 2007 - Posted by | Coen Brothers, Hollywood, Movies, Oscars, The Big Lebowski

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: