A little late but worth the wait, the Film Pigs are back and we’re talking Coen Brothers – their movies we love, the ones we don’t get, and the few that just don’t work. Plus, a long talked about but never before accused addition to Movie Jail, a very Stormarey bizarre line reading, the triumphant return of Straight to DVD Corner with Tonn Slingdog, a trivia game that’s actually a real trivia game and not total nonsense, and more! THERE’S ALWAYS MORE!
This time, on a very special episode of The Film Pigs Podcast:
- 0:00:00 – Intro
- 0:00:52 – Movie News
- 0:05:34 – Host Stephen Falk presents this episode’s theme: The Coen Brothers
- 0:36:24 – Movie Jail
- 0:42:00 – The Nic Cage Memorial Bizarre Line Reading
- 0:45:18 – Straight to DVD Corner with Tonn Slingdog
- 0:51:38 – A Cold Reading from RAISING ARIZONA
- 0:57:22 – Trivia!
- 1:11:25 – The Bottom 5: Worst Coen Brothers Movies
- 1:12:21 – A Moment Of Positivity
- 1:12:55 – Outro
8 thoughts on “Podcast #24 – The Coen Brothers”
Oh man, I have a lot of thoughts. Sorry.
Top 5: Miller’s Crossing, No Country for Old Men, Fargo, Blood Simple Hudsucker Proxy.
On originals vs. adaptations: Miller’s Crossing is based on Hammett’s The Glass Key. Sort of… I have film geek theories about this but I will spare you. (You’re welcome!) Big Lebowski is The Big Sleep. And then A Serious Man is the Book of Job, O Brother is the Odyssey… Others (Blood Simple, Hudsucker Proxy, Man Who Wasn’t There) are original stories but still pastiches. Fargo might be the only one that isn’t referencing other movies in some way…
Also: I certainly didn’t love Burn After Reading but it is funnier if you live in/near DC and know how accurate it is. But comedy is very subjective and I guess that’s why to this day I don’t understand why everyone loves Raising Arizona. (Yes, I know, I’m wrong, fine. But ugh.)
Interesting. Upon further reflection, maybe adaptations aren’t really an issue with the Coens. Maybe they’re just in a bit of a slump that they’ve been coming out of with their last couple films. (And most filmmakers should dream to be as good as a Coen Bros. “slump”.)
I’m going to slowly back away from your Raising Arizona opinion…I don’t understand it and am frightened…
I think there’s more of a cycle with them where… they’re as weird as they’re allowed to be? When they do something that gets awards, they have the leeway to be a little more experimental and do whatever they want. And around the time their credit runs out, they’re like, “oh eff, we need do something stunning again.” Sort of an extension of the Soderbergh “one for me, one for the studio” thing?
Re Raising Arizona: No worries, I’m used to it. I don’t know if it’s the fact that it’s more slapstick or what. It just doesn’t work for me.
I loved A Serious Man. I felt it was just as funny, mysterious and strangely touching as the Coens best work. Up there with Barton Fink in my opinion (which is my favourite Coen movie).
My top five Coen films would have to be:
1. NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
2. RAISING ARIZONA
4. MILLER’S CROSSING
5. BLOOD SIMPLE
While I enjoy THE BIG LEBOWSKI I never really understood the slavish devotion to it that a lot of people have for it. It’s fun and imaginative but it’s still far down my list of favourite Coen films. I hate the arbitrary and not-at-all-funny swearing in the bowling scenes and I’m not a stoner, so I don’t hero-worship Jeff Bridges’ character.
Tonn mentioned THE ABANDONED in his segment and I really liked that movie. It’s true that it’s mainly atmosphere, and I really think that director should have made the SILENT HILL movie. And it’s also nice to see a horror movie with a mature, real-looking woman in the lead who isn’t sexualised.
A note for Tonn; if you want to see a great horror collection check out a Spanish made-for-TV series called SIX FILMS TO KEEP YOU AWAKE. You can get the boxset on Amazon and they’re hour-long horror films that are still nasty and scary. In fact, of the six I think only one is a bit of a dud. The rest are really good and are done by some of Spain’s best horror directors.
They certainly shit all over the MASTERS OF HORROR series in terms of quality.
Like Susan’s comment above about proximity to DC and liking Burn After Reading, there’s a similar effect with Lebowski and being in LA. I love that movie DESPITE all the hipsters who quote it.
I love, love, love O Brother. And Raising Arizona, Barton Fink, Hudsucker Proxy, and Blood Simple are up there. No Country and Man Who Wasn’t There both left me cold. I probably need to give Fargo and Big Lebowski second chances; I agree that the Coen Brothers deserve a chance to grow on you. The only thing I don’t really care for about the Coens is that they really DON’T feel as meticulous as you credit them for, at least in plotting. They seem to plot their stories by feel, and their films tend to be loose and jangly; there’s often weird symbolism that probably doesn’t mean anything, odd performances that don’t really have a point, and so on. And sometimes that stuff works, and sometimes it doesn’t. The Ladykillers, for one, is half a great movie and half “WTF, Simmons and Wayans?”
I’m not the biggest Coen Brothers fans but I thougt TRUE GRIT was fantastic. The best western since OPEN RANGE; it was pretty realistic in its portrayal of the old west and its mores and wasn’t the unrealistically modern view that we’ve been drenched in since DEADWOOD. The girl was fantastic. It was much better than the John Wayne version and I’m a big fan of The Duke (the original wasn’t up to much).
I just watched FARGO for the first time all the way through yesterday and thought it was pretty damn good, but a bit silly for its own good at times.
THE HUDSUCKER PROXY is so much a pastiche of Capra and Sturges I’m kept thinking why amn’t I watching the genuine article instead. But Jennifer Jason Leigh is fantastic in that movie and makes it worth watching.
NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN was also pretty good but I fail to see what was so great about Bardem in that movie. He’s been much, much better in loads of other movies. He wasn’t scary at all, just monotone and dull.
Finally I can not for the life of me comprehend how they were able to turn one of the funniest films of all time (THE LADYKILLERS) into something so desperately unfunny.