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The Big Lebowski (1998)

July 22, 2015


The Dude: “That rug really tied the room together.”
One of the great movies. It’s pretty hard to describe, because when you describe it you can do justice to the movie. It is one of those iconic movies where every scene is special.
One special thing about this movie was that the acting was so good. It’s hard to pick a favorite performance. Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, and John Turturro were just great. They were in a comedy, but they all played their roles straight which really helped tie the movie together.
In his “Great Movie” review the great Roger Ebert said:
This is a plot and dialogue that perhaps only the Coen Brothers  could have devised. I’m thinking less of their clarity in “Fargo” and “No Country for Old Men” than of the almost hallucinatory logic of “Raising Arizona” and “The Hudsucker Proxy.” Only a steady hand in the midst of madness allows them to hold it all  together–that, and the delirious richness of their visual approach.
Roger went on to say:
The inspiration for the supporting characters can perhaps be found in the novels of Raymond Chandler. The Southern California setting, the millionaire, the kidnapped wife, the bohemian daughter, the enforcers, the cops who know the hero by name, can all be found in Chandler. The Dude is in a sense Philip Marlowe — not in his energy or focus, but in the code he lives by. Down these mean streets walks a man who won’t allow his rug to be pissed on. “That will not stand,” he says, perhaps unconsciously quoting George H.W. Bush about Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait. The Dude does not lie, steal or cheat. He does swear. He wants what is right. With the earliest flags of the republic, he insists, “Don’t tread on me.”
The Big Lebowski is one of those special movies that’s gets better every time you see it, and you want to see it all the time. A very special movie.

A Serious Man (2009)

February 10, 2010

“When the truth is found to be lies
and all the joys within you dies
don’t you want somebody to love” – Jefferson Airplane
The movie opens with a scene in 19th century Russia where Velvel is helped by a man on the road and then invites him into the house. Dorais convinced that the man is a dybbuk, or a spirit, because the man died three years ago. She thinks they are cursed for inviting him in. When she stabs the man the husband thinks she has killed him, but she thinks he is just an evil spirit. What to believe? Where do we get our truths from? The spiritual world or the world that we can see and investigate?
This scene sets up the movie and the story of Larry, who might be descended from this (cursed?) couple.
Larry Gopnik is a physics professor and he is first shown at the board explaining Scrodinger’s Paradox to his students, which says there is a state in which a cat can be both alive and dead, according to the laws of physics.
Larry thinks he has good life going but things are about to fall apart. He also has a student who is failing his class because he can’t do the math. Larry is worried about a neighbor who might be encroaching on his property. His wife has decided that she wants a divorce; she would rather be with their neighbor Sy. The kids are going through the typical, trials and tribulations of the teenage years.  Uncle Arthur, who lives with him, is making a probability map of the universe.
Larry moves out to a motel. As his world comes crashing down his son complains because F Troop is still fuzzy on the TV. Larry’s tenure committee is getting negative letters about Larry. When Sy dies in a car crash, Larry’s wife is really broken up. Uncle Arthur gets picked up on a morals charge and the police are after him for gambling. The failing student’s father shows up and threatens to sue Larry. He tells him to “Please. Accept the mystery.” Larry says to a friend “Everything that I thought was one way turns out to be another.”
Larry tries to find out what was going on by visiting some rabbis. The first rabbi tells him that “You have to see these things as expressions of God’s will. You don’t have to like it, of course.” The second rabbi tells him a story about the message in Hebrew a dentist found on the back of a patient’s teeth. It said “Help me, save me” in a goy’s (non-Jew) mouth. The rabbi says he doesn’t know what the story means, but Larry wants an answer. He really wants to see the busy rabbi, Marshak. He tells his secretary “I’ve tried to be a serious man.” The rabbi won’t see him because he is too busy thinking.
When Larry erases the grade of the failing student, for money, you get the feeling his world will really fall apart, and it soon does. His doctor calls to have him come in to discuss his x-rays from his checkup. As the movie ends a tornado heads towards them.
Some movies get better with each viewing and this is one of them. After I first saw it I wanted to see it again right away. It is a movie about ideas, about life, about spirituality, about what we believe. A really good black comedy from the Coen brothers.

