Miller's Crossing thoughts

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jeff Willy, Jun 4, 2002.

  1. Jeff Willy

    Jeff Willy Agent

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    First, this is my favorite movie. So I am a bit protective of it, and can't take the agony of it not being on DVD.

    Unfortunately, when I tell people this is my favorite, they look a little confused, as if it is some distant memory slowly fading from their consciousness. Can I get some love here? Are there other MC freaks out there?

    Question: with homosexuality as a recurrent theme throughout the movie, is it a fair conclusion that Tom was in romantic love with Leo? Does this explain the look Tom gives Leo at the end of the film? Or Tom's aggressive opposition to Leo and Verna being a couple? I thinkTom only slept with Verna to sabotage her relationship with Leo.


    Any other discussion about this film is certainly invited!
     
  2. Richard Kim

    Richard Kim Producer

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    I think that Tom has taken the most beatings ever in a single film. Seems like it happens almost every 5 minutes. [​IMG]
    I wish Fox would hurry up and release this and Barton Fink on DVD!
     
  3. Jeff Willy

    Jeff Willy Agent

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    To me, Tom's constant beatings is typical Coen brothers. Many of their protagonists get the *bleep* kicked out of them, sometimes to great comic effect (e.g., Raising Arizona, Lebowski).
     
  4. Quentin

    Quentin Cinematographer

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    I'm not sure why every time there is a film or book that deals with male love/companionship/loyalty (read: Lord of the Rings), it ends up being about homosexuality?

    "Miller's Crossing" is about love, loyalty, friendship, honor, morality, ethics, and control. IMO, it is not the least bit homoerotic and Tom does not love Leo in that way. But, he does love him, he does need him, and he is totally loyal. Then again, I don't think Sam loves Frodo in a romantic way either.

    Aside from that, I love this film. It is incredibly sharp and insightful. If there is a weakness, it comes in the form of its theme about control. The film is so controlled, so perfect that even the dialogue often sounds like period poetry. It's TOO perfect. But, I think that is the style the Coen's wanted.
     
  5. Jeff Willy

    Jeff Willy Agent

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    I agree that Tom clearly loves Leo. That is obvious. What is not so obvious is whether Tom's love is romantic. You cannot deny the existence of other homosexual relationships in the film (example: Eddie Dane and Mink, Mink and Bernie), and their presence in a gangster film is certainly atypical. Had these relationships not been in the film, I would not have been inclined to interpret Tom's love for Leo as sexual. Against this unusual backdrop, as well as Tom's constant interference between Verna and Leo, I think the Coens were trying to imply more than just loyalty/friendship.

    In the end, after all Tom has done and after all he has been through, he doesn't want to pair up with Leo again because Leo is back with Verna. Tom appears to be heartbroken in some ways as he watches them drive away from Bernie's funeral.


    I agree, however, that the film is about control. Control over what is the issue IMO.
     
  6. Scott Leopold

    Scott Leopold Supporting Actor

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    Miller's Crossing is one of my favorite movies ever, and I sometimes feel physical pain when I think about it not being available on DVD yet.

    I don't view Tom & Leo's relationship as romantic at all. Rather, I view Tom as such a loyal friend that he feels almost a motherly love toward Leo. He is constantly looking out for him and tries to steer him in the right direction, yet strives not to interfere directly. Like a mother, he tries to make Leo learn things for himself, while at the same time setting up lessons from which Leo can learn. I think the other relationships are played as a contrast against this motherly love, showing just how messed up nearly every other form of love is. Whether it's Tom and Verna, Leo and Verna, Bernie and Verna, Bernie and Mink, Dane and Mink, or Caspar and his son, the movie is full of screwed up, dysfunctional relationships. The only one that works is Tom & Leo. Well, and Leo & his Tommy gun--which I'm sure some will say is another subtle hint at the romantic relationship between Tom & Leo.
     
  7. Jeff Willy

    Jeff Willy Agent

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    That's a plausible way to view it, Scott, and it's what I thought for the first, what, 20 times I saw the movie. However, there seems to be some underlying reason for including these homosexual relationships in a genre that rarely, if ever, confronts homosexuality. Maybe it's that the Coens just like to mess with convention and they enjoy the juxtaposition of homosexual (and with Bernie and Verna, incestual) sex and tough-guy, gangster imagery.
     
  8. Quentin

    Quentin Cinematographer

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    I think that's it right there, Jeff.

    As for Tom's reaction...I don't know if I'd call it "heartbreak", but it's certainly great disappointment. After all, they need one another to rule over the mob. One of them cannot do that job without the other. Of course, only Tom is smart enough to realize this. Leo, being the dumb one, is oblivious.

    In some ways, their relationship reflects many elements of young boys growing up and discovering girls. When a friend chooses his girlfriend over years of bonding/friendship with his pal, it is almost always construed as betrayal. I think the same dynamic is at play here. And, I think the Coen's represent these mobsters as boys.

    BTW, love that quote from "Lebowski". I think THAT may be my favorite Coen film...
     
  9. Scott Leopold

    Scott Leopold Supporting Actor

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    Jeff, I was actually going to mention Frankie and Tic-Tac, but couldn't think of a good way to include their relationship. Now that I've reflected on it a bit more, they're actually one of the few, if only, other successful relationships in the movie (it's been over a year since I've seen it, so I'm doing this all on memory). They're just a couple of guys, hanging out, doing their job, and it works for them. Either that, or they're flaming away in their own private closet, with the miniscule and somewhat effiminate Tic-Tac actually wearing the pants in their relationship publically, while privately playing the role of the cruel, dominant master, applying regular beatings to the dimwitted Frankie/gimp. Regardless, I think I need to watch it again before getting any more confused.
     
  10. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Tic-Tac is certainly small, but I would never call him effeminate. After all, it is the gorilla Frankie who goes to get Tic-Tac to beat the crap out of Tom. A typical Coen irony.

    I agree the most with Scott about the maternal affection from Tom to Leo. Tom is significantly more smart, though he does need to look both ways before going through a door. Notice Bernie always does this and never gets popped in the head. Of course, Bernie ends up dead. Tom is constantly getting the shit beat out of him, but he lives.

    I think whoever said it is right. The obvious Dane-Mink and Mink-Bernie relationships are just your typical Coen mind twisters. Throw in the Verna-Bernie reference, and you know Verna is a woman who will have sex with absolutely anyone. Look at the conversation Bernie has with Tom about Verna. "She's a sick twist." "She speaks highly of you." "Yeah, well you stick by your own." It's all just the Coens messing with the norm.
     
  11. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Oh yeah, the word from Fox is that the DVD will definitely be released in 2000, no, make that 2001, er...it will definitely be released by mid 2002 ......er, I mean, their working on it.
     
  12. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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    Just wanted to throw my high hat into the ring. Miller's Crossing is still my favorite Coen film, and I cannot wait to own this DVD.
    It's been too long since I've seen the Danny Boy sequence.
     
  13. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    I think what I probably like best about that scene is when Leo takes the cigar out of his robe pocket and puts it back in his mouth. Just cracks me up!
     

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