Yeah, well, that's just, like, your opinion, man.
February 5, 2016 6:13 PM   Subscribe

Every Coen brothers movie, ranked from worst to best.

Their latest, Hail, Caesar, just misses the top ten. Would that it were so simple!
posted by How the runs scored (185 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
 
I have disagreements.

Want to correct any perceived injustices on the list above? Choose your own top three from the menus below—and be sure to put them in your preferred order, as a first-place pick is worth more than a second or third.

Now I feel manipulated.
posted by Artw at 6:16 PM on February 5, 2016 [4 favorites]


Big Lebowski is better than Raising Arizona. And I love raising Arizona.

*eats sand*
posted by jonmc at 6:19 PM on February 5, 2016 [25 favorites]


Wait, Art, are you telling me someone out there on the internet is RONG?
posted by mwhybark at 6:19 PM on February 5, 2016 [4 favorites]


jonmc speaks truth as always.
posted by mwhybark at 6:20 PM on February 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


This list is so fucking wrong I don't even know where to start. I can't tell if this person even knows what a movie is.
posted by middleclasstool at 6:20 PM on February 5, 2016 [40 favorites]


This list was written by a fool.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 6:20 PM on February 5, 2016 [6 favorites]


They got the best and worst correct, and other than that they got them all wrong. Uh, I assume. Something in the middle might've been accidentally right.
posted by dirtdirt at 6:21 PM on February 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


Other than The Ladykillers in last place, that was the most random ranking I could imagine.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:22 PM on February 5, 2016 [10 favorites]


I love the Coen brothers, I really do, but sometimes I wish their movies weren't all sooooo WHITE all the time.
posted by ORthey at 6:22 PM on February 5, 2016 [13 favorites]




And Miller's Crossing is a masterpiece.
posted by jonmc at 6:22 PM on February 5, 2016 [24 favorites]


What kind of crazy person thinks Intolerable Cruelty (their worst) is better than Miller's Crossing (their second best)?! Mind boggling.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 6:23 PM on February 5, 2016 [19 favorites]


I'm pretty sure that they designed this list in order to piss off as many Coen Bros fans as possible because no one could be this wrong by accident.
posted by octothorpe at 6:25 PM on February 5, 2016 [32 favorites]


That ranking alone comes from an idiot or someone who is trolling for clicks.
posted by middleclasstool at 6:26 PM on February 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


The correct answer is: The Ladykillers is the worst Coen brothers movie. All the rest of the Coen movies are the best movies (ever).
posted by davejh at 6:27 PM on February 5, 2016 [9 favorites]


In Walt's voice: I have quibbles, man. I have quibbles like you wouldn't believe.

17. The Ladykillers (2004)
16. Intolerable Cruelty (2003)
1. Burn After Reading (2008)
1. O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
1. The Hudsucker Proxy (1994)
1. Miller's Crossing (1990)
1. Barton Fink (1991)
1. Hail, Caesar! (2016)
1. Blood Simple (1984)
1. True Grit (2010)
1. Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)
1. A Serious Man (2009)
1. Fargo (1996)
1. The Man Who Wasn't There (2001)
1. The Big Lebowski (1998)
1. No Country for Old Men (2007)
1. Raising Arizona (1987)
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:28 PM on February 5, 2016 [44 favorites]


Everything else on that list is better than Raising Arizona. Even the unnecessary remakes.

(Which is to say that I simply don't quite understand the appeal.)
posted by Sys Rq at 6:28 PM on February 5, 2016 [5 favorites]


In what world is Intolerable Cruelty a better movie than O Brother? This list is nuts.
posted by DrLickies at 6:29 PM on February 5, 2016 [6 favorites]


Any random section of Coen brothers films is going to have some pretty great movies on it TBH. Though even in a fairly random list I'm surprised by the relative high regard for Intolerable Cruelty and low regard for Oh Brother seem odd.
posted by Artw at 6:29 PM on February 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


Massive slam on Hudsucker out of nowhere!
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 6:30 PM on February 5, 2016 [8 favorites]


*chases hat*
posted by jonmc at 6:33 PM on February 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


At first I was worried that maybe Hail Ceasar wasn't going to be that great if it only ends up in the middle of a list like this, but then I saw that this list was ranked by some insane person with no taste and I feel a lot better. I can go back to looking forward to catching a matinee tomorrow. Whew.
posted by Aznable at 6:34 PM on February 5, 2016 [11 favorites]


Nothin' more foolish than a man chasin' his hat
posted by wabbittwax at 6:34 PM on February 5, 2016 [4 favorites]


I've never actually made it through Barton Fink. Not that I thought it was bad when I tried to watch it, I just was in a bad time of my life and I just couldn't handle the creepiness. I really should give it another go.
posted by octothorpe at 6:35 PM on February 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


@Aznable: Even if it's in the middle of a proper list, that makes it a damn good movie.
posted by brecc at 6:36 PM on February 5, 2016


For me the top five is:
1) The Big Lebowski
2) Fargo
3) Miller's Crossing
4) Barton Fink
5) Blood Simple
posted by wabbittwax at 6:36 PM on February 5, 2016 [5 favorites]


On Barton Fink:

...the out-of-left-field finale — while notable for its sheer, hellish WTF-ery — is so odd that it reduces the rest of the film’s power.

What? The entire point of the film is to show you the life of the mind! I agree with the tone of the reactions in this thread - bad list, shut it down.
posted by branduno at 6:38 PM on February 5, 2016 [10 favorites]


I can't even think of another filmmaker(s) for whom a list like this would make less sense... maybe Michael Bay?
posted by Huck500 at 6:38 PM on February 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


Wes Anderson?
posted by Artw at 6:40 PM on February 5, 2016 [4 favorites]


It's hard to think of too many other contemporary filmmakers who are as prolific and as consistent.
posted by octothorpe at 6:44 PM on February 5, 2016 [9 favorites]


Instead of going over the specifics of how this dumb and wrong list is dumb and wrong, I will just say that I love The Hudsucker Proxy with all of my heart, despite all of its little missteps and foibles. It’s a wonderful movie to watch on New Year’s day, and for thinking about the things you’ve tried to do in the past and will try to do again.

I bequeath to these list makers their second chance.
posted by Going To Maine at 6:44 PM on February 5, 2016 [24 favorites]


Intolerable Cruelty holds up a lot better now that I've seen like, 400 Cary Grant movies from the 30s, so many references! So many call backs!

But yeah it should've been a period piece.
posted by The Whelk at 6:45 PM on February 5, 2016 [12 favorites]


(the Hudsucker Proxy is the best, obviously, not cause of how much I love it but because of how much I want to live inside it)
posted by The Whelk at 6:46 PM on February 5, 2016 [10 favorites]


The thing about No Country For Old Men is that it might the least-Coeny of all their movies. It’s not bad, thought I don’t feel inclined to watch that gob of grimness again, but it doesn’t feel like a movie of theirs.
posted by Going To Maine at 6:48 PM on February 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


I keep trying to make a ranking, and I just can't. I know the Vulture one is crazy-wrong, though.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:48 PM on February 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


16. The Ladykillers
15. Intolerable Cruelty
14. Burn After Reading
13. The Hudsucker Proxy
12. Blood Simple
11. True Grit
10. Inside Llewyn Davis
9. Barton Fink
8. The Man Who Wasn’t There
7. Miller’s Crossing
6. Raising Arizona
5. The Big Lebowski
4. O Brother Where Art Thou
3. Fargo
2. A Serious Man
1. No Country For Old Men

My version based solely on which ones I find myself going back to rewatch the most.
posted by downtohisturtles at 6:49 PM on February 5, 2016


(I'm always in opposition in this rankings cause I kinda hated no country for old men cause it didn't feel like a Coen Brothers movie)
posted by The Whelk at 6:50 PM on February 5, 2016


Well, you are all wrong.

(just seemed to be the Internet thing to say.)
posted by eriko at 6:51 PM on February 5, 2016 [4 favorites]


The Man Who Wasn't There isn't just the worst they've done; it's one of the worst anybody's done. That it's anywhere near the top is... well, ridiculous, frankly.
posted by koeselitz at 6:52 PM on February 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


Intolerable Cruelty is great for the "Let NOMAN Tear Asunder" joke. and that is what is amazing about trying to rank their movies, Ladykilled is fine. Intolerable Cruelty is fine. Even their trash is cinematic treasure.
posted by munchingzombie at 6:54 PM on February 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


The Man Who Wasn't There isn't just the worst they've done; it's one of the worst anybody's done. That it's anywhere near the top is… well, ridiculous, frankly.

Is this a scheme to start something on Fanfare? Should we have a coen club in which people watch their movies? Can I sign up and then continue to forget to participate?
posted by Going To Maine at 6:57 PM on February 5, 2016 [6 favorites]


Barton Fink makes me want to kill Golden Retriever puppies, so glad they gave it short shrift
posted by Windopaene at 6:57 PM on February 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


Ladykillers probably suffers most if you are familiar with the source material.
posted by Artw at 6:58 PM on February 5, 2016 [6 favorites]


The man who wasn't there suffers from being a period pastiche if nothing to say about the genre/time it's patisching, so it feels empty
posted by The Whelk at 6:59 PM on February 5, 2016


If most people quote and talk about The Big Lebowski more than all the other movies combined, should it be considered better?? I'm not advocating either side but it is point to be considered.
posted by Muncle at 7:01 PM on February 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


omg nobody ever puts Raising Arizona first!
Except me!
Raising Arizona also is my favorite movie ever, not just favorite Coen brothers movie.

This list is wrong about absolutely everything else but I forgive them because they were right about the only one that matters. Mine.

Yaaaaaay!
posted by phunniemee at 7:02 PM on February 5, 2016 [11 favorites]


Blood Simple is and always has been my favorite, and The Big Lebowski is overrated, but I recognize that this is my highly subjective opinion, and I am way way tired of internet clickbait where people present their subjective opinions as objective in order to foment discord, so I'm not taking the bait.

Beyond this, I mean, of course. ^
posted by ernielundquist at 7:05 PM on February 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


The Man Who Wasn't There isn't just the worst they've done

It wasn't just a film I disliked, it was a film that struck a blow against my love of film that I've yet to recover from. Your mileage may, obviously vary - there has to be some there there if a film can have such a dramatic impact on me.
posted by wotsac at 7:08 PM on February 5, 2016


To be fair, the list was constructed by drawing names of Coen Brothers movies out of a hat, but if someone were to rank all the movies of Brett Ratner or Nancy Meyers, who would read it?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:09 PM on February 5, 2016


Everyone hating on this list is missing something important, I think. Anyone can put stuff in the wrong order. That's just one of the most basically easy things to do. But to get everything wrong in relation to everything else, to have every single entry in the wrong place in and of itself and in the context of every single other entry...to manage to spit in the face of beauty, objectivity and common sense at the same time- that just shows such efficiency, and artistry, and sophisticated comprehension of the fundamental connections and relationships that in their esoteric and complex dance are the very underpinnings of our universe. This list has transcended the concept of the list. It is fractally stupid, and we should all gape in awe. Also Hudsucker is CLEARLY the best movie, I mean, Jesus.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 7:11 PM on February 5, 2016 [20 favorites]


jonmc: You are sand?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:11 PM on February 5, 2016


The man who wasn't there suffers from being a period pastiche if nothing to say about the genre/time it's patisching, so it feels empty

Oh god, I wouldn't say that at all. I'd say that, much like The Dude, Ed Crane just represents his time and place perfectly, and what that is is a time and place of utter middle class unquestioning conformity. I'm not sure the plot totally fits with that theme, though, which is why it's not one of my higher-ranking ones. But it's like A Serious Man in that its central figure is so locked-in certain about how the systems of the universe are supposed to work that he can't see that those systems are repeatedly shitting on him and laughing.

(The A.V. Club says in their Hail Caesar! review that "The Coens ... skew crypto-conservative," but compare that sort of everyman story with The Dude, whose only principles are a faded hippie hodgepodge, but who seeks out justice for his rug actively, instead of just assuming that by living a certain way, things will work out.)
posted by Navelgazer at 7:11 PM on February 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


Not tryina' start shit, really, but I've seen Fargo three times and I still don't understand the appeal. I think it's one of the most overrated movies ever.

I really liked A Simple Man and Inside Llewyn Davis. Those rankings feel right. Raising Arizona's great but Lebowski's my #1.
posted by echocollate at 7:21 PM on February 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think it's one of the most overrated movies ever.

Oh yah?
posted by phunniemee at 7:25 PM on February 5, 2016 [12 favorites]


I think it's one of the most overrated movies ever.

You've got no call to get snippy with me, sir, I'm just doing my job.
posted by praemunire at 7:29 PM on February 5, 2016 [22 favorites]


Miller's Crossing at #13? Somebody's getting a visit from Eddie Dane.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:33 PM on February 5, 2016 [5 favorites]


The thing about Raising Arizona that makes it great can be seen in comparing it to its brother from another mother, Breaking Bad. The former is a madcap, twisted comedy with some surprisingly dark, serious and poignant bits of drama in it; the latter is the opposite. But they're both about essentially broken guys who are trying to do the right thing the utterly wrong way, even if they ultimately come to opposite conclusions about themselves (Walter admits that he wasn't doing it for his family; H.I. tacitly admits that he's no good as a crook). There's a road running between the McDonoughs' trailer and Walter and Jesse's meth-cooking RV that's as straight and clear as a desert highway.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:34 PM on February 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


Well, like that's just your opinion man.
posted by 4ster at 7:35 PM on February 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


The reason Fargo is great is because you get to watch Frances McDormand, the greatest actor of her generation, at work. You also end up having to wade through a lot of William H Macy, and in an unoriginal wife-kidnapping caper plotline no less, but Frances McDormand makes it worth it. Also there are chunks of Buscemi in there to spice things up.
posted by koeselitz at 7:37 PM on February 5, 2016 [7 favorites]


Nobody should complain about William H. Macy. That is fucking madness.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:39 PM on February 5, 2016 [31 favorites]


(Or maybe I just disagree. Macy is phenomenal in Fargo. And also most other things he's done.)
posted by Navelgazer at 7:40 PM on February 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


You also end up having to wade through a lot of William H Macy

Here and we haven't got in a huge, vitriolic argument for ages.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:42 PM on February 5, 2016 [19 favorites]


Saw Hail Caesar this afternoon; it's good, but not great. A lot of really funny scenes and gags, but not much of a story. I'd lump it in with Burn After Reading, Hudsucker and Intolerable Cruelty towards the back end of the list (Ladykillers is last, of course).
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:43 PM on February 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


The reason Fargo is great is because you get to watch Frances McDormand, the greatest actor of her generation, at work. You also end up having to wade through a lot of William H Macy, and in an unoriginal wife-kidnapping caper plotline no less, but Frances McDormand makes it worth it. Also there are chunks of Buscemi in there to spice things up.

You seem to have typed “Frances McDormand” when you meant to type “William H Macy”, and vice-versa.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:46 PM on February 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


Burn After Reading

You might want to re-watch Burn After Reading in a post-Snowden world. It’s kind of under-appreciated.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:49 PM on February 5, 2016 [9 favorites]


Not tryina' start shit, really, but I've seen Fargo three times and I still don't understand the appeal. I think it's one of the most overrated movies ever.

Huh. Well, that's different.
posted by padraigin at 7:53 PM on February 5, 2016 [8 favorites]


1. Burn After Reading
2. A Serious Man
3. Blood Simple

I could take or leave the rest.
posted by edeezy at 7:53 PM on February 5, 2016


Granted it came out when I was 17, but Fargo is about as close as I've ever found to being a flawless movie.

There, I said it.

You might want to re-watch Burn After Reading in a post-Snowden world. It’s kind of under-appreciated.

Totally agreed. I saw it in the theater and thought it was a-okay and then watched it again last year and liked it *much* more. Hoping Llewyn Davis follows that trend, but we'll see. I was pretty straight-up whelmed by it.

I'm most likely seeing Hail, Ceasar! tomorrow afternoon. Looks like it'll be a lot of fun, but I doubt it'll crack my personal Coen Top-5.
posted by Ufez Jones at 7:56 PM on February 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


The Big Lebowski is a great work of art.
posted by Peach at 7:57 PM on February 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


This thread is going to be endless retreads of people claiming that every CB movie other than lady killers is both over and under rated. That should have been the list, attempts to defend every one as the best.

Raising Arizona is, in fact, the best though and here is why. The Coens do two things: grim middleofnowhere crime films and zany but poingiant comedies about weirdos. RA is both. Also it has the greatest actor of our generation in it.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:58 PM on February 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


Every time I do website testing, my go-to account is Heinz, the Baron Klaus von Testy, because I really like Intolerable Cruelty. The Massey Pre-Nup is not to be trifled with.

But this list is all over the place. I would not be surprised they picked the names out of a hat.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 7:59 PM on February 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


McDormand and Macy and Buscemi are ALL great in Fargo. This is silly.

Thinking about it more, I think Fargo can suffer a bit if you don't go into it with the right frame of mind, and having seen it at least once helps a lot with that. Because, much like No Country it's a movie that doesn't really follow specific Hollywood formula (in the technical sense) and has kind of three competing protagonists:

1.) Jerry Lundergaard, the "everyman" way in over his head, for whom the noose will tighten until it inevitably kills him. (Noir Hero)
2.) Marge Gunderson, the pregnant, pragmatic, super-competent sheriff with great police-work skills, tracking the trail of crime to its conclusion. (Procedural Hero)
3.) Carl Showalter, the shrewd con who learns too late that he's trapped in essentially a closed-room situation with a psychopath. (Horror/Thriller Hero)

And you really have to be engaged with all three of them. Caring about just one of them doesn't work.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:01 PM on February 5, 2016 [14 favorites]


This thread is going to be endless retreads of people claiming that every CB movie other than lady killers is both over and under rated.

I think The Ladykillers is way underrated but nobody listens to me.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:01 PM on February 5, 2016 [6 favorites]


Not tryina' start shit, really, but I've seen Fargo three times and I still don't understand the appeal. I think it's one of the most overrated movies ever.

I'm not going to debate you. I'm not going to debate.
posted by lazycomputerkids at 8:02 PM on February 5, 2016 [6 favorites]


And one thing I'll say for Raising Arizona (which I love dearly, and was my first Coen Bros. movie, but probably isn't my favorite) is that it's the only one (AFAICT) where the Husband and Wife act as a Team throughout. They do stupid, rash things all over the place, but their love is never in doubt, and that makes the tone of it very different from other Coen movies.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:03 PM on February 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


I don't know of Blood Simple is my favorite but it's a pretty amazing first film and it's got Emmet Walsh who by himself automatically adds at least two points out of ten to any movie.
posted by octothorpe at 8:05 PM on February 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


Going To Maine: "You seem to have typed “Frances McDormand” when you meant to type “William H Macy”, and vice-versa."

what are you… what is this even…

Look, if it makes you two feel better, you’re equally wrong. I swear, in a world where Freddie Prinze, Jr., was in movies, plural, the shit that people find to complain about never ceases to wonder.
posted by savetheclocktower at 8:07 PM on February 5, 2016 [12 favorites]


2.) Marge Gunderson, the pregnant, pragmatic, super-competent sheriff with great police-work skills, tracking the trail of crime to its conclusion. (Procedural Hero)

I really like your take and want to mention it was in a long-prior MeFi thread someone pointed out that the depiction of Marge's pregnancy is an empowering one that doesn't end with a delivery scene.
posted by lazycomputerkids at 8:09 PM on February 5, 2016 [14 favorites]


My top 10 all time favorite movies never has more than 3 or 4 movies. But Raising Arizona is always right up there with the Exorcist. Honestly I think it's the Pete Seeger.
posted by Max Power at 8:10 PM on February 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


In my view, any movie would be improved by Emmet Walsh pausing in the middle of a negotiation to thoughtfully reflect, "In Russia, they make only fifty cent a day." After shouldering a lot of the plot in Blood Simple., he returns only once to the Coen stable for a tiny role in Raising Arizona. I dunno if they had a falling out or something but tell me he would not be better served with a role in O Brother, Where Art Thou? than in either of the two entirely forgettable features he was actually in in 2000.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:21 PM on February 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


it's the only one (AFAICT) where the Husband and Wife act as a Team throughout.

Marge and Norm?

Although she did get mad when he got Arby's on her.
posted by praemunire at 8:22 PM on February 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


Norm is great and supportive but isn't really out there with her while she's getting things done. In fact, the way we see him kind of subtly flips the normal "pregnant spouse" dynamic in an awesome way.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:24 PM on February 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


The thing about Raising Arizona that makes it great can be seen in comparing it to its brother from another mother, Breaking Bad. The former is a madcap, twisted comedy with some surprisingly dark, serious and poignant bits of drama in it; the latter is the opposite.

Interesting analogy, I like it.

But they're both about essentially broken guys who are trying to do the right thing the utterly wrong way,

I think that's a total misread. That Walt is "trying to do the right thing" is just a smug lie he tells himself. From the beginning, what he gets out of the drug dealing is a sense of self-assertion, power. It's all about his legacy, proving to the world that he's someone to be reckoned with. Say my name. The very first episode, he kills a man and then goes home and nails his wife. "I did this all for my family" is BS from the start. Whereas HI, the sweet dumb fuck, really is trying to help his wife.
posted by Diablevert at 8:25 PM on February 5, 2016 [4 favorites]


I love Burn After Reading. I don't think it's their best movie, but it is the one that I can never stop laughing it, the cast is genius, and Brad Pitt is vastly under rated.
posted by PinkMoose at 8:35 PM on February 5, 2016 [4 favorites]


I don't think it's their best movie, but it is the one that I can never stop laughing it, the cast is genius, and Brad Pitt is vastly under rated.

He'll be delighted to hear you think that.
posted by phunniemee at 8:43 PM on February 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


Seriously, Burn After Reading might be the only one that I can truly consider "under-rated," and that closet scene was like the Coens doing a Tarantino moment their own way.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:48 PM on February 5, 2016 [4 favorites]


First of all, The Ladykillers in not that bad
posted by freakazoid at 8:53 PM on February 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


Oh I see what this is... this is the list of someone who actually really doesn't like fun Coen movies but doesn't want to rank Fargo and The Big Lebowski and Raising Arizona lower because it's cultural consensus that those are great. The funnier movies in the top half of the list are all "it's funny BUT..." like they have to justify joy to rank them so high.

I feel like a strict ranking of Coen movies never works, though. There's so much good there in each movie that you always feel like you're seriously short-changing one by ranking another higher. It's like a parent picking favorites among their children.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:57 PM on February 5, 2016 [4 favorites]


What kind of crazy person thinks Intolerable Cruelty (their worst)

"THAT silly man!"
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:02 PM on February 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


Burn After Reading is desperately under-appreciated and this list is no exception. I am astonished at how few people seemed to enjoy it as much as I did.
posted by gloriouslyincandescent at 9:03 PM on February 5, 2016 [5 favorites]


First of all, The Ladykillers in not that bad

The biggest sin of The Ladykillers is that it pretty much has to be compared to the other Coen Bros movies... which is hardly a sin. I feel like it and Intolerable Cruelty would rate higher if they weren't by them.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:04 PM on February 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


13. Blood Simple (1984)
12. O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
11. The Man Who Wasn't There (2001)
10. Miller's Crossing (1990)
9. Fargo (1996)
8. No Country for Old Men (2007)
7. Raising Arizona (1987)
6. Burn After Reading (2008)
5. The Hudsucker Proxy (1994)
4. Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)
3. A Serious Man (2009)
2. The Big Lebowski (1998)
1. Barton Fink (1991)

Haven't seen the other four but am going to go watch Intolerable Cruelty and The Ladykillers to settle my curiosity once and for all.
posted by StopMakingSense at 9:12 PM on February 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


So, now that this is what I'm doing tonight, I'm trying to think of any real through-lines in their body of work. What I'm down to is:

1. Great Production Values: Pretty much true for all of them except for Blood Simple, which gets a pass there as it was their first one and had to be made on kind of a shoestring. Part of this, of course, is having access to people like Roger Deakins, who can make anything look gorgeous (as a cinematographer friend said in re: Fargo: "do you know how fucking great you have to be to make white look that good?") But there's a lot more to it than that. Fargo is more than just snow, it's also dealership lots full of fresh-looking 1988-model Oldsmobiles. Burn After Reading is tracking-shots down long, grand, Byzantine pentagon corridors. This stuff is in all of them.

2. Period Pieces: Aaaaalmost all of them are, anyway. The exceptions, I guess, would be Blood Simple, Raising Arizona, Intolerable Cruelty, and Burn After Reading. This really goes hand-in-hand with the first point, and maybe points to a sub-theme of pastiche, though I think that's half a cop-out. They love pastiche, but it's definitely not all they do (another Tarantino comparison). Rather, I think they love guideposts from which to add glorious amounts of detail around the edges and make everything feel "lived in."

3. Women are Smarter then Men: All of them that I can think of? Burn After Reading might notn fit this as well, though Tilda Swinton's character is probably still smarter than anyone else running around in it. My favorite example of this, however, (aside from True Grit, where Hailee Stenfield truly is a revelation) is in No Country for Old Men, a movie dominated by men, where Kelly MacDonald's Carla Jean gets the closest thing to a victory at the end when, with no cards in her and and nothing to gain from it, she refuses to buy into Chigurh's worldview and grant him his piece of mind. Like Marge Gunderson, she just inhabits a better place in the world than that, and can't understand that level of depravity.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:19 PM on February 5, 2016 [9 favorites]


Blood Simple, Raising Arizona, and Miller's Crossing is one hell of a hat trick. But, I can't say I care for any of their other movies. I always feel like the Coens are smugly sneering at the audience, just out of frame, in every film they've made since.

But yeah, I like Raising Arizona the best.
posted by KHAAAN! at 9:20 PM on February 5, 2016


If they had just been able to set Intolerable Cruelty in 1936 like it CLEARLY WAS SUPPOSED TO BE. And possibly also in black and white, it would've been amazing. The slightly sour tone that follows it around goes away if you make utter period fantasy.
posted by The Whelk at 9:33 PM on February 5, 2016 [4 favorites]




I find it impossible to rank Coen Brothers films in this way, since I'll always find parts of one film that I like so much that it's hard to say that some other film is better than another. The only film I haven't seen is The Ladykillers, but every single other film exists for me in an Eigenvalue state. The temperature of my mood is all that can determine whether I think the one is better than the other. So every ranking is legitimate. Ask me tomorrow and I might agree with you.
posted by dis_integration at 9:45 PM on February 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


This is really Netflix in a nutshell, isn't it

In your region, perhaps. A search for "Joel Coen" on Canadian Netflix will get you Barton Fink, The Big Lebowski, Miller's Crossing, Raising Arizona, Inside Llewyn Davis, and O Brother Where Art Thou.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by Sys Rq at 9:47 PM on February 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


You know , they've never done a superhero movie and I'd be interesting in that or what sur hero would be best suited for thier style
posted by The Whelk at 9:47 PM on February 5, 2016


You know , they've never done a superhero movie and I'd be interesting in that or what sur hero would be best suited for thier style

Omega the Unknown or some other 1970's Steve Gerber weirdness would be amazing.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:52 PM on February 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


No Country for Super Men
posted by Sys Rq at 9:53 PM on February 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


Like I really think their version of an Omega the Unknown movie would be A LOT like A Serious Man in tone.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:54 PM on February 5, 2016


also in this magical universe where the Coens do Marvel movies, Guy Maddin does Agents of Atlas
posted by jason_steakums at 9:59 PM on February 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


umm, haven't read this thread yet but feel compelled to say, Fuck Off Raising Arizona is NOT even close to being the best Coen Bros film !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I will now read the thread.
posted by philip-random at 10:08 PM on February 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


*awaits hi-five*
posted by Sys Rq at 10:09 PM on February 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


Okay, fine, after much deliberation, my top-ten is:

10. The Man Who Wasn't There: Eerily, relentlessly even-toned as everything goes to hell for Ed Crane. I totally understand people hating this one, but it holds a certain power over me.

