According to Deadline, George Clooney is set to reteam with the Coen brothers on Suburbicon, a noir-drama penned by the sibling duo. It appears Clooney will be taking up the directorial reigns, the silver-haired silver screen star having already successfully overseen the making of other outings such as his beautifully crafted 2005 piece, Good Night, and Good Luck.
The screenplay has been languishing in the bowels of Hollywood, or Coen-wood, for at least a decade — Empire reported on Clooney’s potential involvement as far back as 10 years ago — but now the stars seem to have finally aligned for the trio. Clooney and the Coens have been working together since 2000 when the actor starred in O Brother, Where Art Thou?, an uproarious Depression Era take on Homer’s Odyssey. Only the Coen brothers could conceive a Depression Era take on Homer’s Odyssey. Their collaborative portfolio portfolio also includes Intolerably Cruelty (2003) and Burn After Reading (2008).
Despite the lengthy waiting period, details remain fairly sketchy regarding Suburbicon’s plot, though I suspect it’ll have something to do with crazed unicorns wreaking havoc on a quiet suburban locale. Whatever the case may be, should Deadline’s report come to fruition Clooney will certainly be hoping for a more positive critical outcome than that fostered by his last directorial product, The Monuments Men.
Joel and Ethan will direct Clooney again in their latest upcoming venture Hail, Caesar! which is set for release early next year and could figure prominently throughout awards season. The film harkens back to 1950s Hollywood and will see Clooney star as big name actor Baird Whitlock who is kidnapped mid-production. Fixer Josh Brolin is the man called in to solve the should-be entertaining mystery. Scarlett Johansson, Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill, and Frances McDormand are among a host of other actors involved.
If the trailer is anything to go by Hail, Caesar! will be another gloriously shot brash comedy with sardonic skin. In other words, one you ought not to miss. Channing Tatum is playing an actor playing a sailor — look at that grin for goodness’ sake!
Check out my list of five loveable idiots, plucked straight from cinema’s comedy museum! You know, those endearing folks who are a bit worse for wear in the common sense department? And thanks again to Cara for welcoming me into her terrific April Fools series.
Happy Friday, you beautiful people! That’s right–you’re beautiful. Know what else is beautiful? A nice list of lovable idiots. Lucky for you, I have such a list for you from Adam of Consumed by Film. That’s right, Adam took some time away from his excellent movie and TV review site (that you should certainly follow) to share his own list of April Fools. Let’s check out his picks!
Release Date: April 5th, 1996 (US); May 31st, 1996 (UK)
Genre: Crime; Drama; Thriller
Starring: Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, William H. Macy
A jack of all trades, and perhaps one of the best. Shuttled forth by a bleakly comedic narrative, Fargo occasionally amps up the awkward, tie-loosening tension before ploughing right and left into a caveat of blunt criminality. There’s an inherently dramatic element too, the underbelly of bumbling luck and the ultimate tale of karma. The Coen brothers boast a unique style; precise in their crafting and often ironic in their delivery, a deliriously absorbing mantra that stretches far and wide here. Characters gargle seemingly innocuous lines of dialogue, yet a nonchalant poise often demands bouts of laughter. And therein lies the film’s most admirable quality: it makes you guffaw through moments of sadism, but never denounces you for doing so. The sibling duo at the helm aren’t overly serious in their direction (only when required), yet still manage to divulge a genuine sense of authentic story-telling. In Fargo, every scene holds a certain weight and although engagement with the particulars is at the viewer’s discretion, there’s never a sense of an overbearing burden. Yaaaa.
In Fargo, North Dakota, police chief Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand) — a woman as cheerful as she is pregnant — is called to a road-side accident harbouring two casualties. Only it’s not an accident, and is instead part of a series of unfortunate events set alight by car salesman Gerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy) in an attempt to recoup much needed cash for his family. A master plan that would garner appreciation from the likes of John Kramer, Gerry hires a pair of quintessential henchmen to kidnap his wife and subsequently demand an $80,000 ransom, the spoils of which would be shared between the trio of plotters. Only Gerry is deviously untangling his own personal puppeteering strings, ready to juggle them against his father-in-law in an attempt to gain one million dollars from the extravaganza. In Gerry’s anxiety-plastered eyes, family comes first… and last.