Fargo (1996)

February 1, 2010

It’s not like there are some classic quotes and scenes in Fargo, it’s more like every line of dialogue and every scene is classic. I don’t know who was best in it : Steve Buscemi, William Macy, Peter Stormare or Frances McDormand. I don’t know if I if I liked it best as a thriller or a comedy. Fargo is a movie that is hard to get a handle on. Right from the opening credits when the Coen Brothers lie and tell us it is based on a true story. At times it’s as brutal and violent as any movie you’ll ever see. At times it’s sweet and gentle. And at times it’s as funny as anything you’ll ever see.
Fargo is a movie that defies a good description. You have to see it to believe it and enjoy it. One of my favorites.

Miller’s Crossing (1990)

January 31, 2010

“It’s gettin’ so a businessman can’t expect no return from a fixed fight. Now, if you can’t trust a fix, what can you trust? For a good return, you gotta go bettin’ on chance – and then you’re back with anarchy, right back in the jungle.”
The first scene in Irish gangster Leo’s office has Johnny Caspar coming in to sort of ask permission to knock off Bernie Bembaum (John Turturro), because he has no ethics, and it sets up the whole movie. Leo loves Verna, and Bernie is Verna’s brother so Leo nixes the hit. Leo trusts Tom Reagan (Gabriel Byrne) more than anyone, but Tom is sleeping with Verna.
Tom isn’t happy because Leo’s world is going to come crumbling down because of Verna. Tom knows Verna is just using Leo to help her brother.
Johnny tries to have some of his guys knock off Leo, but in a great scene, with Danny Boy playing loudly, Leo guns them off. Tom comes clean with Leo about Verna hoping he will give her up and Leo cuts him and Vera loose.
Tom goes to Caspar and makes believe he has switched sides. Tom tells Caspar where Bernie is and they bring him out to the woods at Miller’s Crossing to kill him. They want Tom to do it. Bernie is begging for his life but Tom can’t do it. Tom pretends to shoot him and tells Bernie to disappear.
Tom causes some dissension in Caspar’s camp. Then Caspar’s man Eddie Dane tells Verna that Tom killed her brother. Bernie squeezes Tom. Eddie takes Tom out to Miller’s Crossing to prove that he shot Bernie there. As Eddie Dane is about to shoot Tom, they find a body. The twists continue and the war between Leo and Casper goes on.
When Dane goes to strangle Tom, Caspar kills him, thinking Dane has double crossed him. The crossings and double crossings just keep going on and on.
A great, great gangster movie that winks at the genre, while adding to it.

Intolerable Cruelty (2003)

January 29, 2010

Divorce lawyer Miles (George Clooney) is ruthless in the courtroom. Marilyn (Catherine Zeta-Jones) has discovered(and has video evidence) that her very rich husband, Rex Rexroth, is cheating on her. Miles takes on Rex as a client.
Miles comes up with a witness who testifies that Marilyn has married Rex just so she could get his money. She loses the divorce settlement case and sets out on the prowl for a new victim.
Marilyn shows up at Miles office with oilman Howard Doyle (Billy Bob Thorton). She wants an iron clad prenup before they get married that she says will protect Doyle. Miles can’t figure her out. At the wedding Howard tears up the prenup. Marilyn stays married for a while and then makes a killing.
Miles is fascinated by Marilyn. She works her wiles on him and they are married after he signs the iron clad prenup and then she tears it up.
Loves changes Miles and he decides to turn over a new leaf but then he sees Howard on TV – he is an actor. He realizes that he has been played, Marilyn has no money and there is no prenup.
Miles decides to hire a hit man to knock off Marilyn. Then Rex dies and his old will gives everything to Marilyn. Miles tries to call off the hit. The turns continue till the end.
Typical Coen’s Brothers with a twist at every turn. The turns weren’t as funny in this one. The movie was just OK, mostly because it’s hard to really care about any of the characters.