9. Blood Simple: Not much to say, but in command of extreme tension from the get-go. The window scene is , of course, the standout.

8. Burn After Reading: This is the way to do dark comedy, and Washington is the exact right place in which to do it. The combination of self-important people who all seem to know each other, unless they don't, in which case they've never heard of you, is so good it feels weird that nobody else has really made anything like this.

7. Raising Arizona: There's such an effervescent sweetness that runs through this one. I'm not sure the Coens aren't mocking the rubes here as much as in any other movie, but by giving them beautiful hope at the end, it feels a lot less like it anyway.

6. Barton Fink: A hazy fever dream done just right, though now I can only remember the front desk bell and the ending with any real clarity. Probably as it should be. The most nightmarish they've gotten. Possibly the most nightmarish almost anyone's gotten.

5. True Grit: I really don't this one to become a footnote for them the way it seems like it will. Maybe it's just that I know what winter is like in Northeast Oklahoma and this nailed it perfectly, or the perfect, amazing interplay with Hailee Steinfeld and Jeff Bridges, but this one shouldn't be forgotten.

4. Fargo: Bleak, wintry, tragic, panic-inducing, funny, heartwarming, bloody and wholesome. "And here you are ... and it's a beautiful day..."

3. No Country for Old Men: This is the one I re-watch the most, that has stuck with me the most, that feels so flawless. Just two hours of unbearably rising tension with no release and no escape but to walk away from it and retire.

2. The Big Lebowski: When I was at Tisch, and I'm guessing this was when The Man Who Wasn't There came out, the Coen's did a Q&A, and somebody asked why we never got to see the Dude, Walter and Donnie face off against Jesus, and their answer was, "we were just sick of shooting in bowling alleys." If you haven't worked in film, that might not strike you as being as hilarious as it is. That they made a shaggy dog story at all was great. That they made it in that ramshackle spirit is that much better.

1. The Hudsucker Proxy: Does it make any sense to say that the concept of the "magical negro" had its only good use here? And even here, felt like a pitch-perfect parody of the trope itself? Because that ending is about the most perfect thing I've seen in a movie, both ex machina and completely, 100% earned, and heart-stopping and hilarious. Jennifer Jason Leigh, Paul Newman, and Tim Robbins are all great as well. This just feels like the truest realization of their vision of anything they've done.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:10 PM on February 5, 2016 [6 favorites]


You know what movie the Coen brothers won't ever make? Metafilter.
posted by Camofrog at 10:10 PM on February 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm afraid to weigh in too heavily about which films I don't think measure up. There are a few. Never in their totality, but some just feel they would've been better if they'd been forty minutes or an hour long.

But ...

Fargo -- that's about as good as cinema gets. It moves from first shot to last. It's relentlessly unpredictable. It's utterly humane even as it does horrible things to people.

Burn After Reading -- glad to see all the love it's getting in this thread. I've only seen it once but it had me all the way. The closet scene is one for the ages.

Lebowski -- I generally hate it when people say, "I feel so blessed" about anything. But fuck it -- I feel so blessed to live in a so-called reality that contains this movie. I once found myself in a remote shack for a few months with no TV reception of any kind and maybe a dozen videotapes, only one of which wasn't full of old soccer matches. It was Big Lebowski and I'm sure I watched it a dozen times, plus at least five times before then, and a few since. It hasn't grown stale. It always manages to surprise me. And I don't even mind (some of) the Eagles.
posted by philip-random at 10:37 PM on February 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


*awaits hi-five*

I'm just pissed that Netflix gives you better movies than I get.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:44 PM on February 5, 2016


I just rewatched Intolerable Cruelty (Netflix) based on the top 17 list way above and I think it should also be a #1. That leaves The Ladykillers outside the Best Room.

What's the one they wrote, but someone else produced and directed recently? Cameron Diaz was in it? It doesn't belong in the canon, of course. But it was bad. Oh, right. Gambit. Erg. BAD.
posted by notyou at 10:45 PM on February 5, 2016



3. No Country for Old Men: This is the one I re-watch the most, that has stuck with me the most, that feels so flawless. Just two hours of unbearably rising tension with no release and no escape but to walk away from it and retire.


Ha-ha. I took my wife out to see this opening week, and 20 minutes in she pulled my sleeve and asked, "Who made this?"

"Well," I whispered, "Cormac McCarthy..."

"No, the movie."

"Coens."

"Oh great. I'll breathe tomorrow."
posted by notyou at 10:52 PM on February 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


What’s the one they wrote, but someone else produced and directed recently? Cameron Diaz was in it? It doesn't belong in the canon, of course. But it was bad. Oh, right. Gambit. Erg. BAD.

They also have writing credits on Bridge of Spies, if you want to throw that in there.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:56 PM on February 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


Any random* dude can get his wrongheaded list onto the internet. This article is certifiable proof of that.

* Don't get pedantic with me about this misuse of "random". I LIKE this misuse of "random".
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:57 PM on February 5, 2016


I said it before, but I’m currently waiting for the Malheur WIldlife Refuge movie of my dreams.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:58 PM on February 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


Cascadia is overdue for the Coen treatment, yeah.
posted by notyou at 11:00 PM on February 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


Or, Jefferson is. They keep changing the names.
posted by notyou at 11:01 PM on February 5, 2016


One last note. Raising Arizona is, probably, for many in the MeFi Demo, the gateway drug to Indie or Art Theater movies (it and The Gods Must Be Crazy and Delicatessen and a couple others were for us growing up in Cascadia/Jefferson), and so it will always have the honorary top spot.
posted by notyou at 11:08 PM on February 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


I recently saw The Ladykillers.

It was my favorite Tom Hanks role since Bosom Buddies.

Yes, I'm serious.
posted by Zed at 11:09 PM on February 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


I feel like you have to treat a Cohen Brothers list like college rankings; I mean, yeah, it maybe matters a little, but the difference between the 1st spot and the 15th is really pretty tiny. And also, it changes all the time and the order doesn't really matter that much.

Except I really did not like Ladykillers and it was a very upsetting viewing experience.
posted by teponaztli at 11:12 PM on February 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


My #1 is "you know... for kids!"

