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|Rowbro ranks Coenbros|
did I create this list purely for that title pun? wouldn't you like to know? I don't have the time/masochistic tendencies to watch like bad santa and gambit and all that so just the essentials
|20||Tyler, the Creator|
The Ladykillers/Intolerable Cruelty/Crimewave - not seen these ones yet so placeholder. (I Ain't Got Time - get it?)
|19||Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds|
Abattoir Blues / The Lyre Of Orpheus
SUMMARY: In a filmography full of very smart movies about very stupid people, Hail, Caesar! is a very stupid movie about very stupid people. Very few laughs are apparent in this film’s half-hearted, lazy indictment of the movie industry, and some very lacklustre satire about Commies doesn’t make for anywhere near a decent critique on the Blacklisting phase of the 50s. Despite one genuinely great scene that rides purely thanks to Ralph Fiennes’ astronomical talents – “would that it twere so simple, would that it twerrrre so simple” - about halfway through HC gives up all pretense of having pacing or plot and instead becomes a series of increasingly lacklustre spins on the “producer bad, writer good” scenes that are done thousands of times better in Barton Fink. Channing Tatum’s tap-dance sequence is excruciantingly bad and eye-rolling.
RATING: Ugh, like 2/5
|18||Alice in Chains|
SUMMARY: Jeff Bridges mumbles a lot but is generally likable. Josh Brolin has a cameo as the guy the movie is supposed to be about, but the plot gets bored with him and moves on pretty much as soon as he shows up. Matt Damon sticks around long past his expected deathpoint, and actually pumps out a decent character arc by the end. All the best lines go to Hailee Stanfield, who finds her way around the Coens’ dialogue more effortlessly than co-stars quadruple her age. To be fair this is almost definitely better than I think it is, but honestly *the Dude voice* I just fuckin' hate Westerns, man!
No Country For Old Men
SUMMARY: The Coens craft a stark, tense, brutal thriller, and in doing so lose a lot of their charm and filmmaking magic. As an adaptation No Country is nearly perfect, but as a film? A middle ground had to be found between McCarthy’s bone-stark, desolate words and the Coen’s whipcrack dialogue, but that compromise in this movie ends up on a whole lot of silence because there’s not a whole lot to say. No Country takes place in a kind of limbo, where characters move forward solely from inertia. An incredible performance from Javier Bardem and a truly tense atmosphere don’t necessarily elevate a movie that reaches for grim existentialism but leans more towards dour meandering. Fun fact – second time I watched this movie was at a friends’ house. About a minute before Tommy Lee Jones’ great monologue actually ends, there was a massive power blackout all across that half of the town.
(cont.) Had it not been for the lights flashing and the cries of confusion from the loungeroom, I’m honestly not sure I would have noticed it had finished early.
Blood Enough For Us All
SUMMARY: An understated, almost spartan debut. Such a straightforward story that you almost get confused about how the characters know so much less than you do, but the writing is so clean it creates a solid mystery for Frances McDormand’s character without there ever being one for us – an ironic twist on dramatic irony. Points lost for some really sloppy editing and pacing issues, but gained for the incredibly tense, almost dialogue-free sequences in the middle and end, and for M. Emmet Walsh’s gleefully voyeuristic, scenery-chewing turn as the first great Coen villain.
|14||A Perfect Circle|
Mer de Noms
The Hudsucker Proxy
SUMMARY: The brothers, with Sam Raimi in tow for whatever reason, pay homage to the 50s with a fast-talking, business-headed, triumph of the common man story revolving in multiple ways around circles which, fittingly, decides to run around in circles for most of its runtime. The best part is the first 30 or so minutes while our lead character is trapped in an underground mailroom – I would call it Kafkaesque if I had read Kafka/was looking to score with an attractive literature student – but once he gets to the top floor, the movie becomes just another exercise in fast-paced banter. Jennifer Jason Leigh and Prez from the Wire turn in terrific performances, while Tim Robbins is decent as another dumbass lead character. A little more than half-hearted feint towards injecting some biblical/religious bent at end – because what Coen film would be complete without? – and some fine camerawork do a little bit to elevate a weaker work.