There’s an ever-present aura that wilfully jaunts around any Coen film. It’s easy to spot, deliberate in implementation but astutely subtle as to never degrade proceedings. Drawing upon the experience of 16 previous films, seeing the words “Joel and Ethan Coen” sprawl across the screen nowadays prompts an intrinsic knowledge that meticulous sardonicism will soon be lingering. Released when their three-decade-old filmmaking odyssey was eighteen years younger, Fargo might just be the sibling duo’s most complete diamond of irony. Some films might be more wholesome in their flippant ideology, for example O Brother, Where Art Thou? and its caper-esque comedic quality, whereas others will undoubtedly offer greater absorbency through numerous interpretations and delightful tones, such as Inside Llewyn Davis. You’d be hard-pressed to come up with another Coen creation as genre-splicing as Fargo though, for this conglomeration of classification is what cinema is all about.
In a Minnesotan setting bitten by frost and populated with oddities constantly attempting to cover their innocuous tracks (“I don’t vouch for him”) the Coen brothers present and develop a number of wholly recognisable characters. Carl Showalter and Gaear Grimsrud are the absolute epitome of a caricature criminal partnership: the snivelling manipulator, out of his depth but armed with a motor mouth, and the dumb brute, purposeful only in violent outbursts or foul language. Gerry Lundegaard is the struggling businessman who ventures further into the ocean of uncertainty than he should, and is all the more blundering for it. His father-in-law Wade Gustafson has more money than patience, and decreases in accessibility when he knows his cash is at risk (“A lotta damn money” is one of the funniest gags). These characters are familiar, but they are also affectionately handled and escorted through a variety of tonal preoccupations, from comedy to crime to drama, constantly forging energy and slap-stick-like commotion. Our child-bearing detective Marge is the only figure who detours from the norm; noticeably pregnant, deliriously good-humoured and actively chasing murderers are three traits that do not often mesh together. This hodgepodge collection of characters coupled alongside a narrative that explodes with vibrancy, will refrain from giving you enough time to reflect on what just happened before it makes you ponder what’s going to happen next.
Yet, in spite of a growing sense of madness, the Coens always appear fully in control. Although the narrative is idiosyncratic — one minute a Steve Buscemi facial expression will have your jaw aching and the next a gunshot will leave you in shock — there is a point, a certain method, to all on-screen antics. The craziness of each character reflects the madness of his or her actions, prompting us to consider the length of a person’s sanity during tough times, whilst simultaneously sending out a nod towards the wondrous scope of cinema. Masterfully, the Coens develop a blunt and sadistic sense of realism amongst the hilarities. Fargo details karma as a rapid mule with more bite than the cold landscape from which it festers. In this tale of people playing people playing people, only the people face the consequences.
Shepherded by Roger Deakins’ icy cinematography, the arctic setting becomes a player of its own as it seeps into every other aspect of the film. Most characters endure cold minds. Lasting shots of mundaneness appear frozen to the screen. There’s a stiff lack of motivation, embodied emphatically by Marge’s police partner who can only conjure up phrases such as, “Watch your step Margie,” and, “You okay Margie?” as the heavily pregnant woman inspects dead bodies. Even the comedy is frosty — plotting and kidnapping is carried out in an atmosphere far more jovial than intense. Though, the funny buck stops at murder, an action presented more chillingly and viscerally than any other.
