October 16, 2009

Where the Wild Bullet Points Are

Opening day of Where the Wild Things Are was once so far away that it seemed theoretical, but here we are, and Walter's review is up, and since we generally hold talkbacks for the dork event movies, have at it.

Some other, random talking points:
  • Last night, "The Office" followed up their transcendant wedding hour with what is easily the worst episode in the show's history, an epic fail I didn't think they'd even be capable of until that inevitable day when Steve Carell's contract runs out and he's replaced by Ted McGinley.
  • I was a bit of a shit disturber at Glenn Kenny's Blog yesterday in a post linking to a Salon survey of film types on their favourite Coen Brothers movie, but I was disappointed to see so much Lebowski love from people with a presumably broader palette to choose from than your average cubicle drone. On the other hand: great movie. If I recall correctly we all put our favourite Pixars in order before Up came out; now that A Serious Man has gone wide, how would you rank the Coens' oeuvre?
  • If my Twitter experience has taught me anything, it's that I'm not as compulsive as I thought. Sadly, I'm hemorrhaging followers as a result.
  • Did I mention we have a new book out? Also, to answer a common query of our international readers, I suspect the Superannual will go on sale at Amazon in November.


Arlvy said...

In the UK we have 2 weeks to wait for Where The Wild Things Are but it looks spectacular from everything I've seen.
As for the Coen's I think they are definitely the most consistent American filmmaker's of the last 20 years and I couldn't make a strict list but I know Miller's Crossing is always number one.

Patrick said...

Pertaining the Coens, I haven't seen or don't remember much of their films before Fargo (I definitely *saw* Raising Arizona and Hudsucker Proxy, but most of what I recall). Then again, in 1996 (Fargo) I was 19, so there. The films that I do remember / have seen:

1) No Country for Old Men
2) The Big Lebowski
3) Burn after Reading
4) Fargo
5) Intolerable Cruelty
6) O Brother, Where Art Thou
7) The Ladykillers
8) The Man who wasn't there

The first time I saw Lebowski, I found it extremely dull. And I hated John Goodman's character, because that's just the type of guy I hate. On a second viewing, though, I really enjoyed the film.

Burn After Reading, I also enjoyed a lot until the awful ending which made me feel like I've been had. Still, as with Intolerable Cruelty, I was sort of in the film for most of its running time.

And I hated The Man Who Wasn't There when I saw it. Just a film about some guy where nothing happens. Boring shit. Maybe, like Lebowski, I need to see it again.

brandon curtis said...

Glad I'm not the only one who thought "The Office" from last night was a shit fest.

corym said...

A quick glance at Moviefone tells me that the closest theater playing A Serious Man is 177 miles away. Jesus.

Anyway, if we're rating Coen movies, here we go:

1) No Country For Old Men
2) The Big Lebowski
3) Barton Fink
4) Miller's Crossing
5) Fargo
6) O Brother Where Art Thou
7) The Man Who Wasn't There
8) The Hudsucker Proxy
9) Burn After Reading
10) Raising Arizona
11) Intolerable Cruelty
12) Blood Simple
13) The Ladykillers

I feel like my list needs a few notes. While the first four a pretty much locked in, I think 5 - 10 are equal in quality, it just depends on what kind of mood I'm in. The bottom three probably aren't a surprise with the possible exception of Blood Simple. It's a good first try, but I don't think it's in the same league as the rest of their stuff.

Rick said...

Glad I'm not the only one who thought "The Office" from last night was a shit fest.

Loved the wedding one though, especially the side issue condom speech.

Jefferson Robbins said...

Intolerable Cruelty is such a confection -- even the Coens admit it was a toss-off, anybody could've done it -- but it was so enjoyable at the time.

"The Massey prenup has never been penetrated!"

jacksommersby said...

From Walter's zero-star review of "St. Elmo's Fire":

(Andie MacDowell, just obscenely awful)

Her "He'll freeze!" line is one of the worst-delivered ones in cinema history.

Bill C said...

Has there ever been a more inexplicable thriving career than Andie MacDowell's? Peter Weir and Soderbergh both came close to getting an actual performance out of her, but there's a reason they dubbed the shit out of her in GREYSTOKE. *Never* understood how people were able to overlook the black hole she leaves at the centre of FOUR WEDDINGS.

tom n said...

i've always had weird ass taste in the coens.