Barton Fink (1991)

January 26, 2010

It’s 1941 and Barton Fink (John Turturro) is a New York playwright who goes to Hollywood to write a screenplay . He feels it is important to stay in touch with the common man and he meets on in Charlie Meadows (John Goodman). He is supposed to write a wrestling picture for Wallace Beery but is having writer’s block. Barton meets a William Faulkner like character named W.P. Mayhew.
Barton sleeps with Mayhew’s assistant, but she is dead when he wakes up. Bart then has to go tell studio mogul Jack Lipnick what story line he has come up with so far. He tells Lipnick that he is done but doesn’t like to reveal his stories before he is finished writing. Lipnick goes for it.
Charlie takes care of the body for Barton, but then he has to go on a little trip. The police interview Bart about the serial killer who lived next door to him – Charlie! His real name is Mad Man Mundt. Bart doesn’t tell the police anything. Bart is then able to really start writing. He goes out dancing to celebrate his writing, but gets beat up by a sailor.
When he gets back to the hotel the two detectives are there. Mayhew has been found dead. The detectives hand cuff Bart to the bed and go out in the hall where Charlie is surrounded by flames. Charlie starts firing and kills the detectives as the flames follow him.
Lipnick doesn’t like Bart’s screenplay. He tells him he isn’t a writer. He tells him to get lost, there’s a war on.
Barton Fink is a very strange, very surreal and very entertaining movie. Definitely, not for all tastes though.

The Ladykillers (2004)

January 25, 2010

Usually I am really against remaking classical movies, and the Ladykillers(1955) was a great classic movie. But the Coen Brothers moved the action from London to Mississippi and they added a mixture of “American” characters and American music – it looked promising.
One day Professor Goldthwaite H. Dorr (Tom Hanks) answers an ad for an empty room in the home of Mrs. Marva Munson, an elderly, religious woman. he explains to her that her cellar would be perfect for his group of classical musicians to practice.
The musicians, are really want to be criminals and are made up of Lump, a really dumb football player, who is to be the muscle, the General, a Vietnamese baker who is an expert in tunneling, Garth Pancake, a moustached animal trainer for TV commercials, with expertise in explosives and Gawain, their “inside man”, a young janitor who works on a riverboat casino whose money counting house they are targeting. 
    The plot has a few hitches but the criminals are ultimately succesful. When Mrs. Munson discovers what has been going on in her cellar, she wants them to return the money. They decide the easiest way out of it is to knock her off. They draw straws to see who has to do it and Gawaine loses. He can’t do it and ends up dead in an accident. When Garth tries to make off with all the loot, the General strangles him. The General tries to knock off Mrs. Munson next but a cuckoo clock scares him and he trips down the stairs and dies. Another one down. Next up is Lump who decides he can’t do it. He also says he isn’t going to let the Professor do it but he shoots himself by accident.
The last one left is the Professor. He sees a raven which lands on a statue, and being a fan of Edgar Allen Poe he takes it as a good sign. When the raven flies off the head comes off the statue and hits the professor. This is not very clever stuff.
It’s also shame they had to have the Gawaine (Marlon Wayans) character with his goofy ways and his ghetto manners be the comic relief. He can’t utter one sentence without swearing or saying things like “You may have your PHD, I got my GED”, and “The man brought his bitch to the Waffle Hut” (he said that 4 times).
Otherwise it was a decent movie, nowhere near as good as the original, but OK nonetheless.

Blood Simple (1984)

