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Wow... Miller's Crossing is leading this pole. I'm gonna have to see that one again.

And I still haven't seen Raising Arizona (I can't stand Cage, but I love Hunter and the Coens -- it's too much of a paradox for my small, little mind to wrap itself around, so I often pretend it doesn't exist)...

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(I can't stand Cage, but I love Hunter and the Coens -- it's too much of a paradox for my small, little mind to wrap itself around, so I often pretend it doesn't exist)...

Me either! He riles me enormously. And yet, this is the perfect movie for him. Try it, Cage playing a slapstick bufoon might actually prove to be a cathartic experience.

"There is, it would seem, in the dimensional scale of the world a kind of delicate meeting place between imagination and knowledge, a point, arrived at by diminishing large things and enlarging small ones, that is intrinsically artistic" - Vladimir Nabokov

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  • 3 months later...

Holy guacamole.

I just watched Barton Fink. It was amazing. Made me want to go back and watch half of the films on the poll... And yet, no devoted thread to it here at A&F? Oh, the agnoy. I need more input on this one. It left me wanting more, which is typically a good thing and a reason to immediately see it again. And it has to be the most luscious looking Coen brothers film of all. I want to love it, but I'm unsure, and you people haven't helped me with this one. Shame on you all.

-s.

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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Stef, Barton Fink is a master work. Some find it pretentious, too arty. I think it's brilliant. Goodman and Turturro are at their best, and I think more highly of the dialogue in this film than I do of any other Coen Brothers film (and I think very highly of several of them).

A personal favorite scene (don't ask me why): Barton standing at the door, talking to Judi Davis, who's trying to compose herself while John Mahoney, unseen somewhere within the home, shouts, "WHERE'S MY HONEY?"

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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  • 10 months later...

I can't find a dedicated thread for Miller's Crossing, so I'm posting Jim Emerson's wonderful overview here.

Beautiful. Makes me want to sit down right now and watch the film again.

It also winks at readers about the plot complexities, which kept me from understanding who was doing what to whom until about the fifth time I saw the movie. I'd since forgotten the details -- if you quizzed me on the film, I'd fail -- so this was a useful refresher, as far as it goes.

Have I mentioned that I love hats but have a gigantic head, and that I've never found a hat I feel comfortable wearing to the office? I did buy a big ol' leather hat once, and I wear it in inclement weather, but I've never quite embraced the "rugged look," and co-workers have dubbed it my "Indiana Jones hat," even though it's nothing like Jones' head-topper.

We need a thread on hats.

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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I'm shocked that I'm the only person to choose BLOOD SIMPLE. I have many other favourites on that list, but its BLOOD SIMPLE hands down. No other BS fans?

Added after a read of the full thread: Mark, stef, good on ya.

Edited by Ron

I've posted a couple hundred of my Soul Food Movies write-ups at letterboxd

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I'm shocked that I'm the only person to choose BLOOD SIMPLE. I have many other favourites on that list, but its BLOOD SIMPLE hands down. No other BS fans?

Oh, I'm a big BS fan. (Wait...I mean Blood Simple!) It's a top-tier Coen movie, though my favorite is either Fargo, Miller's Crossing or Barton Fink depending on the day.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Finally watched Miller's Crossing last night.

I wasn't sure if my wife would like it, but we both ended up enjoying it a lot. Some really memorable performances in here, great dialogue. Jon Polito is so great as Casper. Such a great character actor. I remember him from as a kid, he was in The Rocketeer. Also, Tom is the best role Gabriel Byrne has ever done. My wife didn't think Albert Finney was all that. Oh, and have I mentioned how big a fan I am of John Tuturro? Coen's at the top of their game

I voted long ago in this poll for The Big Lebowski, and it still stands. I love it. Barton Fink is a close second.

I still have to see Blood Simple, Hudsucker Proxy, and The Man Who Wasn't There.

That said, I don't think there's a single Coen film I don't like. Though, I do find their last two to be their weakest.

Looking forward to No Country For Old Men.

"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

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If Alan adds No Country to the poll options, I might seriously consider changing my vote.

It's that good.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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  • 3 weeks later...

I thought about it too up until the last five minutes.

I heard that my mom actually stood up at the end and shouted, "I want my money back!"

-s., voice of the commoner

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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Can't change votes, even if I add it, unfortunately. ** BUT ** I might add it and wipe out everyone's votes for a fresh start.

**IF** you were to do so, you could also add a poll from which is least favorite. Might be interesting to see the overlap.

A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

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I take back everything I ever said about The Big Lebowski.

It's still not their best film, but there was never a need to "hate" it.

Recently watched it at movieforumz, and I had the time of my life. In some kind of way I think I just needed to be properly prep'd for the Lebowski experience.

So there.

-s.

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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  • 1 year later...

Now here's an interesting remake in the works. Zhang Yimou, director of Raise the Red Lantern, Hero, and House of Flying Daggers has been signed to direct an "as yet untitled" Chinese language remake of Blood Simple. The synopsis...

