The Coen Brothers

Walter Kittel

Lead Actor
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Dec 28, 1998
Messages
7,286
Pretty sure I've posted this before...

I had heard of Blood Simple in one or two magazine articles and maybe on Siskel & Ebert. Unfortunately, I missed this theatrically so my first experience with the Bros was watching Blood Simple on HBO one late Saturday evening at a friend's house sometime in the mid '80s. And even though this viewing was compromised visually, the dialog and the narrative were more than enough to let me know that these guys had potential.

Probably still my favorite film, being first and all that implies. Loved the dialog. I can't think of anyone who would've been better suited than M. Emmett Walsh to play the sleazy Lorren Visser. Having lived in Texas most of my life, I could relate to the locales portrayed in the film. The film had me at the opening narrative.. "down here, you're on your own."


- Walter.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Reggie W

jayembee

Second Unit
Joined
Mar 29, 2020
Messages
295
Real Name
Jerry
The Coens are amongst the most talented filmmakers that have ever lived IMO. Even their "bad" movies are better than most "good" movies. It's so hard to rate their filmography on a favorites scale, but for me The Big Lebowski is #1, followed closely by (in no particular order) No Country for Old Men, Fargo, Raising Arizona, True Grit and O Brother, Where Art Thou?. Their body of work is simply amazing.
I have to agree with this here (except that I'd have Fargo at #1). But what impresses me most about their oeuvre is that no two movies of their movies are the same. They can move from the dripping-with noir Blood Simple to the bat-shit insanity of The Big Lebowski and back again with such ease that it's staggering. While there are certainly some of their films that aren't up to the level of others, there isn't a single one among them that I've disliked. Well, with the caveat that I still haven't seen their remake of The Ladykillers, which I must get to one of these days.
 

jayembee

Second Unit
Joined
Mar 29, 2020
Messages
295
Real Name
Jerry
Fargo and The Big Lebowski tied for #1.
Raising Arizona # 2

But all their films are excellent. Big fan. The most quotable filmmakers ever.
In general, yes. But the Most Quotable Film Ever is still The Princess Bride.
 

Walter Kittel

Lead Actor
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Dec 28, 1998
Messages
7,286
I have to agree with this here (except that I'd have Fargo at #1). But what impresses me most about their oeuvre is that no two movies of their movies are the same. They can move from the dripping-with noir Blood Simple to the bat-shit insanity of The Big Lebowski and back again with such ease that it's staggering. While there are certainly some of their films that aren't up to the level of others, there isn't a single one among them that I've disliked. Well, with the caveat that I still haven't seen their remake of The Ladykillers, which I must get to one of these days.
You know, I wouldn't disagree as they have covered a lot of territory over their careers, but they themselves once commented upon how kidnapping was an element that was present in a number of their films. So I would suggest that there is (like any other filmmaker) some commonality. Certainly a central element in films such as Raising Arizona, Miller's Crossing, The Big Lebowski, and Hail, Caesar! off the top of my head.

- Walter.
 
Last edited:

Jeffrey D

Screenwriter
Joined
Oct 15, 2018
Messages
1,319
Real Name
Jeffrey D Hanawalt
The Coens are great filmmakers/writers. Amazing films- No Country, Fargo, O Brother. I think Raising Arizona is still my favorite though.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Reggie W

Scott Merryfield

Film Editor
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Dec 16, 1998
Messages
15,833
Location
Michigan
You know, I wouldn't disagree as they have covered a lot of territory over their careers, but they themselves once commented upon how kidnapping was an element that was present in a number of their films. So I would suggest that there is (like any other filmmaker) some commonality. Certainly a central element in films such as Raising Arizona, Miller's Crossing, The Big Lebowski, and Hail, Caesar! off the top of my head.

- Walter.
Fargo, too.
 

Reggie W

Producer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
May 31, 2004
Messages
6,370
Location
Agua Verde
Real Name
Pike Bishop
Is this a thread about the Coen Bros or our favorite directors?? Seems to be diverging.

