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Intolerable Cruelty

 
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matt header
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 623
Location: Milwaukee, WI

PostPosted: 10.13.2003 12:42 am    Post subject: Intolerable Cruelty Reply with quote

Well, right before watching "Kill Bill" (and I'll reiterate about that movie: WOW!), I checked out "Intolerable Cruelty." Overall, it was a great weekend for new release-movies: I found "Intolerable Cruelty" diabolically funny and I liked the way that Clooney and Zeta-Jones fit into the Coens' stylistics. While harshly criticizing the sad state of modern marriages and corporate scandal, it retains a zippy old-fashioned screwball style of comedy. If the narrative is very weak - I think it is, and after the - SPOILER! - happy ending, I figured that Clooney and Zeta-Jones could very well divorce again right after the movie ends. But it works better as an exercise in theme and style than as an actual story.

While we're at it, my favorite Coen Brothers movies (I admit, I'm a fan of their wicked, goofy humor):

1. Blood Simple (1984; A)

2. Fargo (1996; A)

3. The Man Who Wasn't There (2001; B+)

4. Miller's Crossing (1990; B+)

5. The Big Lebowski (1998; B+)

6. Raising Arizona (1987; B)

7. Intolerable Cruelty (2003; B)

8. The Hudsucker Proxy (1994; C+)

9. O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000; C+)

Haven't seen "Barton Fink."
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Dr Giggles
Camera Operator


Joined: 09 Oct 2003
Posts: 84

PostPosted: 10.13.2003 1:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Barton Fink is one of my fav Coen bros. movie,

The big Lebowski reigns surpreme for me.

John Turturro is great in both of those flicks.
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beltmann
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 2341
Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 10.13.2003 2:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My wife and I were planning to catch Intolerable Cruelty today, but we both ended up having too much work to complete. Soon.

I'd argue that Big Lebowski is easily the worst in the Coen collection, by far the least sustained and least witty. It's the only one of theirs that I don't have at least some degree of affection for. Here's my ranking:

1. Fargo (my favorite picture of 1996, just ahead of Lone Star)

2. Miller's Crossing

3. The Man Who Wasn't There

4. O Brother, Where Art Thou?

5. Blood Simple

6. Raising Arizona

7. Hudsucker Proxy

8. Barton Fink

9. The Big Lebowski

I admit that my admiration for the brothers has dissipated somewhat as I've matured as a filmgoer, but their brand of nutty, acerbic satire still resonates with me. I think O Brother is absolutely hysterical.

Eric
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the night watchman
Studio Exec


Joined: 27 Jun 2003
Posts: 1373
Location: Dark, run-down shack by the graveyard.

PostPosted: 10.13.2003 3:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hopefully I'll see Intolerable Cruelty tomorrow, but if not, here's my list:

Raising Arizona

Blood Simple

Barton Fink

Fargo

O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Miller's Crossing

The Man Who Wasn't There

The Big Lebowski

The Hudsucker Proxy


I haven't seen Miller's Crossing in years, so when I get around to watching it again the list might shift.

By the way, has anyone heard the "audio commentary" on the Blood Simple disc? Oh, man. Hilarious.
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beltmann
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 2341
Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 10.13.2003 3:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Night Watchman,

I knew you'd place Raising Arizona at the top! I've never responded as deeply to that one as some of their others; my admiration always feels a little forced. Still, like you and Miller's Crossing, I haven't seen it for years and probably should re-visit. I have it on DVD, so perhaps I'll check it out again soon.

Unfortunately, I haven't heard the Blood Simple DVD commentary. I have an old VHS copy and haven't upgraded yet. I'll buy the Miller's Crossing disc first, though: that film helped define my growing interest in cinema as a teenager. I still have the original poster; currently it hangs in our back room, right next to a massive 7-foot poster for The Last of the Mohicans.

Eric
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Al
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Joined: 13 Oct 2003
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PostPosted: 10.13.2003 3:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just saw The Man Who Wasn't There last week and really enjoyed it. Aside from the visuals, which I found mesmerizing, there was something about the film that I found compelling but couldn't really put my finger on (as I said in another post, I've never studied film so at times I find it difficult to quantify some of the things that I enjoy about more, "complicated"?, movies). Is it a story about unintended consequences? If so, why doesn't the main character express regret? I don't know, that's probably a whole new discussion that I'd be a little over my head in... Smile

Or maybe starting with trying to identify the specifics about what I appreciate in a Cohen Bros movie (bound to be enjoyably quirky anyway) isn't the way to go... Hmmm...