January 17, 2010

Abby (Frances McDormand) is cheating on her husband, Marty who owns a bar in Texas, with Ray who is a bar tender. Private eye Loren Visser (M. Emmett Walsh) is hired to follow Abby and he reports back to an unhappy Marty.
Marty pays Abby a visit but Abby beats him off. Marty hires Loren to kill Abby and Ray and then goes on a fishing trip. Loren takes Abby’s gun and shoots them both in bed. He delivers the picture of the bullet ridden bodies to Marty. When Marty pays Loren, Marty shoots him (with Abby’s gun?).
Then Ray walks in to the bar – he’s not dead. It was all a set up. Ray walks in and sees Marty’s dead body and a gun fires and goes flying across the floor. He picks up the gun. He then tries to clean up the blood, he must think Abby did it. He takes Marty’s body in his car but Marty is not dead and he crawls out of the car. Ray then buries him alive. Meanwhile Loren burns the doctored pictures but he can’t find his monogrammed lighter. Ray goes back and tells Abby that he has finished what she started but she has no idea what he is talking about and then Marty calls on the phone!
Abby thinks Ray killed Marty and Ray thinks Abby had tried to kill Marty. No one knows what is going on. Ray finds the doctored photos. Loren shoots and kills Ray with a rifle from outside. Then he aims at Abby but misses. We hear the footsteps, like in a Hitchcock film.  When Loren puts his hand through the window Abby put a knife through it pinning it to the window sill (a homage to The Godfather like the fish?). Loren finally gets his other hand through the wall to lift out the knife. Abby gets a gun and waits for him and fires through the door. She thinks she has shot Marty, but it was Loren.  She says “I’m not afraid of you Marty.” Loren laughs, before dying, and says “If I see him, I’ll be sure to give him the message.” Then the movie abruptly ends.
The Coen’s brothers first movie was a great neo-noir. Twists and turns you could never see coming. Just really good.

The Hudsucker Proxy (1994)

January 16, 2010

New Years’s Eve, 1958, New York City. Norville Barnes (Tim Robbins) is out on the ledge of Hudsucker Industries. The movie then takes a look back at how he got up there.
Norville arrives in New York and stands in front of a board displaying available jobs. It seems he is not qualified for anything. Even goat herders need experience. Waring Hudsucker (Charles Durning) presides over a board meeting where all the record making profits being made are discussed. Waring winds his watch, climbs on the table and jumps out though the window at the stroke of twelve.
Meanwhile Norville finds a job listing, almost magically, that looks good. he walks in to the building that Waring jumped out of. Sidney Mussburger (Paul Newman) takes over the board meeting. Waring’s controlling stock will be sold to the public. The board starts a plan to get the stock cheap. They must inspire panic in the public. They need to get a proxy, a pawn to become president. “Some jerk, we can really push around’ says Sidney. Meanwhile Norville is a new employee in the mail room. He has to deliver a “blue letter” personally to Mussberger. Mussberger thinks he is an idiot, perfect for the job of president of the company. Once installed the stock prices start dropping.
Norville is being called the “Idea Man” in the papers. Reporter Amy Archer (Jennifer Jason Leigh), doing a Katherine Hepburn/ Rosalind Russell / Jean Arthur impression, walks in to the newsroom saying he is a phony. Amy sets out to find out the truth about Norville. She finds him at coffee shop and then faints to get his attention. It was at this point that I figured out Tim Robbins was doing a Jimmy Stewart impersonation. The Hudsucker Proxy was an homage to all those great screwball comedies of the thirties and forties. Like Clarissa, in Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, Amy exposes the emperor with no clothes.
Norville takes some shots at the reporter to his new office worker Amy, not knowing she is the reporter. Amy finds out from Moses, who works in the buildings clock tower, what is really going on. Amy continues writing stories about the idiot president because it sells papers, but she begins to feel bad. Like Clarissa, she is beginning to be won over by the swell guy who she at first thought was a dope.
Norville shows the board his hula hoop, which he has been pushing all along. Mussburger says that it is brilliant, because he thinks it is idiotic. he still wants the stock to drop. Hudsucker Industries mass produces it and it doesn’t sell at first, but then it catches on. Up go the stock prices and the board members who had sold up their stock lost millions.
Now the pressure is on for Norville to come up with a new idea. Meanwhile Mussburger is thinking up plans to ruin the company so they can buy their stock back at low prices.
Amy is not happy with how the successful Norville, who she used to love, has changed and she resigns. Then Mussburger finds out that Norville had hired a spy, Amy. Her newspaper is publishing a story that Norville stole his hula hoop idea from the elevator boy. Mussburger says the board will have a serious problem with this, and his position will be gone after the new year. Amy quits the paper and tries ro help Norville but he won’t forgive her. Norville begins to hit rock bottom. When he goes out on the ledge at muidnight he slips and falls as Mussburger laughs in his office. But then Moses, the clockmaker, stops the clock and time stops. Like the angel that stopped George Bailey in It’s A Wonderful Life, Waring Hudsucker appears as an angel to give Norville some advice. He also tells him that as the new president he has inherited all of his stock and that he controls the company.
Norville is given a second chance in life and he starts off by finding Amy. He then ruled the company successfully with wisdom and compassion. His next invention was the frisbee.
Combining elements of the Capra classics Mr. Smith, Mr. Deeds, It’s a Wonderful Life and Meet John Doe along with His Girl Friday, we have a wonderful homage to those great movies. Just for those references alone I would consider it a very good movie, but when you combine that with the tremendous sense of style and the great look that the movie has, I think we have a great movie.

