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Author Topic: Barton Fink (Coen Bros; 1991)  (Read 3379 times)

Lono

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Barton Fink (Coen Bros; 1991)
« on: 27 Nov 2007, 12:46 »

The Coen Bros, in Surrealoscope!

I watched this movie as part of a Coen-a-thon I've been attempting for the last few months.  I say "attempting" because in the town I live in, in Australia, we don't get much of a selection as regards movies/music/etc.  Not to complain, though.

It really is a wonderful movie, the strangest thing I've seen the Coens do.  The plot, set in the 40s before WWII, concerns a playwright from New York, a real intellectual who is attempting to bring culture and the arts to the "common man" (he goes on many socialist tinged rants in this movie).  After a successful play he's tapped by Hollywood to write a B-movie wrestling picture, and puts himself up in a hotel.  After writing one line of the script: boom, writer's block.  I won't spoil the whole story, but it's slightly reminscient of The Shining and similar in tone to David Lynch's Lost Highway. 

It's still got the Coens humour, though.

Any fans?
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TheFuriousWombat

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Re: Barton Fink (Coen Bros; 1991)
« Reply #1 on: 27 Nov 2007, 15:02 »

This movie is completely outstanding. John Turturro is stunningly good, John Goodman really is spectacular, the script is amazing (again, it is the Coen's who wrote it so I'm no surprised), photography is great. The movie is dark, funny and bizarre. Try to know as little about it as possible when you see it (not "if you see it." you have to see it so it's "when"). Not that the thing is full of twists and turns but everything about it has this darkly magical quality to it that is susceptible to ruin if you find out too much about the movie beforehand. I also love the ending. A lot. Some people bitch and moan about it not being very emotionally satisfying (a common complain with the Coen's, in fact) but I never agree. A truly remarkable movie, the only film in the history of the Canne Film Festival to win the much sought Palme d'OR (best film of the entire festival), best director and best actor. And I'll be damned if all three didn't deserve it.
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thepugs

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Re: Barton Fink (Coen Bros; 1991)
« Reply #2 on: 27 Nov 2007, 16:07 »

A wonderful film.  Goodman in particular was lots of fun.  I also loved the ending, though I can understand people's complaints.  I should go watch it again...
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lprkn

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Re: Barton Fink (Coen Bros; 1991)
« Reply #3 on: 27 Nov 2007, 17:39 »

I guess I might be bucking the trend here, but I could've gone my whole life without seeing this one, and I would've died happy.

Goodman was cool and all, but man, nothing happened. And not in a good way, in my opinion.
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Lono

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Re: Barton Fink (Coen Bros; 1991)
« Reply #4 on: 27 Nov 2007, 21:44 »

I suppose that's fair enough.  Different strokes, and all.  Not everybody has to like something.

It appealed to me to begin with due to my own wish of being a published writer and an intellectual, and I can very much identify with Fink's crumbling ideals and his frustration at not being able to write.  I guess.

Ending was awesome.  Are you in pictures?  Don't be silly.
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lprkn

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Re: Barton Fink (Coen Bros; 1991)
« Reply #5 on: 28 Nov 2007, 00:00 »

I guess I got what they were trying to get across, but to me it seemed like they took too long to say it.

Although this is coming from the guy who liked Solaris, so go figure.
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Lono

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Re: Barton Fink (Coen Bros; 1991)
« Reply #6 on: 28 Nov 2007, 04:03 »

It's funny, I felt the exact opposite.  I know where you're coming from, though, I couldn't stand the movie Michael Clayton or The New World for that exact reason.  Just freaking dragged on.
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TheFuriousWombat

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Re: Barton Fink (Coen Bros; 1991)
« Reply #7 on: 28 Nov 2007, 08:26 »

Sometimes a movie needs to be slow. Taking a while to get to the point and dragging its feet are, luckily, not the same thing. Take Melville's movies, for example. Le Circle Rouge, one of the best films ever made, is very slow. Long, long scenes go by with no dialog and little sound. It's a masterpiece nonetheless. As for The New World, well it's a Malick movie, so I'm not sure what you were expecting. I personally found that movie to be very beautiful. I liked it because of its pacing, not in spite of it. When it comes to Barton Fink, I don't even think of that as a slow movie. All the characters are so well written and acted and the overall feel of the film is so engaging that I didn't even notice or think about how long it had been until it ended. I guess I'm just a really big fan of the Coen's style. If anyone wants to see a faster paced, older Coen's movie, watch Miller's Crossing. It's a very good prohibition era gangster flick with terrific acting, a twisty storyline and some awesome shootouts. If you thought Barton Fink was too slow, stay away from Blood Simple and their newest movie.
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Lono

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Re: Barton Fink (Coen Bros; 1991)
« Reply #8 on: 28 Nov 2007, 13:55 »

I really do hate to say that I didn't like a film just for it's pacing--The New World was, really, beautiful, I still can't get over the wonderful visual symbolism of those iron clad halberd armed soldiers walking through all that golden wheat--but pacing is an issue for me, because I'm impatient.  It was also the first Malick I'd seen, but I've only heard good things.

Yeah, it's strange: I've always been a huge Melville fan.  On the flip side I've also been a huge crime fan, so I suppose my liking of his films might be a tad biased.

Back to the Coens, though.  I've never seen Blood Simple, it's one of those movies I always look for but never find.  I read the novel that No Country... was based on, and loved it, and I'm deadly excited about the movie.

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TheFuriousWombat

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Re: Barton Fink (Coen Bros; 1991)
« Reply #9 on: 28 Nov 2007, 14:50 »

If you liked the book, you'll probably like the movie. Oddly enough, the movie resembles the book not only in plot and dialog, but also in pacing. The movie watches, in some strange way, a lot like the book reads. I can't really explain it but I'm sure you'll understand what I mean once you see the movie. There's already a thread for it so I won't go into lots of detail but it's easily one of the most faithful and the best (I think) adaptation of a book to film I've ever seen.
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Johnny C

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Re: Barton Fink (Coen Bros; 1991)
« Reply #10 on: 28 Dec 2007, 09:13 »

Man.

I saw this movie much earlier this month. Magnificent film. Brilliant, offbeat and largely understated with the exception of the utterly insane third act. When the movie comes unhinged it's a marvel.

And holy shit, that last scene with Goodman!
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TheFuriousWombat

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Re: Barton Fink (Coen Bros; 1991)
« Reply #11 on: 28 Dec 2007, 09:14 »

If only the DVD menu screen didn't contain a spoiler...
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Shadows Collide

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Re: Barton Fink (Coen Bros; 1991)
« Reply #12 on: 30 Dec 2007, 20:49 »

Coen brothers films ranked by me in order of how much I loved them

1. The Big Lebowski
2. No Country for Old Men
3. Miller's Crossing
4. Barton Fink
5. Fargo

Haven't seen Raising Arizona or Blood Simple, but plan to.
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Ishotdanieljohnston

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Re: Barton Fink (Coen Bros; 1991)
« Reply #13 on: 04 Jan 2008, 06:37 »

This film is great. while can understand whoever it was who said that they didn't like it, I can hear what you're saying, nothing much does happen for most of it. But I think you were watching it wrong. It's one of those films you just have to get lost in, I found it hypnotising, and by the end I'd forgotten I was sitting in front of a T.V. I haven't seen any Coen brothers films in ages, I've seen most of them though and they're great. Still haven't seen No Country... cos no one will go see it with me, can't wait though.
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