Maybe I'll Catch Fire
Burn After Reading
SUMMARY: What happens if you just throw a bunch of A-list actors at the Coens with a heap of money? Burn After Reading, apparently. This movie is pretty much a goof, like they made it as an outlet for their more fun tendencies on the side of No Country (I would not at all be surprised if this were true). The fuckin' incredible duo of Frances McDormand and Brad Pitt provide the majority of the film’s side-splitting moments; Malkovich and Swinton make good early impressions but fade into the background after half an hour or so, a side effect of the film’s pacing issues; George Clooney gets a few chuckles but is clearly a cut below the rest. The two best moments both come with a perfectly placed J. K. Simmons cameo, basically the Coens admitting that yeah, we don’t know what’s happening at this point. An imperfect ride, but damn if it isn’t a fun one.
FARGO (TV) REFERENCES: Wouldn't be amazed if Mr Wrench’s drum track took influence from the OST here.
SUMMARY: The Coens do a straight up gangster movie, basically. It’s hard to shake the feeling that they’re more indebted to the genre than they are making it their own, like they usually would; characters wear fedoras, doublecross each other in smoky rooms, pour whiskey habitually upon entering any building, etc. But despite that, you find yourself engaged about 40 minutes in, and some tense and genuinely horrifying scenes – mainly involving John Turturro’s Buster-Bluth-turned-evil character, and the Dane’s super Lynchian death scene – turn the second half into a twisted mirror of the first, as dialogue and scenarios replay like we’re watching some hellscape instead of a city in the US. A flawed not-quite-masterpiece whose biggest claim to fame was supplying several of the actors who would appear in, as well as putting the Coens in the headspace to create Barton Fink.
O Brother, Where Art Thou?
O Brother, Where Art Thou?
SUMMARY: A stupid, silly, ridiculous, dumb movie with a gimmick that should get old about 30 minutes in but somehow doesn’t. Retelling the story of Homer’s Odyssey as a cross-country trip by three dumb escaped convicts is ambitious, but it’s clear the movie only has a passing interest in the text it’s adapting and is much more interested in following its own muses down whatever rabbit holes. One of the best soundtracks ever compiled for any film lifts the entire effort up, like in the incredible scene where the main characters encounter the Sirens. Highlights include the aforementioned scene (one of the finest in the entire filmography) as well as John Goodman as Cyclops getting crushed by a cross at a KKK meeting - why the fuck not?
Inside Llewyn Davis
Inside Llewyn Davis
SUMMARY: This movie feels like the anti-O Brother in a lot of ways – the music is composed by the same artist and from roughly the same time period and genre, but in service of a script that couldn’t be further from the former’s infectious enthusiasm and quirk. Inside Llewyn Davis is a film that takes place long after the main action, the suicide of Llewyn’s partner – what we see is the emptiness and numbness afterwards, a depressing cycle of setbacks and fuckups which seem to be neverending. A film where the sound is vibrant while the visuals are muted and dull, and T Bone Burnett’s superb score sets it apart; but there’s a feeling at points that we’re watching more of a lowlight reel of great acting and depressing events than we are a fully fleshed out story.
FARGO (TV) REFERENCES: The cat?
|9||Calling All Cars|
Raise The People
SUMMARY: Has a pretty strong claim to be the most side-splitting Coen movie, if not the best. The first big step towards the whipcrack fast dialogue that defines most of their best movies, and one of the most well-cast movies on this list with terrific lead performances from Nicolas Cage and Holly Hunter. Dragged down by a very stupid, boring villain and some repetitive writing, highlights include John Goodman (duh) and the genuinely touching ending.
FARGO (TV REFERENCES): I'm gonna stretch and say “ohhhhhhhhhhkay then”
A Serious Man
SUMMARY: Led by a moving, hilarious, beautiful performance from Michael Stuhlbarg, this terrific movie’s gift for understatement steer it through supernatural possession, natural disaster, stoner comedy and Hebrew tradition. While avoiding the minimalism of The Man Who Wasn’t There, A Serious Man chooses to comedically underplay almost every moment even as its main character drowns in a sea of ridiculous troubles. Despite overstaying its welcome just a tad, this is an incredible comedy that shows the Coen’s touch both delicate and brusque at adapting to any genre.
FARGO (TV) REFERENCES: Stuhlbarg’s appearance in Season 3 – as a character named Sy no less. In a broader sense, the dybbuk scene at the film’s beginning speaks to a lot of Coen themes that Hawley liked to reflect – the possibility of the supernatural edging on our rational world, the idea of a cruel universe that makes people pay for things they couldn’t possibly be held accountable for, etc.