Regular Coen contributors Frances McDormand and Steve Buscemi are once again on hand and, alongside William H. Macy, deliver terrific performances. Humour is the common denominator for the trio, though the source varies. For McDormand, an incessant politeness in the face of violence and misnomer creates a peculiar dynamic. McDormand’s poise throughout sees Marge one step ahead of the game, even when she’s a day or two behind the others. Entirely the opposite, then, is Macy as the bumbling goof businessman Gerry. Gerry’s idiocy is built from a spectrum of nervous facial expressions and worried posturing; an unassured plight that sees no positive solution. He’s anxious to a T, but so dud-like that you sort of expect his ridiculous plan to come off in a spectacularly inadvertent fashion. The third of three great performances derives from the acting chops of Steve Buscemi, whose raging demeanour funds a big-mouthed little guy not far removed from Tommy DeVito. He relentlessly contradicts himself and thus withholds attracting seriousness, but it’s obvious that Buscemi is having a blast with the role and fun is infectious. It also helps that he gets many of the funniest quips.
The Coen brothers leave nothing to chance and inject Fargo with fastidious application — it’s no surprise that a wintry white landscape pronounces vivid red blood. The film will keep you guessing, is littered with humour and completely embraces the medium from which it thrives. In doing so, it even has the wherewithal to reflect on the outrageousness of its characters’ wrong-doings.
In the often correct words of Roger Ebert, “Films like Fargo are why I love the movies”.
Release Date: January 10th, 2014 (US); January 24th, 2014 (UK)
Genre: Drama; Music
Starring: Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake
The bumbling Llewyn Davis sits opposite Bud Grossman, a music mogul the folk singer has literally gone lengths to meet. Grossman, perhaps out of good grace rather than expectation, whispers he wants to hear something from “Inside Llewyn Davis”. You can see the toil in Llewyn’s guitar strumming hands, the plight in his aching voice and the desperation in his knowing eyes. Knowing, because he’s seen failure before. Always. It’s a powerful moment in a bleakly rich tale about a music churner on the periphery of a scene ready to erupt. Although Llewyn is often the source of his own downfall and despite his tendency to be a bit of an asshole, you campaign dearly for him. Out of sympathy? Sure. But also because Oscar Isaac plays the bedraggled artist to an absolute tee. And if not that, then it’s the harmonious melodies and captivating words emanating from Llewyn’s mouth that seal your approval. The Coen’s are back, and Inside Llewyn Davis is a drowsy doozy.
It’s 1961. Layered with frost and shrouded in the icy breath of its residents, New York’s Greenwich Village is a hotbed for folk music. Llewyn Davis is part of the emerging scene; at least he aspires to be, but his newest album hasn’t sold and his partner-in-song recently committed suicide. Lower on luck than money — and he’s pretty damn tight on both — Llewyn plays intermittently at the Gaslight Cafe before scrounging a stranger’s couch for the night. When we first meet him, the folk singer laments lyrics that ring true alongside his sombre existence (“Hang me, oh hang me”). Soon after Llewyn finds himself beat up in a dank and saturated alleyway, a physical and painful embodiment of his musical struggles.
And it gets worse before it gets worse again. His friends, perhaps the only ones, are moderately successful and on the rise. John (Justin Timberlake) and Jean (Carey Mulligan) are a singing duo, often Llewyn’s haven both financially and in shelter. Only now Jean is pregnant and unsure of the father, effectively severing any amiable ties between herself and the unfortunate Llewyn. The Gorfien’s also boast a couch familiar to Llewyn. This very mundane-yet-collapsing existence is exceedingly prevalent for the Welsh-named man. It’s a Coen trademark, harking back to one of their recent outings, A Serious Man. Llewyn and Larry (the serious man) are dealt similar misfortunes in life — it wouldn’t come as a total surprise to discover the pair are related, they certainly share a kindred luckless spirit. Just like in A Serious Man, arguably even more so, you find yourself hampering alongside the lead fortune-insulator in an attempt to lighten the load.
Oscar Isaac is outstanding in the lead role. His portrayal of Llewyn Davis does not boast charisma, rather that trait flares from everyone else around him. Instead he is controlled, restrained, almost as if the next bout of bad news is a given at any moment. His inhibitions outside performing — Llewyn’s depth is less than the milk bowl he feeds his temporary cat with — are the reason for the folk singer’s lack of progression (“not a star”; “there’s no money there”). Isaac’s expertly lacking in grandiose performance is probably the reason he was wrongly snubbed by the Academy, when in reality this is certainly one of the best performances of the year.