Burn Before Reading (2008)

January 12, 2010

Osbourne Cox (John Malkovich) is being removed from his post in the CIA because he has a drinking problem. Harry (George Clooney) is having an affair with Osbourne’s wife, Katie. Osbourne decides to write his memoirs.
Linda (Frances McDormand) and Chad (Brad Pitt) are trainers at a gym. Linda wants to have a variety of procedures to help improve her body and is also doing computer dating. When her insurance company turns down the money for her operations she is devastated.
Chad has a CD that someone found of the locker room floor. The CD has a bunch of information on it that looks like secret documents. He finds out the disk is Osbourne Cox’s. Chad wants to call and see if he can get a reward. Linda hopes it can pay for her surgeries.
Meanwhile Harry and Linda hook up, using the data service. When Osbourne won’t pay, Linda and Chad head to the Russian embassy. Katie is going to leave Osbourne and wants Harry to leave his wife – he isn’t too sure.
Chad goes over to scout out Osbourne’s house and Harry is there. When Harry finds Chad in his closet, he is startled and shoots and kills him and dumps his body in the river. The CIA who was watching can’t figure out what is going on.
Harry breaks up with Katie but then finds out his wife has hired a detective to follow him. Osbourne’s bank account is closed. Linda is worried to death about Chad. When she tells Harry that the missing Chad had last been at Osbourne’s house Harry freaks out (he knows he killed him). Osbourne breaks into his own house and finds Ted, the gym manager, who he then shoots and then beats with his gun, killing him. A CIA guy watching the house shot Osbourne, who is probably going to die. No one, including the viewer, really knows what is going on. The guys at the CIA are really confused.
The CIA guys agree to pay for Linda’s procedures but they don’t know why.
A good movie by the Coen Brothers but not one of my favorites.

No Country For Old Men (2007)