The Man Who Sold the World
The Man Who Wasn’t There
SUMMARY: (once again) An incredible performance from Billy Bob Thornton anchors a highly stylised, meditative, deeply underrated effort. More an extended musing on life and how fate can fuck you over than anything else, The Man Who Wasn’t There gradually turns up the dial on absurdity without Billy’s character ever showing more than a passing interest in how his life is spinning out of control. Highlights include a typically unnerving James Gandolfini, and an unnerving dive into horror when a widow – well, watch it and see for yourself.
FARGO (TV) REFERENCES: SPOILERS WOW the UFO that saves Patrick Wilson’s life in the final episode of S2 is a direct reference to the ending of this movie. Also, my boy Billy Bob.
The Snow Goose
SUMMARY: Fargo is essentially a perfect piece of cinema up for the first hour and a half. It’s not that the ending is bad, per se, but there’s something trite about the way things spin out: we barely even see William H Macy except for a brief shot of him trying to wiggle out of a window; Peter Stormare kills Steve Buscemi (duh) offscreen, while Gene has been dead probably for the entire second half of the movie as far as we know (which is admittedly pretty funny); and despite Frances McDormand’s finest performance, her monologuing into the snowy white distance about how there’s more to life than money and she doesn’t understand any of it is just a little too “now what did we learn, kids?”.
The Snow Goose
(cont.) But, an okay ending still doesn’t sink the defining black comedy movie of its time; the Coen brothers created a cinematic universe almost by accident in the process of writing this hilarious movie with its stupid, heavily accented characters performing horrific acts of violence on a whim. On some days, it’s still their finest achievement.
FARGO (TV REFERENCES): dunno, might have noticed a few…:thinking:
The Big Lebowski
SUMMARY: What is there to say? The Big Lebowski is a movie so niche it became a cult classic almost immediately, and the cult then grew so large that the movie did a full circle and came right back around to become a movie that pretty much everyone knows and accepts as a classic. Despite 'shut the fuck up Donny' and 'that’s just, like, your opinion man' being thoroughly memed to the point of overkill, every single line in this movie is still so funny and perfectly delivered that it has a strong case for holding the finest dialogue of all time. The Big Lebowski manages in the end to be about absolutely nothing and still somehow be incredibly watchable for its entire runtime: the highlight, of course, being Jeff Bridges, John Goodman and Steve Buscemi as probably the finest trio of actors to grace any comedy. No flaws.
FARGO (TV) REFERENCES: The best scene in Season 3 – if not the whole damn show – takes place in a sort of limbo/afterlife decked out as a bowling alley, as a direct nod to the Dude’s main hangout in this movie. Also David Thewlis appears for a minute, giving no hints whatsoever as to how utterly disgusting he will eventually be in S3 of Fargo.
Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
SUMMARY: A masterpiece. I could go on and on about the symbolism, the ambiguity, the emotional honesty and religious allegories; about how John Goodman’s Charlie is the finest character the Coens ever produced by far, or how completely John Turturro inhabits the titular character for both the laughs and the heart-wrenching sadness, without judgement or pretense. But there’s one simple truth that keeps this movie to a rock solid throughline even while it aesthetically drifts into about five different genres (all mastered); it’s that this movie is at the heart a simple story about how hard it is to create art sometimes, and the people we become in the search for a good story to tell. If The Big Lebowski didn’t already convince you, this movie makes a decent case for John Goodman and the Coens being the finest directors/actor pairing of our generation. Who else could have brought Charlie Meadows – a character I would call the best villain in the Coens filmography,
Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
(cont.) if not for the fact that “villain” just feels reductive and not at all accurate to the scope of the character – to life so effortlessly? Imagine getting the call that this role was written specifically for you? The way that you never know whether it’s sweat or tears on John Goodman’s face, the whine of wind whenever Barton’s door opens or closes, Tony Shalhoub taking the stereotypical shady exec. role and making it his bitch. What else could you possibly want?
RATING: Words fail, ratings fail, but a stone cold 5/5
FARGO (TV) REFERENCES: This is way above my nerd level, but thanks to the internet - when Gloria journeys to Hollywood in S3 she ends up sitting on the beach in the exact same pose the model is striking in the framed photo in Barton Fink. Crazy stuff here.
|words fail, ratings fail|
|My biggest problem with Hail Ceaser was that all of the subplots seemed underdeveloped. The Scarlett Johansson one seems especially rushed, so I feel lke they should have cut those scenes completely to make room for the better subplots to have more scenes.|
Like what happened with the cowboy and his girlfriend? :o
|agreed if they'd just focused on Brolin/Clooney's story and actually developed it it could have been really good but alas|
|killer list. my ranking is nearly the same, although i would prob have no country and burn after reading a little higher.|
|BAR is really underrated and NCFOM is super overrated, for me|
|Barton Fink is my fave|
|top 5 movies, agreed treb|
|Gotta watch Barton Fink once more, I guess. Also, Ladykillers and Intolerable Cruelty aren't very good, so you don't really have to watch them.|
Also, NCfOM is easily no. 2 in my ranking after Lebowski.
