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A Serious Man


bloodyminded

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I love the Coen brothers' movies. And I love this one too. Universally credited as the Coens' "Jewish movie," it is a loosely autobiographical tale of a man and his family in a mostly-Jewish neighbourhood of Minnesota in 1967.

The character is essentially Job; a regular guy trying to do the right thing, but beset by troubles on every side. Fittingly, I think, the central question is not so much "what is the meaning of life?" as "how does one endure it?"

Good for those who like a highly intelligent, very dark comedy.

(I've heard it said that you have to be Jewish to fully, completely appreciate this movie. Whether that's true or not, I loved it.)

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Agree with your review, it is yet another example of the fine work the Coens do so often.

They have the odd dud (The Ladykillers comes to mind) but their body of work is outstanding.

I'm not Jewish, but could appreciate what was there, though I wonder why he stuck around through all that......

Oh yeah, The Ladykillers...what the hell? :)

I'm glad you liked the movie. I understand it's not the sort of film that appeals to everybody. It takes its time, and is not resolved in a typically "satisfying" way.

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Oh yeah, The Ladykillers...what the hell? :)

I'm glad you liked the movie. I understand it's not the sort of film that appeals to everybody. It takes its time, and is not resolved in a typically "satisfying" way.

Actually I even liked the Ladykillers... I wasn't big on Raising Arizona or Barton Fink but I have liked all the rest and have absolutely loved some of them...

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Actually I even liked the Ladykillers... I wasn't big on Raising Arizona or Barton Fink but I have liked all the rest and have absolutely loved some of them...
You have to have seen the 1950s movie The Ladykillers with Alec Guinness to understand how atrocious the modern Tom Hanks version was. Why did they/he do it?

In fact, you have to see the Lavender Hill Mob too. These movies have to be understood in the context of post-war Britain.

I'd rent Rebecca, Gaslight and then watch Brief Encounter (by Lean). And then get a hold of The Lavender Hill Mob and the original Ladykillers.

----

As to the Coen Brothers, I once found them original but now I find them tiresome. I realized that the reason I liked The Big Lebowski was not for its sophisticated references to The Big Sleep but for its casting: Jeff Bridges and John Goodman, among others.

Oh Brother is an awful mess supposedly inspired by an old movie.

Edited by August1991
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  • 3 weeks later...

I had the chance to see this movie on a plane (because otherwise, I never would have watched it.) Unentertaining but worse, pointless. Awful, avoid.

The character is essentially Job; a regular guy trying to do the right thing, but beset by troubles on every side. Fittingly, I think, the central question is not so much "what is the meaning of life?" as "how does one endure it?"
This is not a Jewish movie, or a Job movie.

This is a "self-indulgent movie". I bet their next will be a "let's-make-money movie" with a few bikini scenes.

Edited by August1991
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I had the chance to see this movie on a plane (because otherwise, I never would have watched it.) Unentertaining but worse, pointless. Awful, avoid.

This is not a Jewish movie, or a Job movie.

This is a "self-indulgent movie". I bet their next will be a "let's-make-money movie" with a few bikini scenes.

Of course it's a Jewish movie.

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  • 4 weeks later...
I dunno about the Job reference, but it is a Jewish movie.

Specifically, it is a retrospective of growing up a Jew in whitest whitebread America, which was what the Coens experienced.

Well, go read Job in the Old Testament - a Jewish text, I suppose.

----

To me, the movie is self-indulgent.

Their next movie will involve bikinis because they will have to make money to pay the debts of their self-indulgent Serious Man movie.

Edited by August1991
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Oh Brother is an awful mess supposedly inspired by an old movie.

Oh Brother was a lot of fun, and to my mind a breakout for George Clooney who never seemed so natural.

The TITLE is from an old movie 'Oh Brother Where Art Thou ?' was the film being developed by Sullivan in Preston Sturges' 'Sullivan's Travels'. That's another one worth watching.

I don't know what an indulgent Coen Brothers film would possibly look like. They follow their own rules all the time anyway. (Read William Goldman's 2nd book on screenwriting Which Lie DId I Tell ? for a good summary of how a master screenwriter is flummoxed by the Coens' flouting of screenwriting rules).

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What ? Where do you get that from ?

I'm sure if they're desperate for money, they can sign up to do a $200 million comic book film at any time.

They are multi-millionaires, mostly thanks to Fargo and No Country For Old Men.

And lots of filmmakers, who have the money and the Hollywood clout (which they also have), make smaller, more artistic films from time to time. I personally have a difficult time seeing this as negative.

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They are multi-millionaires, mostly thanks to Fargo and No Country For Old Men.

And lots of filmmakers, who have the money and the Hollywood clout (which they also have), make smaller, more artistic films from time to time. I personally have a difficult time seeing this as negative.

And their films are across the board artistic, and often smaller.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Financing is not an issue for the Coens, which of course gives them nearly complete control over their projects.
Uh, financing is always an issue. Don't believe me? Just ask Woody Allen, or Kevin "Waterworld" Costner.

But the bigger issue is a good script, and this keeps Hollywood as honest as a Shakespeare play.

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Uh, financing is always an issue. Don't believe me? Just ask Woody Allen, or Kevin "Waterworld" Costner.

But the bigger issue is a good script, and this keeps Hollywood as honest as a Shakespeare play.

Obviously, getting money for successful film makers is not an issue. Hollywood translates 'successful' to mean profitable, and since Fargo the Coens have an open chequebook and near complete control of their projects.

Woody Allen has made a string of mediocrities for a long time now, movies that have not made money. Even the wildly overarated Vicly Christina Barcelona was a financial flop. He is riding his reputation, and has done so for many years and many movies now. Costner has produced more turkeys than a poultry farm at Thanksgibving, getting backers must be a huge task.

Another example of directors gone bad in a financial sense, really bad, is David Lynch. Once he walked on water, now he begs for bucks.

Good scripts are secondary to commercial success, getting money, and box office payoff. Evidence? The excrable script of Avatar, which was preceded by the equally crap script from Titanic.

Edited by fellowtraveller
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