It’s his lack of success that bolsters Llewyn’s admirability. Near the beginning of his torrid week, he mistakenly-yet-not-unexpectedly lets the Gorfien’s cat out. His subsequent adventures alongside the furry animal are telling, and often mirror Llewyn’s personal detriments. Suddenly, there arrives a point where you question Llewyn’s reasoning for still carrying the cat, but realise the answer is glaringly obvious: as it clambers on his chest in the underground, the cat represents Llewyn’s own conflicts. It’s his proverbial ‘chip on the shoulder’ if you like. Llewyn can’t seem to grasp the advancing folk culture, perhaps because his mind is cramped full of other problems which demand facilitating — he takes a fee rather than royalties on the comical song “Please Mr. Kennedy”, one that he detests but records at the mercy of instant cash. Often the cat escapes Llewyn’s person yet he always finds and reclaims it, indicating Llewyn’s unconscious inability to let go and develop his own self. The singer is hemmed in — not just by tight corridors — and seemingly the only means of escape is the sole entrance that takes him directly back to where he began.
In one of their heated debates, Llewyn labels Jean a “careerist” not realising the folk scene only offers success via the semi-corporate route she is traversing. “Please Mr. Kennedy” is an upbeat, topical space tune illustrating the rise of its vocalist, whereas Llewyn often finds his own passion in singing songs about death (“If I Had Wings”); songs that draw you in and sell your ears a piece of Llewyn’s heart, but songs that indiscriminately distance themselves from commercial flourishing. When Llewyn sings the film bursts into life, ironically a tantalising life that Llewyn himself can’t live, one he only provide. Another Coen collaboration with T-Bone Burnett sizzles up a wonderfully echoing and at times heart-wrenching soundtrack, one that hums alongside a smoky moodiness. O Brother, Where Art Thou? is the benchmark, and Inside Llewyn Davis just about reaches it.
Oscar Isaac’s tremendous rendition aside, the film is bolstered by an array of eccentric, humorous and penchant performances. Justin Timberlake and Carey Mulligan exude a genuine chemistry, one that is sort of awkward in the wake of Llewyn, just as it should be. Coen stalwart John Goodman is back and funnier than ever (“You throw yourself off the Brooklyn Bridge!”) as a loudmouth, jazz musician who derides folk music. Military man by day folk artist by night, Stark Sands provides an early measure of off-beat hilarity at the beginning of Llewyn’s dourness, a comical thread that is never lost on the Coen’s and therefore one that often successfully prevails over the textured malaise.
From the second Llewyn Davis enters the viewer’s presence to the moment the viewer’s presence leaves the cinema, you find it exceedingly difficult to believe in his music success story. It’s not that you don’t want too, far from it. Rather, the Coen brothers have meticulously mechanised an early 1960s folk scene that blends the unfortunate with a frustration, an atmosphere Oscar Isaac’s Llewyn Davis gloomily basks in.
At the end of a tediously long journey that eventually renders itself pointless, Llewyn’s questioning of a beat poet’s escapades is met with a staunch, “Long story”. In a way it’s fitting because that long story, encased in uncertainty, hapless luck, and banality, is Llewyn’s life in a nutshell.
The Coen brothers’ next offering, Inside Llewyn Davis, sees Oscar Isaac orienteering through the New York folk music scene in the frosty winter of 1961, faced with numerous obstacles preventing him from becoming the musician he aspires to be. Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake and Coen brothers’ favourite John Goodman are also involved in the drama led by the somewhat unfamiliar Isaac, who has fleeted around various projects in minor roles over the last few years (such as Robin Hood, Drive and The Bourne Legacy) and who has yet to find himself in that stand-out role which would propel his career to the next level.
Perhaps this is the role.