|nice rating but need to watch Barton Fink|
Fargo is amazing
|i feel like rowanbro ranks coenbros is more apropos|
|^ actually angery I didn't think of this ngl|
|Man there's a lot of Coen stuff I haven't seen, the ones I have are great though.|
|Nice one Rowbro : )|
|I actually like how seemingly directionless Hail Ceasar is. It feels like every single story ends basically nowhere, because that is as much as we are allowed to know about it. We as an audience are allowed to know and see barely as much as Josh Brolin's navigational character is allowed to know or see. See, we witness some scene play out and then we hear Josh Brolin being informed of that happening, or vice versa. The reason we don't know where many os the stories lead is beacause nobody tells it to Josh Brolin. He just sort of navigates that world as a bystander and takes interest only and purely in the stories and events that are relevant to him as a person and an employee. That's why the movie seems too unfocused. It's because Josh Brolin isn't even trying to find out more about those different events, he only uses what he can to solve the problem in front of him that he is supposed to solve.|
|fair point unique. still not a great movie but you defend it well|
|Well yeah, not the strongest offering, but I do believe it was on purpose.|
|fair enough - some of the little diversions are great (Fiennes' scene, Frances McDormand's cameo) and some of them were just awful (Channing Tatum, the commie jokes)|
|yup yup yupping at this list |
|Miller's Crossing is their best|
|Burn After Reading >|
|nah son, bar is fun but nowhere near their best|
|Reported for having no country for old men so low, all credibility HAS BEEN LOST.|
Barton fink is my favorite too tho, so I guess ur still ok in my book :^)
|17 is 1 lol |
top 5 goes like this:
No Country For Old Men
The Big Lebowski
A Serious Man
|Good list, although I would rate Inside Llewyn Davis lower. It's probably great for Dylan fans though.|
I never got the point of True Grit. These guys could easily make a better western.
FYI Intolerable Cruelty sucks a bit.
|shame cos I really like all the main performances in True Grit but the story is just a complete snore. never really got why these guys of all people would do a straight adaptation agreed|
ILD gets the high rating for its music alone
|i like the big l but i think it's overrated. haven't seen burton fink, agreed no country for old men is overrated but good. inside llewyn and burn after reading are my favourites |
|I've never seen John Goodman do a bad performance. And he's especially good in Barton Fink.|
|awesome list, nice to see ILD up there, feel that one doesn't get enough credit. I still need to see A Serious Man, I really liked Stulhberg in Boardwalk Empire.|
|So Fargo the show is good eh?|
|Three entries in, you're a dipshit|
I don't love you anymore
|Burn After Reading should be a bit higher but good rank.|
|you will always love me zip|
space I want to like Burn After Reading more, I really do, but the pacing is all off and it seems unable to keep track of all the characters threads that it starts. it has some god-tier moments though for sure
|they're my favorite directors but I still haven't seen barton fink. I'm going to have to change that. I feel like a serious man is their most underrated|
|A Serious Man is ridiculously underrated agreed, possibly its too action-free and weird for most but it's exactly up my alley|
watch Fink immediately
|mmm i feel like the pacing in BAR is supposed to feel 'off' tho , yuh know?|
|but i guess if it aint your thing then it aint your thing|
|and damn i need to find a torrent of The Man Who Wasn’t There. i wonder if piratebay is still up|
|what makes you think that about the pacing hal? I like the movie but ye it feels like Swinton and Malkovich kinda disappear after the first 30 minutes and a lot of the scenes are kind of stop and start, it def didn't feel deliberate when I watched it. still a great time|
piratebay definitely livez under various proxy names
|eh i will have to re-watch it to thoroughly answer that question. i just remember feeling like it was by design but maybe i just wanted to think that. i'll rewatch and circle back tmrw with evaluation. and fck yea ! i was sad when kickasstorrents got shut down. gonna get that and miller's crossing. those are the only ones on here i haven't seen yet.|
|17 is 1|
|Inside Llewyn Davis is a really fantastic film with a really fantastic soundtrack/score|
|1 is correct, 2 is overrated|