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Coen Brothers: Essential Movies

The sbcltr movie list that will introduce you to the brilliant world of Coen brothers

Get ready for a weekend binge that’ll blow your mind. Ever since news broke out two days ago, that the Coen Brothers (Joel and Ethan) are working on a flick titled – Dark Net – a Fox film project about the Dark Web and its seedy economy, interest in them has doubled and understandably so. Known for their penchant for losers and the melancholy of modernity, these writers and sometime directors have given the world some of the greatest classics in 21st century movie history. If you haven’t heard of them, don’t despair. Here’s the sbcltr list of six Coen essentials to watch this weekend.

A Serious Man
Written, directed, edited and produced by the men themselves, this 2009 black comedy focuses on the life of Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlbarg), a Jewish man who sees his life fall-apart over the course of multiple random incidents. The more he tries to make sense of what is happening, the more he questions his faith. The movie is an elaborate insight into how we as humans, tend to look for meaning in everything.
The Big Lebowski
This 1998 crime-comedy is as funny, as it is sharp filmmaking. No matter how many times you this film, it gets smarter every time. It is the story of “The Dude” Lebowski, who is mistaken for millionaire Lebowski and seeks restitution for his ruined rug and enlists his bowling buddies to help get it. Thoroughly entertaining would be an understatement for the film.

Barton Fink
This 1991 film was written by the brothers when they were struggling with Hollywood and offers a harsh insight into the world of mainstream filmmaking. Set in 1941, an intellectual New York playwright Barton Fink (John Turturro) who accepts an offer to write movie scripts in L.A. He hits a writer’s block when required to do a B-movie script. His neighbour tries to help him, but he continues to struggle as a bizarre sequence of events distracts him.

No Country for Old Men
Set in rural Texas, this film follows welder and hunter, Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) who discovers a drug deal gone wrong, when he stumble upon several dead bodies. Instead of reporting the crime, Moss decides to take the two million dollars lying there. Trouble begins when psychopathic killer, Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem), goes looking for him and kills everything and everyone in the way of his pursuit as Moss struggles to keep ahead of him. One of their more recent films (2007) and unarguably their best work, this neo western stays close to the bleak novel by Cormac McCarthy.

O Brother, Where Art Thou
This 2000 film is a satire loosely based on Homer’s Odyssey. The title of the film is a reference to the 1941 film Sullivan’s Travels, in which the protagonist (a director) wants to film a fictional book about the Great Depression called O Brother, Where Art Thou? The movie is about the adventure of three convicts, Ulysses Everett McGill (George Clooney), Pete Hogwallop (John Turturro) and Delmar O’Donnel (Tim Blake Nelson) after they escape from a chain gang and set out to retrieve a supposed treasure Everett buried.

Inside Llewyn Davis
The best way to describe this movie is to call it an ode to art and the people who make it. Full of pathos, this movie will have you laughing through your tears as you get sucked into the in the life of a young singer as he navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961. The most refreshing thing about this movie is its ability to avoid all clichés. It is as intimate a portrait of life as it is honest.





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