Two master filmmakers working at the height of their skills, fronting a cast who perfectly nails each of their roles. What more could you want?
Should I see it?
Yes (with cautions)
Writers/Directors: Ethan and Joel Coen
Starring: Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, Tommy Lee Jones, Kelly Macdonald and Woody Harrelson
Rated R for strong graphic violence and language
The Coen Brothers are two of the best filmmakers of their generation. Each of their films is a unique experience, and even the duds (The Ladykillers, Intolerable Cruelty, The Hudsucker Proxy) still have moments and characters to recommend seeing them at least once. When one of their better works hit, it often far exceeds anything being made by their contemporaries. Regarding their better works, it is usually when they are dealing with simple people coping with a problem that often revolves around a crime (Raising Arizona, Fargo, The Big Lebowski, O Brother, Where Art Thou?). It is with these ordinary folk that the Coen’s are comfortable, and are free to fully explore their cinematic voices. They are also able to utilize these common men and women to expound on greater themes of morality, identity and modern masculinity.
LA Times critic Mary McNamara boldly announces that water is no longer wet all the while peeing down your leg and telling you it’s rain.
One has to marvel at the progressive mindset. If one set out to create a worldview founded in making every idea, every assertion swamped in cognitive dissonance, they could hardly do better. Case in point, LA Times critic Mary McNamara bold assertion that Hollywood doesn’t have a Leftist agenda, because, while they’re Leftist, gosh darn it, they’re just not Leftist enough. You can go ahead and ignore your eyes, ears and experience, the LA Times knows better. To buttress her assertion, she points out that since Hollywood is run by men, rich white men, it can’t be Leftist.
Outside of the historical tidbits she sprinkles in the article, as she explains the class disparity in America, she gets nearly everything else wrong.
She spends little time actually addressing her titular assertion:
How, many wondered, could the creators and arbiters of popular culture have been so out of step with the viewers and moviegoers they serve?
The answer is they weren’t and aren’t. Because there is no notion more thoroughly absurd than that of Hollywood’s liberal agenda.
I assume she avoids discussing agendas because there is scant evidence to support her claim. Her sole reason for claiming there isn’t a Leftist agenda at play is patently idiotic.
I hope to show people through my reviews how films and storytelling influence not only our culture but how we see ourselves and the world.
“Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more” – William Shakespeare, Henry V, Act III, Scene I
I started Good News Film Reviews in 2004 when the word ‘blog’ was still being defined for the general public. The point of the site at that time was to speak to a Christian audience about film in hopes of explaining how cinema works to influence our culture. Additionally, I wanted to prompt Christians to engage with culture in a productive way. It turns out, Christians aren’t big on cultural engagement.
In the decade that followed, I enjoyed a growing following, made new friends, published a book (You Are What You See: Watching Films Through a Christian Lens), was syndicated to sites such as FoxNews, Reuters, USAToday and The Chicago Sun-Times and was flown to Hollywood numerous times to speak to industry professionals about storytelling, the narrative structure and the Christian audience.
At my peak, I had a pace of 3-5 reviews a week. Translated into human numbers, that meant I had written over 1,000 film reviews – some with proper grammar and syntax. This pace couldn’t go on forever and by 2014 I was thoroughly spent. I stopped cold and told myself no more.
Since then, I have taken a break to write some scripts, apparently for my own amusement. I managed to co-produce/direct a film. It ended up being less than stellar, despite fantastic performances from my actors. Can you see the film? I won’t say. What I will say is that I’d like to raise a glass and thank the Lord for the power of pseudonyms.