Thursday, March 4, 2010

A Serious Man

The film A Serious Man is about a man who is serious.  Very serious.  Oh, so serious all the time.  And he wears glasses.  And stands on a roof.

Okay, I didn't see A Serious Man, but I have an excellent excuse: I hate the Coen Brothers' movies.

What?  You can't hate the Coen brothers!

Oh, but I do.  And it's not like I haven't tried really hard to like them.  I've seen 10 of their 13 movies and have disliked every single one of them.  I kept going in thinking "maybe this is the one I'll like" and I kept coming out disappointed.  I don't find their comedies funny and  I don't find their dramas compelling  Their characters are always greedy, idiot losers or cloyingly naive half-wits whom I wouldn't want to spend time with in real life and certainly don't want to root for in a movie. 

But you HAVE to like the Coen brothers!

I don't HAVE to do anything.  Just because their movies are considered "classics" and critics fall all over themselves to praise everything they do doesn't mean I'm obligated to like them.  I know it's blasphemous to say that I dislike everything they've ever done, because movie-lovers everywhere are SUPPOSED to love these movies without question, but I'm tired of being told what I'm SUPPOSED to like.  Enough, I say.  I'm done with the Coen brothers - they've failed me for the last time.  And this is a big deal, because I've seen every Best Picture nominee of the past 15 years.

But this one is different!

That's what they said about No Country For Old Men, Fargo, The Lady Killers... no, it's just going to be pathetic, greedy loser characters who do contrived, idiotic things in a "quirky" way and spout overwrought colloquial dialogue while being filmed at odd angles.  Done.

They won Best Director and Picture for No Country.  Doesn't that mean that they're good?

It means that people have convinced themselves that the Emperors are wearing clothes.  David Lynch has never won Best Director or Best Picture and his are some of the most fascinating, personal, and compelling films ever.  Seeing them makes me want to see whatever he does next.  Alfred Hitchcock is considered one of the greatest directors ever and he never won.  Same goes for Stanley Kubrick.  Martin Scorsese waited his whole life to win Best Director and finally won for re-making a Hong Kong action flick.  So no, a Best Director trophy doesn't mean that they're geniuses.

The Coen brothers make really smart movies.  Maybe you're just  not on their level.

EXCUSE me?  Them's fight'n words.  And I'll argue that point to the ground.  I don't consider The Big Lebowski or Raising Arizona particularly "cerebral" and I found O Brother, Where Art Thou to be a dull and uninformed adaptation of The Odyssey.  No, I don't find any of their movies "smart" except in the sense that all their characters are so stupid as to make many viewers seem like MENSA candidates by comparison. A lot of this has to do with the "look" of their films, filled with weird camera moves and unusual compositions that make their stupid stories seem "artsy."  That's the work of their Director of Photography, Roger Deakins.  I have no beef with Deakins, other than the fact that he enables the brothers and covers for their insipid scripts.

So there it is.  I refuse to waste any more time and money on Coen brothers movies.   With only two nominations this year, A Serious Man is the least likely of the Best Picture nominees to win and I feel extremely confident that I'm not missing anything.

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