The Coen Brothers have never made a bad movie. They’re
perfect. They must be gods or something. Barton Fink
is about as finely-crafted a movie as I’ve ever seen.
Everything—every single thing—means something. Not
a single frame of film is wasted.
They don’t make comedies like this anymore. With the
exception of Rodney Dangerfield and Ted Knight, every
role is played perfectly straight. The humor is in the
words and the nuances, a type of humor at which nobody
is better than Bill Murray and Chevy Chase. Unfortunately,
this movie gets overplayed on Comedy Central so often
and with so many commercial breaks that most people
probably don’t know how good it really is.
This is one of those good bad movies that’s good because
it knows how bad it is. The atmosphere is sort of an odd mixture of
Brazil and Mad Max, with some really weird
original touches thrown in (like a singles bar where
dates are arranged by lawyers who draw up contracts and
haggle over sexual preferences). If you liked
Flash Gordon or The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the Eighth Dimension, you’ll
probably like this. Oh, and the score by Basil Poledouris is
incredible (although the version heard in the movie is
somewhat ruined by the inexplicable addition of annoying
Not quite as good as Fletch, but still worthy
of the name. Chevy Chase has had his share of unfunny
flops, but the Fletch movies are by far his best work.
The writing is crisp and crackling with sarcasm and
Chase’s cool delivery is unbeatable. R. Lee Ermey
(the drill instructor from Full Metal Jacket) is
also hilarious in a supporting role as a televangelist.
This movie has Oscar written all over it, but it doesn’t
let itself get bogged down in sap or overacting. Jack
Nicholson is great, as are Danny DeVito, Christopher Lloyd,
and the creeptastic Brad Dourif in his first major film role.
Ugh. UGH. I saw this on the plane from Chicago to Portland.
It was terrible, completely unbearable, and I couldn’t turn it
off. I actually considered suicide briefly. It seemed like the
movie was written by someone trying to follow a recipe,
putting in exactly the called-for amounts of each ingredient
at exactly the called-for times, but somehow still ending up with
a disgusting, muddled, sloppy mess. Cuba Gooding, Jr. needs
to kill his agent and burn the remains, and fast.
Another in-flight movie (Portland to Chicago this time). I
didn’t mind it at the time. It’s an okay movie. There’s
nothing particularly wrong with it, really, it’s just
that it’s kinda pointless. Obviously, though, the target
demographic is divorced middle-aged women, so I’m
probably not getting the full effect. Perhaps I’ll watch
it again if I ever become a divorced middle-aged woman.
Still, it’s impossible not to like Diane Lane.