January 10, 2010

Sheriff Ed Tom Bell talks about a different time. He says :
I was sheriff of this county when I was twenty-five years old. Hard to believe. My grandfather was a lawman; father too. Me and him was sheriffs at the same time; him up in Plano and me out here. I think he’s pretty proud of that. I know I was. Some of the old time sheriffs never even wore a gun. A lotta folks find that hard to believe. Jim Scarborough’d never carry one; that’s the younger Jim. Gaston Boykins wouldn’t wear one up in Camanche County. I always liked to hear about the oldtimers. Never missed a chance to do so. You can’t help but compare yourself against the oldtimers. Can’t help but wonder how theyd’ve operated these times. There was this boy I sent to the ‘lectric chair at Huntsville Hill here a while back. My arrest and my testimony. He killt a fourteen-year-old girl. Papers said it was a crime of passion but he told me there wasn’t any passion to it. Told me that he’d been planning to kill somebody for about as long as he could remember. Said that if they turned him out he’d do it again. Said he knew he was going to hell. “Be there in about fifteen minutes”. I don’t know what to make of that. I sure don’t. The crime you see now, it’s hard to even take its measure. It’s not that I’m afraid of it. I always knew you had to be willing to die to even do this job. But, I don’t want to push my chips forward and go out and meet something I don’t understand. A man would have to put his soul at hazard. He’d have to say, “O.K., I’ll be part of this world.”
The movie then goes to a scene where Anton kills the deputy. Then he pulls a car in his stolen police car and then kills the man in it with his cattle bolt gun powered by an oxygen tank. Is the villain is saying his victims aren’t even human – they’re cattle?
Jump cut to a hunter, Llewelyn Moss, an everyman. He comes upon the remnants of a drug shoot out and gets away with the cash. He is probably better than most men. His conscience gets the better of him and he has to go back that night and give the one wounded survivor water. His knows it’s dumb but he has to do it. When he gets to the scene he is chased but he gets away. Cut to a scene with Anton in a store. The store owner makes a mistake and tries to engage him in conversation – big mistake. The conversation ends with :
Anton Chigurh: What’s the most you ever lost on a coin toss.
Gas Station Proprietor: Sir?
Anton Chigurh: The most. You ever lost. On a coin toss.
Gas Station Proprietor: I don’t know. I couldn’t say.
[Chigurh flips a quarter from the change on the counter and covers it with his hand]
Anton Chigurh: Call it.
Gas Station Proprietor: Call it?
Anton Chigurh: Yes.
Gas Station Proprietor: For what?
Anton Chigurh: Just call it.
Gas Station Proprietor: Well, we need to know what we’re calling it for here.
Anton Chigurh: You need to call it. I can’t call it for you. It wouldn’t be fair.
Gas Station Proprietor: I didn’t put nothin’ up.
Anton Chigurh: Yes, you did. You’ve been putting it up your whole life you just didn’t know it. You know what date is on this coin?
Gas Station Proprietor: No.
Anton Chigurh: 1958. It’s been traveling twenty-two years to get here. And now it’s here. And it’s either heads or tails. And you have to say. Call it.
Gas Station Proprietor: Look, I need to know what I stand to win.
Anton Chigurh: Everything.
Gas Station Proprietor: How’s that?
Anton Chigurh: You stand to win everything. Call it.
Gas Station Proprietor: Alright. Heads then.
[Chigurh removes his hand, revealing the coin is indeed heads]
Anton Chigurh: Well done.
Anton Chigurh: Don’t put it in your pocket.
Gas Station Proprietor: Sir?
Anton Chigurh : Don’t put it in your pocket. It’s your lucky quarter.
Gas Station Proprietor: Where do you want me to put it?
Anton Chigurh: Anywhere not in your pocket. Where it’ll get mixed in with the others and become just a coin. Which it is.

Anton Chigurh is very strange and very scary. He was willing to decide this man’s life on a coin test.

Cut back to Llewelyn and his wife. He knows they will be coming for him. It’s here the strands come together – it’s Anton who will be pursuing Llewelyn and it’s Sheriff Bell who is investigating the crime. Anton makes it to Llewelyn’s trailer but they are gone. Sheriff Bell also makes it there and now he is after Llewelyn and he is after whoever is pursuing Llewelyn. The chase is on.
Anton has an electronic tracker that helps him find the money (which has an electronic bug in it), which is in the hotel with Llewelyn. Anton kills three other men also on the money trail.
Then we meet Carson Welles (Woody Harrelson) who has been hired by the money men to find their money. He is acquainted with Anton who he says is a “psychopathic killer.” Anton catches up with Llewelyn at a hotel and the gun battle spills out on to the streets. Both men are hit and Llewelyn escapes. Anton blows up a car as a diversion so he can rob medical supplies at a pharmacy. Carson meets Llewelyn at the hospital, wants the money. Llewelyn won’t deal and when Carson leaves he meets Anton who has him at gun point. Carson tries to make a deal but has no luck.
Anton then talks to Llewelyn and tells him if he brings him the money he can save his wife’s life, but his life is forfeit already. Llewelyn decides to take his chances. Sheriff Bell is on the trail trying to save Llewelyn but he gets there too late, Anton got there first.
Anton then goes to see Llewelyn’s wife, to settle the score. To gives her a coin flip for her life but she won’t call it.
Anton’s car gets hit by someone who runs a red light. He crawls out,and gets away before the police come.
Sheriff Bell, who has retired, is sitting at the kitchen table. He tells his wife about the dreams he had about his father. His father had gone on ahead and was waiting for him. Good has given up but evil goes on, even if it has some setbacks. Not a very optimistic world view by Cormac McCarthy and the Coen brothers.
Great, great movie.

