Posted on Friday, February 5th, 2016 by Jacob Hall
The filmography of Joel and Ethan Coen is untouchable. Of their 17 films, at least a dozen of them are arguably great films and more than a few of them are genuine masterpieces. Ranking them is a fool’s errand. I know this because I have tried. Within a year, I wanted to erase the whole thing. Their work sticks with you, attaches itself to your mind and grows with you. Minor films become masterpieces over time. Little moments reveal their layers, their profundity, upon repeat viewings. The Coen brothers filmography feels alive – it’s always growing, always changing. Even their newest film Hail, Caesar (out today) threw me for a loop. I literally have no idea how I’ll feel about it tomorrow or six months from now.
So I’ve assembled a list of ten perfect scenes from the Coen canon. They are unranked, presented in chronological order, because I do not want to impose rigid form on something that I know will shift and change within a year or two. But right now, these scenes sum up why they’re special and their work should be celebrated. Few modern artists have showcased such range and fewer have dabbled in so many different genres and forms while maintaining their voice at every moment. These scenes represent a sublime partnership and the best modern cinema has to offer.
Spoilers follow, of course.
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In July 2014, one of our favorite artists Scott Campbell (aka Scott C) held a scavenger hunt to find his original watercolor Great Showdown paintings in the original filming locations across Los Angeles. This year he returns with The Great Great Showdown Hunt, a bigger and more epic hunt which will take the concept worldwide.
Today is the final day of the Great Great Showdown Hunt, taking us to California, Arizona, Oregon and London. Do you live near these cities? You’re going to have to be quick, smart and pop culture-savvy to find these, but if you can, you might be able to get yourself an original Scott C painting.
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This BBC doc on Joel and Ethan Coen is hardly new — it was created in 2000, during the production of O Brother, Where Art Thou?. But seeing the brothers in action is rare enough that even a 13-year old behind the scenes look is going to count as new for many people. There’s even some interview footage with cinematographer Roger Deakins, who almost as reclusive as the Coens.
The films of Joel and Ethan Coen are so fully formed, and so specific to a recognizable point of view, that viewers seem to want an explanation for the origin of that sensibility. It’s a fool’s errand to some extent; explaining anyone’s artistic work tends to be, and the Coens are more reluctant than most to discuss “reasons.” The ready affability of the brothers in this interview even mocks any attempt to paint them as weird, aloof geniuses. And given that the doc opens with some explicitly outlandish myth-making, it’s worth keeping in mind that there could well be some low-level mythologizing going on throughout. But the Coens’ work is so good that such legend-building is pretty natural.
There’s great stuff here, notably the contradiction between what seems to be a very easygoing shoot, and the rigorously structured production that allows it to be that way. Then, of course, there’s the communication between the brothers, which is so ingrained that it barely even looks like communication at all. And the idea that Fargo was shot just because it was the cheapest script they happened to have laying around at the time is the sort of thing that will make some other filmmakers bang their heads on a table in frustration.
Check out the doc below. Read More »
We’ve all seen Back to the Future. But have any of us seen it with Aziz Ansari? Same goes for Raising Arizona. We’ve all seen it, but never with Nick Kroll. And those are just two of the awesome opportunities coming up during the 2nd Annual Wayne Federman Film Festival, which takes place from February 28-March 2 at the Cinefamily in Los Angeles, CA and features six amazing movie screening with six amazing comedians.
Federman is one of those classic “that guy” actors everyone knows and he came up with the idea to get a bunch of famous stand-up comedians to pick films that inspire them, introduce, screen and talk about them. So that’s what going to happen. The full schedule is below. Read More »
Posted on Wednesday, April 6th, 2011 by Angie Han
We post a fair amount of montages here on /Film, but this one’s extra special. Back in 1993, well before the days of Final Cut Pro, a 19-year-old Edgar Wright holed himself up in an editing suite for several weekends to put together this montage, “Gun Fetish.” The clips are pulled from VHS tapes, which explains the low quality. Even so, it’s apparent that Wright has an excellent sense of rhythm and timing, as well as real affection for the films he’d go on to reference and parody in work like Spaced, Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. Watch it after the jump. Be forewarned — the video is, as Wright puts it, “a little NSFW and spoiler heavy.”
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Cool Posts From Around the Web:
UK graphic artist Tom Muller has created an awesome infographic connecting the dots of reoccurring actors in the movies of Coen Bothers. Hit the jump to see the graphic.
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Subtonix decided to create a map of the United States by pinpointing the movies which best represent each of the 50 states. For example, New Jersey is Clerks and Kansas is The Wizard of Oz. There will likely be some debate over some of these choices (is Fast Times at Ridgemont High the ultimate representation of California?) but it is an interesting concept none the less. It’s also interesting to note that more Coen Brothers films appear on the map than any other filmmaker. Hit the jump to see the whole map, and click to enlarge.
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Which movies and television shows does Michael Cera recommend? The following comes from Intervals of Awesome:
My cousin, Harvey, randomly ran into Michael Cera at a London coffeeshoppe. Cera and Harvey hit it off and ended up having a 2 hour conversation over lunch. Cera wrote a list of stuff Harvey should see. I didn’t believe this story 100% until I got a hold of the list (which is v. good and everyone should see these films/shows) As Harvey’s most media-saavy relative, I’m helping him by lending/finding these movies/shows for him. This made his London trip.
Click over to IOA to see the full list.
Welcome to another edition of Movie Playlist, where we talk to the writers, directors, and stars about their favorite films. I’ve always found the celebrity playlists on iTunes to be interesting. Most everyone in the film business moved to Hollywood after discovering their love of films. And I’ve always love talking to people about their favorite films. So talking to the people who make the movies about their favorite films just seemed like a natural idea.
Nanette Burstein is the Academy Award nominated documentary filmmaker behind On The Ropes and The Kid Stays in the Picture. Her latest film American Teen follows five high school students through their senior year. I hate to oversell the movie, but it’s literally one of my favorite films of the year.
Nanette Burstein: There are certain directors whose films, I could just watch them endlessly. Alexander Paine, I’m a huge fan of.
Peter Sciretta: You know, I saw a lot of like Election in American Teen…
Nanette Burstein: Yes, Election definitely influenced this film… Like the shots of the kids when you hear their voiceovers and they’re on the bed, I totally took that from Election. There was the night before election where there’s all these dolly shots into all the main characters and their thoughts and like they’re all crane…
Peter Sciretta: It was like those crane shots.
Nanette Burstein: Yeah, those shots are amazing, and that’s what inspired me to do that.
Nanette Burstein: There’s definitely different homages in this film, like Garden State which I love there’s this scene when Hannah goes to the party and she’s alienated and the way I cut that scene was completely influenced by that scene in Garden State where he’s alienated at the party.
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