Monday, June 26, 2017

I Do Like A Good Coen Brothers Movie...

I see few movies. In the grand scheme of things, it's not something that's proven important as I've grown older. Don't get me wrong--I do enjoy movies, but there are so many out there and I really don't have the money or time to watch them all. I'd like to say all that time and money saved by not watching a lot of movies was spent building a sailboat in the garage, or learning how to speak a foreign language.

But I can't. I know I've done other stuff with my time, but the results are less tangible.

But last night I came across Hail, Caesar, a movie written by Joel and Ethan Coen, also known as The Coen Brothers. I remember when I first saw the show. I thought the premise looked promising when it was advertised in the theaters. I said to myself I'd give it a shot when it was available for the cheapest price possible.

When I finally watched it I enjoyed it a lot. Then I remembered who wrote it and I realized why. The Coens have produced some of the most critically acclaimed movies over the past thirty years. I haven't seen them all, but the ones I have seen, I've loved. Perhaps my introduction to their genius was the 1984 classic, Raising Arizona, still one of my all-time favorite movies, comedy or otherwise. Another favorite, Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? was a gem, and even though Oscar-winning and nominated actors are stacked in their films, it's the dialogue that draws me in.

Case in point, it's a small scene in Hail, Caesar, but when I saw it again last night, I just sat their and enjoyed every word. The scene is set in a Hollywood board room in the 1950s. The story's main character, Eddie Mannix (played by Josh Brolin...) converses with representatives of various American faiths. He needs to convince them that their latest picture will not be found offensive to the different congregations represented. Mannix's reaction to each leader's objections/recommendations/blessing is so good. The Coens don't hit you over the head with their words. They allow them to tell you a story, to take you on a ride.

A screenplay I absolutely loved was from the 2010 remake of True Grit. I enjoyed the original--it's a classic and I worried the remake might not measure up. Maybe to some it didn't, but I felt each line of that script sounded to me like poetry, pure poetry. Maybe it's my experience on a stage, or as a writer. Whatever they do and how ever they do it, there's something about those words that carry me away.

I see few movies. Maybe that's why the ones I've seen written by Joel and Ethan Coen have such an effect. Or maybe, it's because they're just so good at what they do.

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