Thursday, February 04, 2016

Coens: The BST Response

A kneejerk response ranking to this ranking of the Coen Brothers' flicks.

Based on very little thought, and the criteria being "which flicks I like best," my list does not include Hail, Caesar, which I will be seeing very, very soon.

(My list goes the opposite direction of Business Insider's case you didn't figure that one out...)

1.  The Big Lebowski might just be making its way to the top of my favorites list.  I refrained from watching for about two years (a personal record, since the movie's release on DVD), and watched it again on Christmas night this past year.  It just hits all the right notes for me.  I'm not sure there's a better on screen duo, for my money, than The Dude and Walter.  Like much of the Coens' work, I just like the way the story fits together.

2.  O Brother Where Art Thou? is my most viewed Coen flick, owing to its constant ( and welcome) play on TV.  Legendary soundtrack.  For me, the most quotable Coen flick, and the one that appeals most strongly to the Flannery O'Connor fan in me.

3.  No Country for Old Men just gets better every time I see it.  Anton Chigurh might be my favorite movie villain of all time.  The lucky quarter scene ranks up there among my favorite scenes ever filmed.

4.  Raising Arizona ranks just behind O Brother for quotability.  And if Jonathan Winters had never torn down a gas station in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, then the mobile home fight here might be the funniest brawl ever put to film hands down.

5.  True Grit is just a beautiful flick--as pretty as anything the Coens have put to film, all while being as grotesque and weird.  And as much as I enjoy Jeff Bridges, Barry Pepper and Matt Damon...Hailee Steinfeld is amazing, and a pitch perfect rendering from Portis's book.

6.  The Man Who Wasn't There is the one that's made the biggest jump, for me.  I liked it, initially, but it wasn't until I got to see it on a bigger screen that I came to appreciate how boxed in and weird this movie really is.

7.  Fargo is one that I came to appreciate after really feeling down on it after my initial viewing.  Probably the one I have to point to myself most, when I don't feel like giving a flick a second chance.  My initial viewing, way back when, left me feeling like the Coens were a little too impressed with themselves, and had gotten a little too cute.  I went three or four years before giving Fargo another chance, and viewing when I didn't have my head up my ass.  Strong flick.

8.  Hudsucker Proxy, like the Business Insider list notes, is one that's gotten better with repeated viewings.  I wish Tim Robbins had done a few more Coen flicks.  He just seems to fit.

9.  Inside Llewyn Davis is a strong flick, one that might eventually move higher on the list.  One I've been meaning to sit down to watch again, after watching The Force Awakens.  Cary Mulligan is another one I wish would do more Coen flicks.

10.  The Ladykillers is just funny.  It's a cartoon.  And it's a chance to watch Tom Hanks, perhaps the greatest big screen physical comedian of his generation, do what he does best.  Not that I think he doesn't have an admirable body of work, but Hanks is a tremendously gifted comedian. And he's at his ghoulish best here.

11.  Miller's Crossing is a fine flick, but one that trips on itself just a little, but I end up enjoying immensely, when I watch again.

12.  Blood Simple is one I need to sit to watch again.  I like the way it fits together.

13.  Barton Fink is ranked lower than some others because it's the only one where the lead actor just doesn't do much for me.  Which is a shame, because I like John Turturro, and generally enjoy his stuff.

14.  A Serious Man just doesn't seem to have the same watchability as many of the Coens' flicks.  I took a particularly disastrous date to this one.  That perhaps colors my memories.....

15.  Intolerable Cruelty works on a weird level, but it's also the one I've attempted to revisit least.  I like the line from the Business Insider feels like an imitation of a Coen Brothers movie.

16.  Burn After Reading is the only Coen flick which really clunks.  I still kinda like it for a couple of the performances, but on the whole, it just doesn't feel like it came together.


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