Buster Scruggs is about people facing death and what comes after death. Each short gives us a different version of this through the lens of a different familiar western trope.
Mannix is a Christ figure, shouldering the sins of the actors he supervises to protect the films they appear in. A martyr for the cinema, Mannix receives none of the glory or wealth of his actor counterparts, but sacrifices the comforts of a normal life to the altar of storytelling.
No Country is an exceptionally difficult film because it doesn’t even hint at a resolution or solution to the fatalistic pessimism of the story. We’re left to figure out for ourselves whether harsh vision of reality it depicts is true.
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
1984 was a pretty big year for movies. Ghostbusters, The Terminator, Sixteen Candles, Temple of Doom, Footloose, The Karate Kid, Friday the 13th, and my beloved Beverly Hills Cop were all released that year. Since Stranger Things 2 is going to be set in the fall of '84, I figured I had better brush up. Let's get into two flicks that … Continue reading Christine VS 80’s: Round 3
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
In 2005, then Pixar chairman Steve Jobs and Disney CEO Robert Iger were in the middle of negotiating over the extension of the deal in which Disney marketed and distributed Pixar’s films, an already impressive roster including Monsters Inc, Finding Nemo, and most recently 2004’s The Incredibles. The talks hinged on the release of Disney’s … Continue reading Netflix Pick: Chicken Little