On another note, my fav Cohen movie is the one that usually gets low marks, Hudsucker Proxy. I think that I like it more because I'm kind of a business guy (I like the image of Tim Robbins, fresh off the bus, Muncie College of Business degree in hand... His, initially, unquenchable enthusiasm and naivet? kind of resonate with me).

I'm a Big Lebowski fan too... Aside from the story I like the Dude's character and the fairy-tale quality that The Stranger's narration provides (both by it's presence and by it's "storyteller" quality).

Al
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the night watchman
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Joined: 27 Jun 2003
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Location: Dark, run-down shack by the graveyard.

PostPosted: 10.13.2003 4:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Raising Arizona is one of those comedies whose humor never fades for me. Maybe it's the simplicity:

"These blow up into funny shapes at all?"

"Well, naw. Unless round's funny."

And there's also a sense of poignancy that always strikes me, in spite of the absurdity and slapstick, and of momentous events transpiring. Ever notice the song Ed sings to Nathan Junior is the same melody used for the Leonard Smalls's theme? And why does HI have prophetic visions? There seems to be something significant going on underneath the surface; to an extent, I think it's the Coens' take on the nature vs nurture debate.

Al, Hudsucker and Lebowski are at the bottom of my list, but that's only because this is a list of Coen movies. I think both are great. In fact, I can't say that there isn't one Coen Bros movie I don't love.
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The Third M?n
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Joined: 09 Sep 2003
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PostPosted: 10.13.2003 7:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I shamefully admit that I have not seen any of the Coen's films. Nonetheless, I plan to see Intolerable Cruelty in two weeks when it is released here in the UK.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 10.13.2003 9:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, watched Intolerable Cruelty. I must admit it took me awhile to warm up to it, but when Clooney's character makes his Tenzing Norgay metaphor I was finally able to slip into it. Still, while I guess this movie proves the Coens' can do mainstream comedy, my question is, do I want them to? Except for some of the dialogue and some reaction shots, and other bits and pieces (the Living Without Intestines magazine) this movie could have almost been directed by, I don't know, Barry Sonnenfeld. Well, Sonnenfeld on a good day.

For me, Intolerable Cruelty is an above average movie, but a below average Coen movie.

BTW, anybody notice the Bruce Campbell cameo?
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 10.13.2003 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:


Unfortunately, I haven't heard the Blood Simple DVD commentary. I have an old VHS copy and haven't upgraded yet.


Say, if you're interested in selling that tape after you upgrade let me know.
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 10.14.2003 3:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Intolerable Cruelty is actually one of my favorites of the year. My comments are on the "What Did You Watch this Week?" thread.

Coen-wise Fargo is my favorite, but other than that, I've only seen O Brother Where Art Thou? and The Man Who Wasn't There, and liked both.
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the night watchman
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Location: Dark, run-down shack by the graveyard.

PostPosted: 10.14.2003 4:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't disagree with you; I suppose if it hadn't been a Coen movie I would have felt more satisfied with it. I just wanted it to bust out, but it stays pretty much what it is.
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Mark Dujsik
Director


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 212
Location: Chicago, IL

PostPosted: 10.15.2003 1:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Intolerable Cruelty is the only film in the Coen canon I simply do not like.

Since we're ranking, here's mine:

1. Miller's Crossing

2. Fargo

3. Blood Simple

4. O Brother, Where Art Thou?

5. Raising Arizona

6. The Man Who Wasn't There

7. Barton Fink

8. The Hudsucker Proxy

9. The Big Lebowski

10. Intolerable Cruelty

I really need to pick up Miller's Crossing and Barton Fink on DVD.
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Fred C. Dobbs
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PostPosted: 05.28.2004 12:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Intolerable.
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beltmann
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Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 05.28.2004 1:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:
Except for some of the dialogue and some reaction shots, and other bits and pieces (the Living Without Intestines magazine) this movie could have almost been directed by, I don't know, Barry Sonnenfeld. Well, Sonnenfeld on a good day.


LOL, and accurate, too. Doubly witty since Sonnenfeld used to be the brothers' cinematographer.



Eric
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