I will physically fight anyone who hates Hudsucker Proxy.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 11:17 PM on February 5, 2016 [12 favorites]


Man this list is a hilarious troll. I rank their movies like this:

1. All of them except The Ladykillers
2. The Ladykillers
posted by MoonOrb at 11:25 PM on February 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


1. Fargo

2. Lebowski

3. No Country

4. O'Brother

5. Hudsucker

6. All the rest

17. The Ladykillers
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:37 PM on February 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


The Fargo intro... Best. Opening scene. Ever.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:46 PM on February 5, 2016


A search for "Joel Coen" on Canadian Netflix will get you Barton Fink, The Big Lebowski, Miller's Crossing, Raising Arizona, Inside Llewyn Davis, and O Brother Where Art Thou.

No Country was on there until recently, maybe Fargo, too? Last year I averaged at least one Coen movie a month, Miller's Crossing probably made up half of those viewings. So I guess that'd be my number one. Or maybe I love them all equally but for different reasons.

Except for The Ladykillers.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:48 PM on February 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


Burn After Reading -- better than I remember
posted by philip-random at 12:36 AM on February 6, 2016


I will say, of all of them, Inside Llewyn Davis is the only one that never interested me, and which I've never seen anyone make a case for. It definitely doesn't look bad, by any means, but it just looks like it's the least interesting of all of their films, and in that case, I'd frankly rather take something boldly misbegotten, a.k.a. The Ladykillers.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:58 AM on February 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Massive slam on Hudsucker out of nowhere!
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 6:30 PM on February 5 [has favorites +] [!]

I wonder if I am the only person to notice that both this quote and username are either from or are a rephrasing of something from MSTK's Overdrawn At The Memory Bank? Since this is Metafilter, I'm guessing actually probably not.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 1:12 AM on February 6, 2016 [7 favorites]


MY taste is better than your taste in films, art, music, literature , sports and yes, even girls.
posted by Postroad at 5:23 AM on February 6, 2016


Inside Llewyn Davis... which I've never seen anyone make a case for

You posted a whole bunch in the thread for The Force Awakens -- how can you pass up Poe Dameron and Kylo Ren singing a novelty song to JFK with Justin Timberlake? Unless that was a weird dream I had one time.

No, it is a great companion piece to O Brother with the same musical evocations of an America that is just passing over the horizon behind us and the same oblique allusions to The Odyssey. It is also unusual in that it also changes up their cast almost entirely: they have a great stable of actors who work with them over and over, but the only main cast in ILD who has worked with them before was John Goodman, who otherwise had not been in a Coens flick since 2000. Fantastic music, fantastic atmosphere, great performances, excellent script: it is in my top five Coen movies, I suspect.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:55 AM on February 6, 2016 [8 favorites]


Without categories, ranking these movies becomes meaningless.

You've got to separate the remakes from the novel adaptations from the original screenplays. Otherwise you end up saying things like they're all tied for #1.

This also allows us to think about what makes the films great. Does dialogue count if Cormac McCarthy wrote it? Should they get credit for the plot structure of True Grit? Etc.

Ladykillers would be at the bottom of several different categories. But I really don't know how to compare No Country with something like Big Lebowski, because it just depends. And I love Intolerable Cruelty in a completely different way: it's the best movie of a very different kind than True Grit--what would it even mean to compare them? It's a category mistake, like comparing the cure for cancer with true love.
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:23 AM on February 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


Every Coen brothers movie viewer, rankled from worst to best.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 6:26 AM on February 6, 2016 [12 favorites]


I've seen most of their movies in the order which they were released, starting with Blood Simple. I don't really know much about the art of filmmaking; I'm very much an "I give it an 85, it's got a good beat and you can dance to it" kind of filmgoer. But something about Blood Simple just...stayed with me. (In particular, the scene with the shovel being dragged across the asphalt.) Then I saw Raising Arizona and the diaper chase scene blew me away. Like, who does that? Well, of course, these guys do.

Brad Pitt is vastly under rated.

Yes, and the whole movie is underrated. There isn't a single security or privacy thread that I don't have forcibly stop myself from commenting, "Are you concerned about the security of your shit?"

Also there are chunks of Buscemi in there to spice things up.

Yes. Yes there are.

I've seen Fargo three times and I still don't understand the appeal.

I disagree, but I'm not gonna debate you, Jerry.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:45 AM on February 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


Inside Llewyn Davis is rather wonderful, also it has a cat.
posted by Artw at 6:45 AM on February 6, 2016 [6 favorites]


Any list that doesn't include Crimewave somewhere at the top or bottom doesn't care enough about the Coens to make lists. I know they didn't direct it. Doesn't matter. It's a Coen Brothers film. As is Bad Santa and The Naked Man.
posted by maxsparber at 6:47 AM on February 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


They also have writing credits on Bridge of Spies, if you want to throw that in there.

And the Angelina Jolie film Unbroken.
posted by octothorpe at 7:03 AM on February 6, 2016


I wonder where a hypothetical Coen Brothers adaptation of THE HEEBIE JEEBIES AT CBGB would rank. (Hey, I don't judge you for your sad obsessions...)
posted by pxe2000 at 7:11 AM on February 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


They were actually supposed to do The Yiddish Policeman's Union. Suspect that would have rated highly.
posted by maxsparber at 7:13 AM on February 6, 2016


I would probably watch Bridge of Spies before I watch Ladykillers again, and that's the movie on my Iscar Chalkenge list I've been dodging like crazy.
posted by Artw at 7:15 AM on February 6, 2016


I've avoided Inside Llewyn Davis because the first time I saw the trailer I got it in my head that it was going to be very, very sad. I don't like to be very, very sad so I'm not sure I even watched the trailer more than once or twice.

I know it's not based on anything, so can someone tell me if this is a cryer?
posted by Room 641-A at 7:36 AM on February 6, 2016


It's a little bleak in spots, but I wouldn't call it a cryer.
posted by KGMoney at 7:43 AM on February 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


FTFY: Every Coen brothers movie reviewer, ranked from worst to best.
posted by cleroy at 7:46 AM on February 6, 2016


"I really don't this one to become a footnote for them the way it seems like it will."

I'm glad you mentioned this because I re-watched True Grit a few months ago and while I liked it quite a lot the first time, I liked it even more the second time. Just now when I was considering my top three for that little survey at the end of the article, I decided that True Grit would be fourth.

It's interesting to me that a couple of people have said they don't think that No Country for Old Men seems like a Coen film to them -- superficially, I can see that, sorta, but only superficially. Underneath, it feels very much like a Coen brothers film to me. One of the things that's very apparent from this discussion is that the Coens aren't brilliant in just one way, they are extremely talented and have a definite vision that expresses itself across all aspects of their films, not just, say, characterization or narrative tone. Their camera sees people in a very distinctive way, somehow.

"Any list that doesn't include Crimewave somewhere at the top or bottom doesn't care enough about the Coens to make lists."

