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Thursday, May 8, 2014

HHHH Inducts: The Coen Brothers


The Headley Hauser Hall of Honor (pronounced Hawner,) is proud (hawnered) to induct the creators of several of my favorite movies – the Coen brothers. The brothers, Coen join Douglas Adams and Christopher Moore, and as such, are the first movie folk in this institution of dubious distinction.
I feel bad inducting Joel and Ethan Coen in the same post because I’m sure that each brother independently is worthy, but as they almost always work together, it’s hard to tell what each one really does. So even if one of them (let’s say, Ethan,) is a total lay-about, the results of their collaboration (Miller’s Crossing, Raising Arizona, Fargo, O Brother Where Art Thou, Hudsucker Proxy, Crimewave) merits them two inductions (especially since I don’t have to buy the pedestals.)





Inside Llewyn Davis might add to their laurels as well, but as my local library doesn’t have it on DVD, I haven’t seen it yet.

They also have a number of non-crappy movies including Blood Simple, Barton Fink, Burn After Reading, No Country for Old Men, Ladykillers, Intolerable Cruelty, and The Man Who Wasn’t There.
As for True Grit and The Big Lebowski - I think the brothers should be polite the next time Jeff Bridges asks to do a movie with them and tell him they’ll get back to him, “real soon.”
Jeff Bridges aside, the mark of great movie-makers is that they bring out the best in their stars. This is certainly the case with the Coen brothers (or maybe just one of them – I can’t be certain about Ethan.)
They made quirky Frances McDormand so hot in Blood Simple (a curious bit of magic there,) that Joel married her.
Then they emphasized her natural strengths and got her an Oscar for Fargo.
They moved William H. Macy from the ranks of familiar faces to that of genuine star. 
 I am particularly grateful not only because I loved his work in Mystery Men and Seabiscuit, but also because I hear he’s a soft touch and I’m planning on hitting him up for a loan.
They made Nicolas Cage interesting and engaging in Raising Arizona, 
which turned out to be a dirty trick on the American public who is still waiting for him to be interesting and engaging once again. It was a cruel blow for Cher who got stuck working with him in Moonstruck where he did his level best to ruin the defining work of the singer’s movie career. The fact that Cher, Olympia Dukakis, and Vincent Gardenia didn’t bludgeon him to death is evidence that there truly is charity in Hollywood (or that Cage has good bodyguards.)
The Coens helped John Goodman work through some his earlier troubles, (King Ralph, The Babe, Roseanne,) 
and become a whole (plus 100 pounds) actor again.
They discovered George Clooney’s funny bone (which he has since buried again,) but as with Cage, we hope to see him do something worthwhile once again.
Holly Hunter rocked in Raising Arizona and O Brother, Where Art Thou, 
but I don’t give either brother any credit because HH (Holly Hunter, not Headley Hauser) is the greatest actress of her generation.
My bone to pick with Joel and/or Ethan, is why it is so hard to get a copy of Crimewave? It’s true that Sam Raimi (sadly) directed Crimewave over-the-top, but I still like it and don’t appreciate having to see it dubbed in languages I can't identify.

On a personal note – I wrote Trouble in Taos envisioning it as a Coen Brothers Movie, 
TnT link and am ready and willing to accept large amounts from them for the film rights – especially now as they’re enshrined in HHHH.

Fellas? Any day now…