Moving forward into the post-millennium era of the Coens' work, I wasn't expecting any of the more recent films to affect me as deeply as the one-two cinematic punch of Fargo and The Big Lebowski, but I was floored by revisiting 2000's O Brother, Where Art Thou. The Coens' films are frequently accused of being cynical, sardonic genre pastiches, … Continue reading The Coen Project Part 8: O Brother, Where Art Thou?
I haven’t officially signed up for the church of Dudeism, but I'll admit I'm a bit of a Lebowski fanatic. I've spent more time than anyone should trying to figure out what books the Dude has on his coffee table, and I own an (almost) exact replica of the Dude's Pendleton sweater. Despite these patterns … Continue reading The Coen Project Part 7: The Big Lebowski
In my mind, I draw a dividing line in the filmography of the Coen Brothers at Fargo, the blood-soaked, comedic take on the police thriller genre set in the filmmakers' native Minnesota. While my appreciation for the Coens' earlier work has grown over the course of writing this series, Fargo is the first of a … Continue reading The Coen Project Part 6: Fargo
After a string of critical if not financial hits, the Coen Brothers had built up a solid reputation in the industry. Their success caught the attention of the successful action movie producer Joel Silver, whose credits included Predator, Lethal Weapon, and Die Hard. Given an opportunity by Silver to work with a significantly larger budget, Joel … Continue reading The Coen Project Part 5: The Hudsucker Proxy
As I mentioned briefly in my last post, Joel and Ethan went to New York City for a three-week break in the middle of writing Miller’s Crossing, which they were struggling to complete. While there, they wrote the script for what would become their fourth feature, Barton Fink. While the film stood on its own … Continue reading The Coen Project Part 4: Barton Fink
For their third film, the Coens took yet another genre deep-dive, this time with a Prohibition-era gangster film based loosely on Dashiell Hammett’s novel The Glass Key. Although it doesn’t skimp on the violence, Miller’s Crossing has far less interest in guns than it does in interpersonal dynamics and emotional struggle as explored through the … Continue reading The Coen Project Part 3: Miller’s Crossing
After seeing Blood Simple, you’d be likely to peg Joel and Ethan Coen simply as promising writer-directors of drama. Three years later (1987), you'd be proven very wrong. When the brothers set out to make their second film, their primary goal was to create something as different from their debut as possible. Since Blood Simple … Continue reading The Coen Project Part 2: Raising Arizona