1. no country for old men
2. miller's crossing
3. the man who wasn't there
4. blood simple
5. barton fink
6. fargo
7. burn after reading
8. the hudsucker proxy
9. raising arizona
10. the big lebowski
11. o brother where art thou

DaveA said...

tied for 1-3: Barton Fink, Miller's Crossing, Fargo

tied for 4-6: Blood Simple, The Man Who Wasn't There, No Country For Old Men

tied for 7-10: Burn After Reading, The Big Lebowski, O Brother Where Art Thou, Raising Arizona

Bottom: The Hudsucker Proxy, Intolerable Cruelty

--- big gap ---

Way down: Ladykillers

I think that The Man Who Wasn't There may be their most sophisticated, but I just cannot get myself to love it.

Dan said...

In Amsterdam, the Netherlands, WTWTA won't be out until January. Oh, the sweet torture of extended anticipation...

As for the Coens, I'll have to follow DaveA's approach:

tied for 1-3:
Miller's Crossing, No Country for Old Men, Fargo

tied for 4-6:
The Big Lebowski, The Man Who Wasn't There, Barton Fink

tied for 7-10:
Raising Arizona, Blood Simple, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Burn After Reading

11. The Hudsucker Proxy
12. Intolerable Cruelty

28. The Ladykillers (their only film without substantially redeeming features)

Alex Jackson said...

1. Fargo
2. No Country for Old Men
3. Blood Simple
4. The Hudsucker Proxy
5. The Man Who Wasn't There
6. The Big Lebowski
7. O Brother Where Art Thou
8. Raising Arizona
9. Barton Fink
10. Burn After Reading
11. Intolerable Cruelty
12. Miller's Crossing

Yeah, sorry. Miller's Crossing just leaves me cold. It's the only one of their films that I don't like. I haven't seen The Ladykillers. Or A Serious Man for that matter.

Kyle Puetz said...

1. Fargo
2. No Country for Old Men
3. Barton Fink
4. Miller's Crossing
5. The Man Who Wasn't There
6. Blood Simple
7. The Big Lebowski
8. Burn After Reading
9. Raising Arizona
10. O Brother Where Art Thou
11. Intolerable Cruelty

Results at the end of the polls remind me of the Pixar one a little. Intolerable Cruelty is The Bug's Life of the Coen's oeuvre -- solid but unremarkable lark that nobody can get too enthused about -- and it looks as though The Ladykillers is their Cars.

Bill C said...

I guess I should answer my own poll, but really so many of these would be tied for #2.

1. Miller's Crossing
2. Barton Fink
3. Raising Arizona
4. Fargo
5. Blood Simple (VHS & LaserDisc version)
6. The Hudsucker Proxy
7. No Country for Old Men
8. The Big Lebowski
9. The Man Who Wasn't There
10. O Brother, Where Art Thou
11. Intolerable Cruelty
12. Burn After Reading
13. The Ladykillers
14. That segment from PARIS, JE T'AIME

If they'd made it, I guarantee TO THE WHITE SEA would've cracked the Top 5. I truly mourn the death of that project.

Kyle Puetz said...

Wow, Bill. Seeing as No Country topped your best-of list in a year that, by my reckoning at least, was a wholly fantastic year for film, I'm surprised by No Country's presence in the middle of your pack. Which, I guess, is just a testament to the impossibly consistent output of the Coens.

corym said...

It's nice to see The Hudsucker Proxy so high on a few of these lists. That's an underrated gem.

Bill C said...

NO COUNTRY is like THE DEPARTED for me: it faces less stiff competition against its contemporaries than it does against its own directors' filmography.

Bill C said...

Speaking of Coens/A SERIOUS MAN, I hope everybody noticed that we've got an interview with that film's star, Michael Stuhlbarg, up at the mothersite, courtesy Ian Pugh - http://filmfreakcentral.net/notes/mstuhlbarginterview.htm

DaveA said...

Re Office: Latest episode was indeed pretty bad. I don't know if this


already made the rounds; it hit Slashdot lately, and despite that I found it to be an entertaining read.

Bemis said...