Zhang's film will be a thriller-comedy remake of Joel & Ethan Coen's Blood Simple, set in a Chinese noodle shop in a sand dune-specked desert, rather than a bar in an unnamed Texas town. The owner of the noodle shop's seemingly simple plan to murder his adulterous wife and her lover quickly spins out of control after the introduction of a gun into the lives of characters more accustomed to knives and swords.

Full story here.

Formerly Baal_T'shuvah

"Everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can't let the world judge you too much." - Maude 
Harold and Maude
 

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  • 2 months later...

Ken Morefield is running an interesting review written by Mark DiPietro of Cathleen Falsini's book The Dude Abides: The Gospel according to the Coen Brothers.

Falsani

Formerly Baal_T'shuvah

"Everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can't let the world judge you too much." - Maude 
Harold and Maude
 

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"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Anybody want to re-start the poll, since it doesn't include No Country or A Serious Man?

Having just seen A Serious Man, I suspect it's may rate as the new favorite for some. The audience at the sneak preview loved it.

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Yes, because my appreciation for the Coens has easily tripled, maybe more, and now I love The Big Lebowski so I think I'm really under their spell.

Dang, I wish we could rank them. Maybe I will anyway once the poll is introduced.

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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Don't forget Burn After Reading.

Yes. That is way at the top of my list as well.

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

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  • 2 weeks later...

I posted this on my Facebook page, but forgot to add it here.

Several film-industry heavyweights cite their favorite Coen brothers film.

In my Facebook post, I went with "Miller's Crossing," if only because no one in the linked article mentioned that one.

And I still don't get The Big Lebowski! Have I mentioned before how irritated I am to have missed the bus on that film? I mean, I *get* Fargo, even if I don't particularly care for it, but the appeal of Lebowski eludes me. Part of that has to do with the sex/drugs element of the film, I think. I just have a hard time embracing, and laughing along with, certain scenes in Lebowski. And although I don't begrudge anyone else's admiration of the film, I do wonder sometimes why certain elements in Lebowski get a free pass of sorts from Christian critics. I'm not trying to guilt-trip people who like the film, and I understand it has an odd spirit to it that makes some of those elements go down a little easier than they might have if, say, the film were a serious drama, or whatever. But I distinctly remember being put off by the film, even as I struggle to remember just what it was that put me off.

This one's a lost cause for me, I'm afraid. Wish it weren't so.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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even as I struggle to remember just what it was that put me off.

Was it the swearing, like in my case?

I'm sure you've noticed the 180 I did on The Big Lebowski over the last five or six years. The Dude just makes me laugh now. I love his heart in the middle of all the self-imposed helplessness.

FWIW, I'm using Netflix these days as the ultimate weapon of film grading. You know how I always hated stars. Well I'm probably flip flopping on that as well, because I've come up with a system to help my Netflix grades. It's a five, rather than a four star approach, but it actually helps my figuring to be easier:

5 Stars = I will no doubt love this film for many reasons for the rest of my life. Masterpiece.

4 Stars = Highly respected, I would actually pay money to watch it again.

3 Stars = It was OK, I enjoyed my time but most probably will not watch it again. Maybe if I'm bored and it's free.

2 Stars = I won't ever watch this again. It gives film a bad name.

1 Star = This loathsome piece of crap is worth no one's time. No one should be tricked into this, the film is a curse.

So here's how all the Coens now rank at Netflix:

5 Stars = Raising Arizona, The Big Lebowski, Miller's Crossing, No Country for Old Men

4 Stars = Blood Simple, Barton Fink, The Hudsucker Proxy, Fargo, Oh Brother, Where art Thou?

3 Stars = Intolerable Cruelty, Burn After Reading

2 Stars = The Man Who Wasn't There, The Ladykillers

There are no 1 Star Films.

The Coens are without a doubt the highest rated of all filmmakers on my Netlfix star system. Only Ingmar Bergman also has four movies with five stars (then again, I think Bergman directed what -- sixty full-length features?). I think Francis Ford Copolla is next in line with three (The Godfather, The Godfather: Part II, Apocalypse Now, which is my favorite movie of all time). Haneke has two. Dreyer has two. Paul Thomas Anderson has two. Surprise to you all -- Lars Von Trier only has one (Dogville).

I guess, in my mind, the Coens really are the greatest filmmakers of all time. I don't usually think of it like that, but looking at it under these terms and with these stats, the figures can't lie.

edit PS: I know I need to see The Man Who Wasn't There again sometime, and some day I will. So give me a bit of time on that one -- I think it may have simply been the mood I was in when I first saw it.

Edited by Persona

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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I do love the Coens, but I have to say, I'd only consider one of their films to be a true-blue cinematic masterpiece (BARTON FINK).

(On my own Netflix cue, I'd wager that Kubrick has the highest amount of five-star ratings; PATHS OF GLORY, DR. STRANGELOVE, 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, and BARRY LYNDON all win that prestigious ranking.)

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