I don't actually agree with this, but I share the sentiment behind it. Crimewave is pretty great. Anything combining the Coens, Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell, and Louise Lasser is, well, something from a pleasant fever dream I may once have had.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:16 AM on February 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


What kind of crazy person thinks Intolerable Cruelty (their worst) is better than Miller's Crossing (their second best)?! Mind boggling.

The kind of person who would be a character in a Coen brothers movie. I assumed this was the point of the list instantly. Is it not?
posted by juiceCake at 8:32 AM on February 6, 2016


I've always thought No Country For Old Men is their best, as much as I love Raising Arizona and Big Lebowski, which are close seconds. Love, love, love that movie.
posted by triggerfinger at 8:44 AM on February 6, 2016


What I can say about them is their aesthetic is gripping. From the opening of No Country with Brolin surveying the countryside, to those two suits in the clip from
Burn, two suits in a room talking, it is lush visually, and the sound engaging. The words of the characters are as important as the look of them the sound quality makes their films an intimate experience. I think No Country is first with me, then Fargo.
posted by Oyéah at 8:57 AM on February 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Crimewave

Crimewave : The Coens :: True Romance : Tarantino

I guess except that some people have actually seen True Romance.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:10 AM on February 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


Good Lord, what's wrong with you people? The Ladykillers is an excellent, very funny movie. When's the last time Tom Hanks played such a delightful comic lead? I just watched it last week, and will probably watch it again soon while it's still on my movie streaming service. Also, I have Intolerable Cruelty on DVD and it is a movie Mrs. Bastard and I watch maybe twice a year.

Unless when you people call those movies the Coen Brothers' worst, you're still ranking those above all non-Coen-Brothers' movies.
posted by Cookiebastard at 9:22 AM on February 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm glad you mentioned this because I re-watched True Grit a few months ago and while I liked it quite a lot the first time, I liked it even more the second time.

I'd love to see it again but I just can't bring myself to do it on my home tv.
posted by Room 641-A at 9:25 AM on February 6, 2016


Also there are chunks of Buscemi in there to spice things up.

I had to go back and reread this part of the thread because I was sure for a moment that the Coens were remaking Delicatessen.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 9:39 AM on February 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


I don't like Raising Arizona, there it's been said and now I feel better. It's one of those things that the sense of "I'm supposed to love this!" ruins the actual enjoyment of the piece. When I watch it, all I see is a bunch of mean spirited mocking of dumb hicks and some obvious slapstick. The Lone Biker of the Apocalypse is the only redeeming feature.

I love every other Coen film. Amazed at how Lebowski never gets old. Miller's Crossing is a masterpiece. Intolerable Cruelty is hilarious and Cedric the Entertainer's character is inspired.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:44 AM on February 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm glad you mentioned this because I re-watched True Grit a few months ago and while I liked it quite a lot the first time, I liked it even more the second time.

I'd love to see it again but I just can't bring myself to do it on my home tv.


Truth. Ranking Roger Deakins is even sillier than ranking the Coens, but this one might be his most gorgeous.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:44 AM on February 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm glad you mentioned this because I re-watched True Grit a few months ago and while I liked it quite a lot the first time, I liked it even more the second time. Just now when I was considering my top three for that little survey at the end of the article, I decided that True Grit would be fourth.

It feels strange to love such a sincere Coen brothers film when one also loves the more characteristic of them, but I do. I remember reading some prominent reviewer complaining that the film, and especially the climactic shoot-out, was Mattie's rather than Rooster Cogburn's, and being boggled that he (of course it was a he) thought that was a criticism.

"I don't like you. My lawyer will not help you."
posted by praemunire at 10:10 AM on February 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


The thing about No Country For Old Men is that it might the least-Coeny of all their movies.

Least-Coeny? It's like a drama remake of Raising Arizona.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:11 AM on February 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Impossible to rank them absolutely. Better to sort them into tiers:

4. Barton Fink
4. No Country For Old Men
4. O Brother Where Art Thou

3. Intolerable Cruelty

2. The Man Who Wasn’t There
2. Fargo
2. Burn After Reading
2. Blood Simple
2. True Grit
2. The Hudsucker Proxy

1. Inside Llewyn Davis
1. A Serious Man
1. Miller’s Crossing
1. Raising Arizona
1. The Big Lebowski
posted by Sauce Trough at 12:26 PM on February 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


So, what's bad about Intolerable Cruelty? I think I've seen it three times. I went and read some of the negative reviews on Rotten Tomatoes (they are a minority, by far) and didn't really understand their objections.

Not my favorite Coen Bros. movie (that would be O Brother), but the widespread dislike for it is surprising to me.
posted by Coventry at 1:32 PM on February 6, 2016




It's a little bleak in spots, but I wouldn't call it a cryer.

But does something bad to happen to the cat? I wanted to see it but haven't yet because I'm scared about the cat.

I just got home from seeing Hail, Caesar and it was okay, I enjoyed it, but it's not among their best.
posted by candyland at 1:42 PM on February 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


OK, we’re listing the one we didn’t get? No Country For Old Men. I didn’t get it on any level. Dull and pointless, I could barely pay attention, and I love slow moody movies as a rule. Don’t remember it, didn’t know what it was about when I was watching it, didn’t much care. Seemed like the Nyquil Tarintino, and I don’t care much for him.

It was their Signs for me, in that I’m seriously baffled in what people saw in it, and can’t figure out if I just missed something or it was just bad. Except I followed the plot of Signs.
posted by bongo_x at 1:46 PM on February 6, 2016


My crazy-pills Coen movie is True Grit. It felt like going out with a group of people who were already friends way before you came along that have a bunch of inside jokes among themselves, like I guess they're enjoying themselves but holy shit get me out of here.
posted by invitapriore at 2:35 PM on February 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm not somebody who's typically like 'was that list-maker watching the same movies I was?' But was that list-maker watching the same movies I was?
posted by box at 3:00 PM on February 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


If you hated No Country for Old Men, probably go read Blood Meridian (or give any contemporary Cormac McCarthy novel a try) and give it another watch. No Country was in many ways the best literary adaptation I've seen in decades: it captures the sense and style of McCarthy in a way no other movie ever could. I have a feeling that acquaintance with that sense and style is useful in trying to appreciate the film.
posted by koeselitz at 3:23 PM on February 6, 2016


(By "contemporary Cormac McCarthy novel" I mean anything after Suttree. His earlier works are great, but they're Southern novels, not Western novels, and as such they have a very different flavor.)
posted by koeselitz at 3:25 PM on February 6, 2016


But does something bad to happen to the cat?

Something ambiguously happens to a cat in the snow -- or not, as it is super ambiguous. As to the cat, it seems to have gone on its own little separate adventure, hinted at in the background. The cat ends up fine.

The worst thing that happens to anyone in the film is they experience melancholy.
posted by maxsparber at 3:51 PM on February 6, 2016


Metafilter: The cat ends up fine
posted by Artw at 3:53 PM on February 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


There's something to the notion that No Country For Old Men stands alone in its appeals to Oscar-bait stylism in a way that their other movies really don't, but its bones are thoroughly and obviously Coenian. In any case, I'm a sucker for that desert austerity and unspeakable evil vibe, so I can't find it in me to locate any flaws in that movie.
posted by invitapriore at 4:40 PM on February 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


I just got home from seeing Hail, Caesar and it was okay, I enjoyed it, but it's not among their best.

