I haven’t had time to do a TOA/V in a while, but after some dissing of this film on Twitter, I decided it was a sign. I love the Coen’s films in general. Most of them I love a lot. I think Raising Arizona might be one of the funniest films ever made, Blood Simple is noir perfection, and the glory of Brother, Where Art Thou? and —
I could go on and on. After all I was rhapsodising about Barton Fink to my class this week. But this film often gets dismissed — as The Big Lebowski did when it first came out. Yeah, I remember your tepid responses to the film you now idolise. You can’t fool me.
A mash-up of broad screwball comedy with a knowing wink at its excesses and a subtle skewering of capitalism and marketing, the Coens take the dash of Preston Sturges and a love of fun and make pure delight. Jennifer Jason Leigh must have studied every Rosalind Russell picture out there. Robbins is the embodiment of the small town witless optimist, and Newman the cynical executive. As in all Coen films, the magic of the details is so perfectly chosen (and look for cameos from Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell). It makes the whole thing sing, like this scene:
“He don’t look wise…”
Watch it again — or for the first time — and see if you don’t catch its brilliance. I’d stake my Pulitzer on it!
As always, see the round-up of TOA/V over at Todd’s.