1. Fargo
2. Miller's Crossing
3. No Country For Old Men
4. The Big Lebowski
5. Raising Arizona (probably the first movie I ever saw where I was aware of how a camera can tell a story)
6. Barton Fink
7. Blood Simple (agreed on the VHS and laserdisc version, Bill)
8. The Man Who Wasn't There
9. Burn After Reading
10. The Hudsucker Proxy
11. O Brother Where Art Thou
12. The Ladykillers
13. Intolerable Cruelty

1-7 are masterpieces, Intolerable Cruelty is the only one I dislike. Why would the Coens try to be Barry Sonenfeld?

O'JohnLandis said...

1. No Country for Old Men
2. Miller's Crossing
3. The Big Lebowski

4. Fargo
5. Barton Fink
6. The Hudsucker Proxy
7. O Brother, Where Art Thou
8. The Man Who Wasn't There

9. Burn After Reading
10. Raising Arizona
11. Intolerable Cruelty
12. Blood Simple

13. The Ladykillers


I wish the wedding episode of The Office had been an entire season--the rehearsal toast's shock twist completely kicked my ass. I didn't think they would subvert such a perfect emotional moment, but they did, and in a spectacular way. I was cough-laughing for some time and had to pause.

As bad as Thursday's episode was, it still didn't sting as much as Michael and Dwight conspiring to destroy the small, family paper company.


I think the key to Andie MacDowell is Groundhog Day. She's pretty and she's a nice person, and if you've fucked up your life, she's a good consolation prize.

Dan said...

Re: the Cirque du Freak review; it's even more unforgivable that the film doesn't really get started, seeing as it apparently condensed the plot of THREE books into this ONE movie!

Oh well, another literary saga fails on the big screen, joining His Dark Materials (such a terrible pity they fucked up that material), and Lemony Snickett.

m-adkins said...

1. Miller's Crossing
2. Raising Arizona
3. The Big Lebowski
4. O Brother Where Art Thou
5. The Hudsucker Proxy
6. Fargo
7. No Country For Old Men
8. Blood Simple
9. Barton Fink

-- & in no particular order:
The Man Who Wasn't There
Burn After Reading
The Ladykillers
Intolerable Cruelty

Si said...

Are we going to see a review of "An Education" here any time soon? Just curious...

Bill C said...

@Si: Honestly, I have no idea.

Jefferson Robbins said...

Anybody read the interview with Armond White at The L Magazine? His thesis on 1962 as a banner hear for film intrigues me, so I guess I'll have to explore his NYFCC playbill at home over time. Also, it's nice to read something that asks a noted curmudgeon to defend his views.

Jefferson Robbins said...

Also, this: Mary Woronov, actress, writer.

Samantha K said...

I hope someone will come out with Halloween costumes based on the characters in WTWTA before the 31st... it would be awesome to dress up as Carol

Seattle Jeff said...

1. The Ladykillers
2. Intolerable Cruelty
3. The Man Who Wasn't There
4. Burn After Reading
5. O Brother, Where Art Thou
6. The Hudsucker Proxy
7. Barton Fink
8. Raising Arizona
9. Blood Simple
10. The Big Lebowski
11. Fargo
12. Miller's Crossing
13. No Country for Old Men

That's my list - Armond White style!

Dan said...

Just wanted to mention; I ordered the Superannual today via Amazon US and it cost me £24 for international delivery (although I have to wait a month) You can get it quicker, but it costs more obviously. Just wanted to put that out there for other British readers thinking of buying it.

Bill C said...

Ouch, Dan, I'm really sorry about that. Was that actually cheaper than Lulu's rate? I sent one to Australia for $22 shipping, which is like £12, no?

Anyway, I think it's really unfair that our International readers are being stung like this, and I wish there was something I could do. Amazon UK may pick it up, but we're not sure yet.

Dan said...

I can't remember offhand. I think it's comparable. Oh well, too late now, I ordered. Mainly because I trust Amazon US, having ordered a blu-ray with them before now. If there is a difference, it's negligible. I'd have thought Amazon UK would stock it, if it proves popular enough.

... but there IS something you can do, Bill -- you can post the 60 new reviews online ;-) Or e-mail me them, I won't mind.

Michelob Mike said...

1. No Country for Old Men
2. Miller's Crossing
3. The Man Who Wasn't There
4. Barton Fink
5. Blood Simple
6. Fargo
7. The Big Lebowski
8. The Hudsucker Proxy

I think that's all I've seen by them