serious (The Man Who Wasn’t There, No Country for Old Men, Fargo, Millers Crossing, Blood Simple)
comedic (Big Lebowski, O Brother where art thou?, Burn After Reading, Ladykillers etc)
I think Barton Fink should have a separate category for itself, so let’s not count that one
Without thinking about it too much I would say the serious ones. Fargo is my favourite Coen movie by far and all others in this category are great.
Without any hesitation, their serious films are way more appealing to me. Blood Simple, Fargo, and No Country for Old Men are three remarkable films. All their comedic stuff I just look as a distraction for them in between serious films. Like Soderbergh with his Ocean’s 11 movies and Spielberg with his blockbuster popcorn movies, the Coens’ comedies are sort of fill for me that I don’t pay much attention to anymore.
I think they are quite good at satire/comedy too, sometimes might prove as their weak link as in Intolerable Cruelty or Burn After Reading (I personally liked both, they were strictly OK experiences )
Fargo is an easy favorite much in the vein of No country for Old Men and it works the best because it packs so many elements wonderfully psychopaths, greed, duty, innocence, satire, simple living all excellently woven into a subtle yet powerful film.
I question the categories a little bit — I’m no Coen fan but even I can see that one of their strengths is how they boldly mingle comedy and seriousness. Fargo is intensely funny; The Big Lebowski is perhaps their most philosophical film (about religion and how people deal with death).
you are right, but I think you can still separate into these two very very basic categories.
But how, because Fargo and The Big Lebowski may be my two favorite Coen films and I wouldn’t be comfortable labeling them as either one or the other.
because i think that if you take a step back and look at the atmosphere/use of music and the feel of the film in general, fargo will be more one side and lebowski on the other. i am not trying to bury them in those categories, but the coens are known for directing (and often alternating) those two types of movies. of course there are borderline cases…
Yeah. Put me down as a borderline case. :)
Does anyone else think the Coens should make some kids movies??? If they can feed the younger, younger generation (younger than me) films like Hudsucker’s Proxy and O, Brother Where Art Thou? (minus the KKK stuff), those kids might actually stand a chance and turn out cinematically straight. I don’t want them to only make kids movies from now on, but I just think if they could make a few they would be doing America a great service.
Maybe. Again, as a non fan I can recognize that at their best they are very weird.
@ leah: being ‘hopelessly’ cynical as they are I doubt they would ever do it.
that being said, some tim burton films are a good example of ‘good’ kids movies… and i think it also depends on the parent whether the kid turns out “cinematically straight”, which movies they show their kids at an early age etc…
haha- I think I would classify Fargo as a dark comedy… I’ve heard this debate before, but I just like the Coens. I suppose if it came down to it my favorites are Raising Arizona, The Big Lebowski, and Blood Simple- so I guess- 2 comedies= Comedy for me. That said, though- they don’t always hit it out of the park… I thought that Burn After Reading & Ladykillers were awful.
Fargo has funny scenes but I certainly wouldn’t call it a comedy. Like all truly great films, it cannot be captured within genre classifications.
Other than Fargo, however, I have very mixed feelings about every film the Coens have done. Their overt comedies, with the exception of Lebowski, tend to be rather atrocious.
the “serious” stuff
Well, Miller’s Crossing is my fave, but I think it is both serious/hilarious. “They took his hair Tommy….Jesus that’s strange.”
I have a hard time classifying Fargo as one of their serious films. It’s a dark comedy through and through.
But otherwise, my favourite Coen movies are easily Fargo and No Country for Old Men.
I didn’t really find Fargo or Blood Simple to be “serious” per se. All Coen films have comedic elements and only No Country for Old Men is an almost completely sober affair.
My personal favourite is Blood Simple. I like their films that combine dark comedy with “serious reality” almost seamlessly (even No Country for Old Men has a few hints of dark comedy) which is why I like that and Fargo as well. So I guess, I’m in the “serious” category.
definately Fargo is one of my faves, but they also have shown a lot of range which is good for any director.. they don’t get stuck in the same thing and they have tried film noir and comedy, drama, gangster, with that said, my faves by far are in no particular order,, Fargo, Big Lebowsky and No Country for Old Men… and Burn after Reading, was just plain fun.. it’s a movie about stupid people made for smart people haha, seriously it’s not their best but come on, i rather watch an ok Coen film than most of the movies that come out today…
The type where they don’t smirk at their own supposed cleverness.
A serious man is there best I think, and what the hell do you classify that as? It’s hilarious and completely depressing.
“Serious” I suppose. I thought No Country for Old Men was there best work.
I still need to see "A Serious Man’ then I’ll answer!
Right now, I prefer Barton Fink, The Big Lebowski, then probably Fargo - William H. Macy is great in it (anyone notice he always has roles where he is a wimp yet tries his hand out at crime — Magnolia, and just wimpy Boogie Nights).
I’d put “A Serious Man” in the difficult-to-describe third category alongside “Barton Fink”, personally. That category’s also contains my two favorite of theirs…
A Serious Man is a strange one. It kind of reminded me of Woody Allen a little, from a moral/existential standpoint, but it was far more absurd than anything Allen would do. This guy just keeps getting shit thrown in his face at every single turn. You feel bad for laughing at his predicament. hahahah. I didn’t think it was a great movie though.
I’m going for comedies. I love Big Lebowski.
If you are going to split them into two types like that, I guess I’ll go with the “serious”. I just watched “Blood Simple” for the first time in so long. I had forgotten that they throw all these little noir elements at you and then don’t use them the way you expect. In fact, they don’t even deliver a noir. Maybe too clever for some people, but I love it.
i think we cannot split their works into two types like that , because serious part that you mentioned contained films that are Black comedies(Fargo-no country for old men)
dark and moody, my favorite Coen’s films are The man Who Wasn’t There> No Country For Old Men> Fargo> Blood Simple. I love the Coen Brothers only films I haven’t seen are the 2 not good ones and Serious Man, which I am very exited to check out.
The Big Lebowski is my favorite but I really love the A Serious Man and Barton Fink Category that’s not a real comedy nor dark crime movie, but the world is crashing in on me personal movies.
Ya, all the Coens work is incredible in that it defies categorization as either comedy or drama, it’s just coen. And to those against the comedic works, prefering them to only make “serious” movies… you clearly haven’t seen “Raising Arizona”