The Coen Brothers have a unique way of storytelling that makes their films some of the most iconic and well-loved. Movies from the minds of Joel Daniel Coen and Ethan Jesse Coen span many genres and styles, which frequently subvert or parody. According to a popular internet forum, eleven of the internet’s favorite Coen Brothers movies are here. Is yours on this list?
1. Fargo (1996)
Fargo is a reality-based crime drama set in Minnesota in 1987, where Jerry, a Minneapolis car salesman, has gotten into debt. He is so desperate for money that he hires two thugs to kidnap his wife. Jerry will collect the ransom from her wealthy father, paying the thugs a small portion and keeping the rest to satisfy his debts. This movie is so well-loved that one film lover states, “Fargo has the rare distinction of being one of the very few movies I consider flawless.”
2. No Country For Old Men (2007)
While out hunting, Llewelyn Moss finds the gruesome aftermath of a drug deal. Though he knows better, he cannot resist the cash left behind and takes it. The hunter becomes the hunted when a merciless killer named Chigurh picks up his trail. No Country For Old Men boasts a certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and is considered by movie buffs to be one of the best movies ever made.
3. Burn After Reading (2008)
When a disc containing memoirs of a former CIA analyst falls into the hands of Linda Litzke and Chad Feldheimer, the two gym employees see a chance to make enough money for Linda to receive life-changing cosmetic surgery. Predictably, events whirl out of control for the duo doofuses and those in their orbit. One cinephile claims, “The final scene is perfection. All of it is so good, but that last scene? Magnificent.”
4. Hail, Caesar (2016)
In the early 1950s, Eddie Mannix is busy at work trying to solve all the problems of the actors and filmmakers at Capitol Pictures. His latest assignments involve a disgruntled director, a singing cowboy, a beautiful swimmer, and a handsome dancer. As if all this wasn’t enough, Mannix faces his biggest challenge when Baird Whitlock gets kidnapped while in costume for the swords-and-sandals epic of the same name, Hail, Caesar!
5. The Big Lebowski (1998)
Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski is mistaken for Jeffrey Lebowski, who is The Big Lebowski. The Dude tracks down his namesake, who offers him a job. His wife has been kidnapped, and he needs a reliable bagman. The Dude is aided and hindered by his pals Walter Sobchak, a Vietnam vet, and Donny, master of stupidity. One movie buff believes that The Big Lebowski “would be considered one of the greatest films of all time if it weren’t for its tone.”
6. True Grit (2010)
After an outlaw named Tom Chaney murders her father, feisty 14-year-old farm girl Mattie Ross hires Rooster Cogburn, a boozy, trigger-happy lawman, to help her find Chaney and avenge her father. The bickering duo is not alone in their quest, for a Texas Ranger named LaBoeuf is also tracking Chaney for his own reasons. Together the unlikely trio ventures into hostile territory to dispense some Old West justice. True Grit is one of Hailee Steinfeld’s first roles, for which she received lots of praise. She has since gone on to star in many more movies.
7. Raising Arizona (1987)
When an incompetent robber marries a policewoman, the couple discovers they are infertile. In order to appease his wife’s longings for a child, the man steals one from a set of quintuplets, but mayhem ensues when the child’s rich father sends a rabbit-shooting bounty hunter after the kidnapper. Raising Arizona exposes a troubled, imperfect family unit, often aspiring to the unattainable American Dream.
8. Barton Fink (1991)
Set in 1941, an intellectual New York playwright Barton Fink accepts an offer to write movie scripts in Los Angeles. He finds himself with writer’s block when required to do a B-movie script. His neighbor tries to help, but he continues to struggle as a bizarre sequence of events distracts him. One film fan admits that Barton Fink isn’t just their favorite Coen Brothers film, but their favorite film of all time.
9. Miller’s Crossing (1990
When the Italian Mafia threatens to kill a crooked bookie, Irish mob boss Leo O’Bannon refuses to allow it, chiefly because he’s dating the bookie’s sister. Leo’s right-hand man, Tom Reagan, is also seeing her on the sly, and when he’s found out is obliged to switch sides, going to work for the Italian mob amidst a dramatically escalating gang war over liquor distribution.
10. A Serious Man (2009)
Larry Gopnik is a physics professor at a 1960s university, but his life is coming apart at the seams. His wife is leaving him, his jobless brother has moved in, and someone is trying to sabotage his chances for tenure. Larry seeks advice from three different rabbis, but whether anyone can help him overcome his many afflictions remains to be seen. One movie lover says that A Serious Man is “criminally underrated.”
11. O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
Ulysses Everett McGill is having difficulty adjusting to his hard-labor sentence in Mississippi. He scams his way off the chain gang with simple Delmar and maladjusted Pete. Then the trio sets out to pursue freedom and the promise of a fortune in buried treasure. With nothing to lose and still in shackles, their hasty run takes them on an incredible journey of awesome experiences and colorful characters. Brotherhood is a key theme in O Brother, Where Are Thou? as it shows how true brotherhood surpasses things like race and religion.
This thread inspired this post.
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