Raising Arizona (1987)

January 6, 2010

H.I. McDunnough (Nicholas Cage) and Edwina (Holly Hunter) meet when H.I. is in prison and Edwina is the guard. Ed’s fiance has left her and H.I. is outraged. H.I. gets out but always goes back to his old ways, and always ends up back inside with Ed again.

Hi proposes and Ed accepts. Hi gets a job doing sheet metal and Ed wants a child. Ed says “We figured there was too much happiness here for just the two of us, so we figured the next logical step was to have us a critter.” When Ed finds out she is barren she is devastated. H.I. says ” Edwina’s insides were a rocky place where my seed could find no purchase.” They tried to adapt but as Hi said “Biology and the prejudices of others conspired to keep us childless.”
Then the Arizona quints were born, the children of Nathan and Florence Arizona. It didn’t seem quite fair to Ed and Hi that one couple should have so much and they should have nothing. Hi breaks in but has trouble selecting one. He comes out to the car but Ed sends him back in. Hi comes back and says “I think I got the best one.”
When two of hi’s friends escape from jail they explain it to Ed in the following way:
Ed : You mean you busted out of jail.
Evelle: No, ma’am. We released ourselves on our own recognizance.
Gale: What Evelle here is trying to say is that we felt that the institution no longer had anything to offer us.

Ed is anxious for the escapees to be on their way. Meanwhile the Arizona family is trying to deal with the abduction. the police interrogation doesn’t go to well.

Policeman: Do you have any disgruntled employees?
Nathan Arizona Sr.: Hell, they’re all disgruntled. I ain’t running no damn daisy farm. My motto is “Do it my way or watch your butt!”
Policeman: Well, do you think any of them could’ve done it?
Nathan Arizona Sr.: Oh, don’t make me laugh. Without my say-so they wouldn’t piss with their pants on fire.
Meanwhile Hi robs a convenience store which starts a wild car chase with Huggies, dogs and police. Ed and Hi make their escape. Ed says “I’m not going to live this way, Hi. It just ain’t family life!” Hi says “Well, it ain’t Ozzie and Harriet.”
Hi decides to join his two buddies in a caper. He just doesn’t think he can make it as a family man. Meanwhile Leonard Smalls, hunter of men, goes to meet Mr. Arizona. He tells him “If you want to find an outlaw, you call an outlaw. You want to find a Dunkin Donuts, call a cop.”
Meanwhile Hi’s two friends learn the true identity of Jr. and are going to turn him in for the reward. They tie up Hi and steal Nathan Jr. Evelle and Gail rob a bank but again leave the baby behind. Hi battles with Leonard Smalls who has shown up and Ed wins. No more Leonard. Ed and Hi return little Nathan and Hi claims the $25,000 reward, but Ed doesn’t want the reward.
Great movie.

The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001)