I concur. There were a bunch of solid chuckles throughout, but it mostly fell pretty flat, largely because:

The cat ends up fine.

This appears to be the entire theme of Hail, Caesar! in a nutshell. It turns out (SPOILERS! SPOILERS! NONSPECIFIC SPOILERS!) setting up several potentially interesting plotlines just to more or less immediately have them all fatalistically autocorrect into total hunky-doriness for everyone involved is kinda not all that entertaining. It's interesting in the abstract as a philosophical statement and as an experiment in storytelling, but as actual entertainment it's a bit of a dud.

Far from terrible, it must be said, but I'd definitely put it in the lower third of the list.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:49 PM on February 6, 2016


I watched The Ladykillers for the first time tonight. Putting it dead last is the only ranking they got right. It plays like somebody was trying really hard to make a Coen brothers movie without the Coen brothers.
posted by middleclasstool at 7:54 PM on February 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Soundtrack's great, though. Of course.
posted by middleclasstool at 7:54 PM on February 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh, are we ranking the soundtracks now?

#1 is Oh Brother, of course. Is the Kennedey song enough to swing #2?
posted by Artw at 8:30 PM on February 6, 2016


If anyone here hasn't already watched the tv show Fargo you really need to check it out. Watch season 1 first if you can, although I didn't and it was fine. It is beyond outstanding on its own, and is filled with Coen references and call backs.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:43 PM on February 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


As I understand it the show is basically the Coen Brothers Cinematic Universe now. I really should catch up.
posted by Artw at 9:18 PM on February 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


I just rewatched Intolerable Cruelty for the first time in a few years, and yeah, I definitely agree it should have been a period piece. It needs that madcap pastiche and patter of Hudsucker to push it over the top, and a little of Down With Love's stylistic magic and swagger to go with the very similar beats it hits.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:22 PM on February 6, 2016


Ugh, I came in here to complain about how wrong that list was, and here are all of you being wrong in totally different ways.
posted by nanojath at 10:33 PM on February 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


Oh, are we ranking the soundtracks now?

As my groomsmen and I were dressing for my wedding, someone belted out YOUUUUUU GOT TO GO...TO THE LONESOME VALLEYYYYYYYY.... and we all started in. My father looked on with amused confusion.
posted by middleclasstool at 6:46 AM on February 7, 2016


Yeah Intolerable Cruelty has so many SUPER SPECIFIC references to the Cary Grant "tuxedo" comedies that it does not make sense to put in the modern day.

I mean, Rex Rexroth is not a name that exists outside a bubbly champange fizz of the 30s.
posted by The Whelk at 6:49 AM on February 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


My favorite Coen Brothers film is O' Brother Where Art Thou? I would separate it very much from their best, but the visual gags and verbal banter are brilliant, joyous and iconic. And to have an album that includes bluegrass to win the Grammy for overall best album of the year (above Dylan, U2, Outkast) restored a bit of faith in humanity. One reason I love the Coens is that even films that don't grab me such as The Man Who Wasn't There, they school me in the filmmaking arts. Such gorgeous cinematography, so well-developed a story.

No Country for Old Men and Miller's Crossing are cinematically perfect. Others have a shagginess but are gorgeously fun. They let you feel you are with them as part of an intimate filmmaking conspiracy. They serve up heaping piles of wonderful and make you feel that it is your movie, a cult film that you alone understand. Any of these reasons are good enough to embrace any of a dozen of their pictures as your favorite Coen Brothers film, or even favorite film.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:51 AM on February 7, 2016


My favorite Coen Brothers film is O' Brother Where Art Thou? I would separate it very much from their best,

I wouldn't. I found it consistently "within itself". It defines a world that's more than a little mythical-magical, and stays there throughout. Beautiful and strange.

If there's one movie that folks in this thread seem to be having a hard time separating favorite from best, it's Hudsucker Proxy. It has a brilliant first act (an American Brazil, I remember thinking as I watched it for the first time, and then ... hula hoops!?!?). What a dropped ball!
posted by philip-random at 8:26 AM on February 7, 2016


On the contrary, the Hula-Hoop sequence in Hudsucker is one of the most beautifully designed, concise, and funny feats of visual storytelling ever put on film. In eight minutes, it provides a business education better than most MBA programs.
posted by How the runs scored at 8:42 AM on February 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


Also later on it has the balcony kiss which is the one time I think they've indulged in straight up gooey romanticism and it so works
posted by The Whelk at 8:43 AM on February 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


YouTube appears to have the original Ladykillers but wants money to watch it? I didn't know they did that.

Apparently a bunch of you have not seen this or were unaware of it, which is a bit shocking to me - it's got Alec sodding Guinness in it!
posted by Artw at 8:50 AM on February 7, 2016


Hanks' performance in The Ladykillers and his WWII fascinations make me want a big, goofy Haunted Tank movie with Hanks as the ghost of JEB Stuart.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:18 AM on February 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


One of the things that makes The Ladykillers difficult is a lack of precision in intent, so that you kind of have to give the Coens benefit of the doubt if you're to enjoy it: it's a white northern movie that uses black southern tropes for background, and if you're going to do that you need to make sure your movie explicitly conveys "laughing with", not "laughing at". Because the movie is a cartoon in many ways, it unfortunately leaves that line a little blurry. Plus, there's that exchange between Simmons' and Wayans' characters where Simmons' character goes on indignantly about not being appreciated by Wayans' for his role as a "northern liberal" in joining the Freedom Riders... I think the intent was not to say that Simmons' character was correct in that argument, because that character complained about perceived but unfounded injustices throughout the movie, but again, I think they needed to explicitly convey that better.

It doesn't get away with the co-opted southern tropes like Oh Brother does, which was also a very cartoony movie but Oh Brother explicitly traded in myth so that smooths out the edges. I'd say Oh Brother's related issue is that it's just a weirdly very white south when you think about it, like they tried to avoid the trap The Ladykillers falls into but accidentally created another slightly awkward thing. And all things considered there are movies that are far more... I guess "likely innocently inept" is a good descriptor? ...than either movie at this kind of thing, but still.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:42 AM on February 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


You know, for kids!

I probably quote that line way more than I should and pretty much no one ever gets it because unless I am in a room with my siblings, I am always the only person in the room who's seen The Hudsucker Proxy, which is so sad because that movie is so awesome. I even met someone from Munsy in real life and they had never seen it.
posted by LizBoBiz at 9:33 AM on February 10, 2016 [2 favorites]




"Rex Rexroth is not a name that exists outside a bubbly champange fizz of the 30s." (Rience Preibus, imagine the fizz of the bubbly.)
posted by Oyéah at 1:25 PM on February 25, 2016


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