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10th Anniversary: A SERIOUS MAN

"I have never seen a film that mixes laugh-out-loud comedy so intimately with dead serious philosophical questioning. It packs so much into its short runtime. " - Dr strange

"This movie is one of my favorites - Michael Stuhlbarg the biggest reason, he's so heartbreakingly fantastically good in everything." -Rebecca

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Entries in Coen Bros (43)


Ten Years of "A Serious Man"

by new contributor Michael Frank

The Coen brothers have always been masters of crafting a world the audience vaguely understands, but has never experienced. They create characters that are utterly ridiculous, acutely specific, yet still relatable to the common audience member. After 10 years, their dark comedy A Serious Man holds up better than even they could have imagined. It’s a twisted laughfest that agonizes and tickles for a wildly enjoyable 100 minutes. 

A Serious Man isn’t a movie that I’ve rewatched time and time again. It’s one I’ve jumped in and out of over the last 10 years, seeing a snippet here, a snippet there. If you jump into any part of the film, the atmosphere is always the same. You’re quick to realize the plight of Larry Gopnik, and the rapid shrinking of his happiness...

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The New Classics - No Country For Old Men

Michael Cusumano here to take a fresh look at a film that never fails to reward it.

Scene: The Sad, Strange Death of Carson Wells

Moss: What's this guy supposed to be, the ultimate badass?

Wells: No, I wouldn't describe him as that.

Moss: How would you describe him?

Wells: I guess I would say he doesn't have a sense of humor.

But that’s not really accurate, is it? 

Anton Chigurh displays frequent amusement throughout the Coen’s adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s No Country For Old Men. It simply that the humor exists on a wavelength only he can hear. Shortly after making that assessment quoted above, Woody Harrelson’s Carson Wells will learn just how mistaken he is...

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Over & Overs: The Hudsucker Proxy (1994)

by Mark Brinkerhoff

The Coen Brothers have no shortage of veritable classics on their résumé (FargoNo Country for Old MenRaising Arizona, etc.), but somewhat overlooked within their filmography are the quirky, sweet (read: non-violent, still absurdist) little diversions into optimism, vs. their patented nihilism. And so, sandwiched between the critical and commercial triumphs Barton Fink and Fargo, arrived The Hudsucker Proxy, the Coens’ mid-‘90s (25th anniversary, y’all!) ode to the zany, screwball comedies of Hollywood’s Golden Age.

They had me at "You know, for kids.”

I was one of the few who saw The Hudsucker Proxy in theaters—it bombed…hard—at the mall where I worked as a teen (at Subway in the food court, natch). In fact, it wasn’t by chance that I saw The Hudsucker Proxy; I actually sought it out, for reasons I can’t totally recall. But loved it I did, from the very first watch... 

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Great Scots!

by Jason Adams

It is always good news when the Coen Bros announce a new thing, even if the new thing turns out to be kinda hit-n-miss like I found their last new thing (that'd be The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, which I reviewed out of NYFF last fall right here) to be. The hits are worth the misses. ("Pan shot!") But today's good news is more than good -- it's downright invigorating.

The Bros are taking on the Bard -- they're making their Macbeth, and it's going to star Denzel Washington (who previously played Don Pedro in Kenneth Branagh's Much Ado About Nothing, pictured) and Frances McDormand (who is Frances f'ing McDormand) as the Lord and his Lady. O, Vaulting Ambition!

And you're a better person than I if you're not already casting this thing in your head with a bunch of Coen regulars -- as soon as I landed on Tilda Swinton playing all three of the witches I might've passed right out. Who are you play-casting?


Blueprints: Memorable scenes from your "Best Adapted Screenplay" nominees

by Jorge Molina

Last week we dove into the nominees for Original Screenplay. Unlike that category, which feels up in the air with a batch of uneven contenders, the adapted nominees reflect a much richer group of screenplays overall. From the pitch-perfect blending of genres and race-commentary in BlackKklansman, to the lyricism and poetry of If Beale Street Could Talk, and from the snark and melancholy in Can You Ever Forgive Me?, to the dark ironies that permeate through all the tales in The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, andthe interpersonal relationships against the backdrop of superstardom in A Star Is Born, each nominee says what it needs to say in a way only it could have. Let’s have a look at each of the nominees...

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Podcast: On the nominations for the 91st Academy Awards

with Nathaniel R, Nick Davis, and Murtada Elfadl 

Hopefully you're not sick of talking Oscar nods, yet, since here's the last bit of the post-nomination blitz coverage... though obviously Oscar discussions will continue through Oscar night but we can diversify our attention after this one. 

Index (63 minutes)
00:01 Marina de Tavira for Roma (!) and women's stories at the Oscars
05:00 Spike Lee's BlacKkKlansman & Coen brothers Buster Scruggs
12:00 Netflix and working hard for your nominations; it pays off
17:00 The joy of reaction videos: Richard E Grant and more
20:30 Best Cinematography: Caleb Deschanel for Never Look Away
23:30 Best Actor: Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale, or Rami Malek?
29:45 No more Potterverse nominations but that Elizabeth vs Mary franchise never goes away. And the same people are rewarded for it again!
32:35 Nominations we don't quite understand but aren't opposed to.
40:00 A24 Oscar fate: First Reformed and Eighth Grade
43:15 Discussions of these career moments and potential futures for the 20 acting nominees. 
57:00 Saying nice things about Green Book and Bohemian Rhapsody
60:00 Random happy thoughts to wrap-up

Referenced in the Pod
Bobby Pontillas (animated short) reaction video
Richard E Grant (supporting actor) reaction video
Oscar Charts
• And this Blanchett-obsessed acceptance speech from Jenny Shircore...

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunesContinue the conversations in the comments, won't you? 

Deep dive into the nominations