January 5, 2010

Ed Crane (Billy Bob Thornton) narrates the story. He works as a barber with his brother-in-law Frank, he goes to church and bingo. His wife Doris (Frances McDormand) invites her boss Big Dave Brewster (James Gandolfi) and his wife, the heiress, over for dinner. Doris may laugh a little too much at Dave’s jokes.
Ed doesn’t really enjoy listening to his brother-in-law prattle on at the shop. One day, at closing time, Creighton Tolliver wanders in. He gets to talking to Ed about a business venture – dy cleaning. Ed goes to Creighton’s hotel that night and say he might be interested in investing.
Meanwhile Big Dave gets a blackmail note about an affair he is having with a married woman. He confides to Ed. Dave will lose everything – his wife is owner of the store. Dave thinks Creighton is the blackmailer. Ed figures that it is Doris that Dave is cheating with.
Ed tells Dave to pay the blackmail and he does and Ed picks it up. Dave finds out when he beats up Creighton and then he beats up Ed. Ed then stabs Dave in the neck with a knife and kills him.
Doris gets picked up for homicide and embezzlement. Ed gets a lawyer for Doris, visits Doris and then talks to Dave’s widow. Dave’s wife is crazy. She blames the government. She said she and Dave reported how Dave was brought on an alien’s space ship last summer and now the government was scared.
Ed admits to the lawyer and Doris that he killed him because of the affair. The lawyer thinks it is just a gimmick to get Doris off.
Creighton took off with Ed’s money. Ed started going over to his friend’s hose visiting. he listened to his daughter Birdy (Scarlett Johansson) play the piano.
The lawyer who gets a private eye who finds out that Dave lied about his war service. The lawyer feels that the fact that Dave is a big liar will get Doris off. Dave probably made a lot of enemies. Ed begins falling for Birdy. Doris hung herself. Her brother, Frank, stopped coming to the barbershop and Ed hired someone new to work with him.
Someone from the county comes and tells Ed that during the autopsy they found Doris was pregnant. Ed says it couldn’t have been his since he hadn’t been with his wife in years. Ed tells Birdy that she should take her career to another level. Ed says there is a teacher in San Francisco that she should hook up with, he wanted to pay for the lessons. Ed sets up an appointment for her with the teacher. The teacher says that he thinks she would make a very good typist. Ed crashes the car on the way home.  
Ed wakes up on the operating table. Police tell him that he is under arrest for the murder of Creighton Tolliver whose body had been discovered, beaten to death. The partnership papers and $10,000 were found in his briefcase. Ed was sentenced to the chair for a crime he didn’t commit.

O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)

January 3, 2010

“Damn! We’re in a tight spot!”
Based on The Odyssey by Homer, the movie starts with Ulysses Everett McGill (George Clooney), Pete (John Turturro) and Delmar (Tim Blake Nelson) escape from a Mississippi chain gang to go after a treasure Everett has from a holdup, but they are still chained together. They meet a blind man on a railroad hand car who tells their future.
They visit Pete’s cousin, who turns them in for the reward, They escape and Pete and Delmar are “saved” at a river. The pick up Tommy Johnson who has just sold his soul to the devil. They hear that there is money to be made in singing so they go to a radio station and sing as The Foggy Bottom Boys.
The boys then get picked up by Baby Face Nelson, who wants to be called George. They rob a bank together. Then they meet three women washing clothes at the river. When they awake Delmar thinks the sirens have turned Pete into a frog. Then they run into one-eyed Big Dan Teague (John Goodman), bible salesman. Big Dan promptly beats Everett and Delmar and robs them.
In the next scene we see Pete being whipped by the lawmen, trying to get him to talk. The boys then see Pete back on the chain gang. Everett then sees his three little girls singing at a political rally. Their mother, penny (played by Holly Hunter), had told then that he was dead, hit by a train. Penny is now engaged to Vernon.
The boys then run into Pete at the movies with his chain gang. He warns them not to continue after the treasure, there’s an ambush. Everett and Delmar break Pete out of the prison camp. Everett then admits to the boys that there is no treasure. He tells Delmar and Pete that he had to get to his wife before the wedding. the boys aren’t happy because their time in prison had almost been up.
Next the travellers come upon a KKK rally. The KKK have Tommy, from their band and are going to hang him. The boys get some KKK garb and go out on to the field. One eyed Dan recognizes the boys, from Everett’s hair tonic, and comes out and pulls off their hoods. The boys and Tommy make another escape.
The boys dress up in beards and form the band again. Everett tries to talk his wife in to coming with him. The Klan leader tries to stop the show, because the band is integrated and he recognizes the boys. The crowd shouts the KKK politician down, they like the music. They run him out on a rail. Pappy O’Daniel (Charles Durning), the other politician, pardons the boys.
Great dialogue, great music and great movie.