Just want clarification @Reggie W
Yes, obviously it was meant to be about the Coens and their work so that will be the primary focus. I did say "freewheeling" though so there will likely be tangents, which is OK.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Tino

Reggie W

Producer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
May 31, 2004
Messages
6,370
Location
Agua Verde
Real Name
Pike Bishop
I have to agree with this here (except that I'd have Fargo at #1). But what impresses me most about their oeuvre is that no two movies of their movies are the same. They can move from the dripping-with noir Blood Simple to the bat-shit insanity of The Big Lebowski and back again with such ease that it's staggering. While there are certainly some of their films that aren't up to the level of others, there isn't a single one among them that I've disliked. Well, with the caveat that I still haven't seen their remake of The Ladykillers, which I must get to one of these days.
Pretty certain that The Ladykillers is universally considered their worst picture. I don't think it has ever got a Blu-ray release. It is sort of as if you crossed the original film with a Looney Tunes production. Tom Hanks is a total cartoon in the film but I will admit I laughed a lot watching it and I enjoyed it. As someone already said a lower grade Coen film tends to be a lot better than most other films. I think people grade it poorly because they like the film with Sellers and Guinness but pretty typical for the Coens it is in no way a straight remake. It's a nutty film and the performances all made me laugh. Irma Hall gives a great performance essentially as the straight man to Hank's wacky professor. As usual it has some hilarious throwaway lines in it..."You brought your bitch to the Waffle Hut?"

I would buy it on Blu-ray if it ever appears.

Hanks Ladykillers.jpg
 

Walter Kittel

Lead Actor
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Dec 28, 1998
Messages
7,286
Yeah, The Ladykillers is one of the weaker films from the Bros, but it definitely made me laugh at times, so there is that. Looney Tunes isn't a bad way to describe aspects of the film. The scene where Irma Hall reprimands Marlon Wayans and slaps him is a personal favorite scene from the film. Kind of Three Stooges - like in terms of the physical comedy and it never fails to amuse me.

Personally speaking, I would rank it ahead of The Hudsucker Proxy which never really worked for me.

- Walter.
 

Reggie W

Producer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
May 31, 2004
Messages
6,370
Location
Agua Verde
Real Name
Pike Bishop
Pretty sure I've posted this before...

I had heard of Blood Simple in one or two magazine articles and maybe on Siskel & Ebert. Unfortunately, I missed this theatrically so my first experience with the Bros was watching Blood Simple on HBO one late Saturday evening at a friend's house sometime in the mid '80s. And even though this viewing was compromised visually, the dialog and the narrative were more than enough to let me know that these guys had potential.

Probably still my favorite film, being first and all that implies. Loved the dialog. I can't think of anyone who would've been better suited than M. Emmett Walsh to play the sleazy Lorren Visser. Having lived in Texas most of my life, I could relate to the locales portrayed in the film. The film had me at the opening narrative.. "down here, you're on your own."


- Walter.
I saw Blood Simple in a theater in Boston when it was released. I remember going in not knowing what to expect because at that point it was their first film so the Coens obviously were not well known. I totally fell in love with the picture and ended up seeing it several times. My frustration with the film is that the Coens would later recut it. Essentially the cuts were to make the picture play less funny and a bit more like their later films. I've always wanted a copy of the picture as it played in cinemas and damn it some of the stuff they cut was truly gold with the wonderful M. Emmet Walsh. That stuff should have never been slashed. I thought when Criterion got it they may present both versions of the film, the funnier original theatrical cut and the apparent "director's cut" which is shorter with beats and lines removed to make it play more like their later material and more straight noir.

I doubt we will ever see the theatrical cut again if it did not make it onto the Criterion version. It would seem the Coens don't want us to see the film the way it was originally presented or they made the cuts and destroyed the material they cut.

Blood simple  emmet.jpg
 

Tino

Film Editor
Premium
Joined
Apr 19, 1999
Messages
18,009
Location
Metro NYC
Real Name
Valentino
Jeez, I LOVE The Hudsucker Proxy! It’s one of my favorites. That Hula Hoop scene is awesome! The production design, visual effects. Zany performances. It all worked for me.
 
  • Like
  • Agreed
Reactions: bujaki and TravisR

Tino

Film Editor
Premium
Joined
Apr 19, 1999
Messages
18,009
Location
Metro NYC
Real Name
Valentino

dpippel

HTF Premium Member
Premium
Joined
Feb 24, 2000
Messages
9,171
Location
Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems
Real Name
Doug
I'm a huge Coen fan, but I have yet to see Hudsucker, even though it's been on my shelf for years. Time to rectify that. Also, I really wish that The Ballad of Buster Scruggs would get a 4K release, whether disc, digital, or both. I'd hate to see it in prison on Netflix forever.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Tino

jayembee

Second Unit
Joined
Mar 29, 2020
Messages
295
Real Name
Jerry
Jeez, I LOVE The Hudsucker Proxy! It’s one of my favorites. That Hula Hoop scene is awesome! The production design, visual effects. Zany performances. It all worked for me.
That's what makes horseraces.:emoji_horse_racing:
 

Forum Sponsors

Latest posts

Forum statistics

Threads
344,131
Messages
4,701,539
Members
141,179
Latest member
HongShieg