Carey Mulligan has been fairly busy over the last few years, also having appeared in Drive (albeit in a more prominent role than Isaac), having conjured up a critically acclaimed performance in Shame during the same year, and having recently starred opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in Baz Luhrmann’s take on The Great Gatsby. I would rather not give too much away (even though the trailer does to an extent), but Mulligan is set to portray a character unlike her those we normally see from her. The ever-so-popular Justin Timberlake has just released his third studio album and appears to be combining his musical tendencies with his acting ability in this music-driven drama. Although we do not know too much about his character in Inside Llewyn Davis, Timberlake has more than proven to be a charismatic screen presence in the past, and therefore should fit in aptly in this instance. John Goodman always has something enjoyable to offer in each film he is a part of, be it as the enigmatic “Big Dan” in O Brother, Where Art Though? or more recently, as Hollywood make-up artist John Chambers in Argo, and this time around appears to be no different.
Inside Llewyn Davis, scheduled for a nationwide release in the United States on December 20th, before an agonising months wait for us in the United Kingdom, was screened at the 66th annual Cannes Film Festival in France back in May, where it received mostly positive reviews from critics. The film is being heralded as one in a similar vein to O Brother, Where Art Thou?, staunchly comedic (true to the Coen legacy), yet respectful to the era it faithfully depicts, and melancholic by way of its musical demeanour. In fact, the soundtrack to the film is one influenced by the same man who worked on O Brother’s soundtrack, T-Bone Burnett, suggesting a similar tone to the one provided in the Coens’ 2000 comedy starring George Clooney. Mumford & Sons frontman (and Carey Mulligan’s husband) Marcus Mumford is even set to chip in with a number of songs. Music has always played a significant role in Coen films, therefore I have high expectations for the music set to be provided by Inside Llewyn Davis — it is a film galvanised by music, at the end of the day.
The Cannes Film Festival has been one which has produced many highs for the Coen brothers over the last twenty years, with eight Palme d’Or nominations attached to their films, one of which was a win (Barton Fink in 1991). Even though Inside Llewyn Davis did not win this year, that is not to say it is a step down for the Coens, but rather that the festival went for something different (a lot different, in actual fact — look up Blue Is the Warmest Colour). Inside Llewyn Davis is even being tipped as one to look out for when the awards season comes back around early next year, although this is hardly surprising considering the brother’s films tend to be in the mix as soon as they are released.
I have been looking forward to this one since it was announced months ago, even raving about it on Twitter a few times. Being a big fan of Joel and Ethan, it is always intriguing to follow the progress of their upcoming films, and all of the indications point towards Inside Llewyn Davis being another winner from the pair: set to offer up a rich, mesmeric, humorous tale surrounding a week in one man’s journey towards gaining recognition in the New York music scene.
Below is the most recent trailer for Inside Llewyn Davis. It is fairly lengthy at over two and a half minutes long, and it gives a little more away than I have done here — much like most film trailers these days (Fast & Furious 6 literally gave away the whole film in its trailer) — but it by no means spoils anything. If you want to know a little more and see the characters in action, have a watch.
After spending most of the day trying to fix my laptop (and succeeding, evidently) I think some laughs are in order. Therefore, it is time for five funny comedies! Everybody loves to laugh and there are not many better places to go than the cinema to be prompted in that direction. I have been a fan of comedy for as long as I can remember and the great thing about the genre is that it does not discriminate — everybody enjoys it.
Anyway, let the hilarity ensue!
Johnny English (2003)
Released in 2003 and directed by Peter Howitt, Johnny English stars the incomparable Rowan Atkinson as the title character and the only British spy left in action after an attack on MI5. English — confident, yet lacking in the intelligence department — is tasked with finding the perpetrator of the attack and recovering the stolen Crown Jewels, with assistance from the far more capable Interpol Agent Lorna Campbell (Natalie Imbruglia).
This is the one of the first comedy films that I can remember watching and laughing uncontrollably at throughout. Rowan Atkinson really is a comedic genius, with everything from his facial expressions to his timing absolutely spot on here. The film acts as a sort of parody of James Bond, and Atkinson is exceedingly good at making the audience root for a rather unintelligent, out-of-depth British spy. There are a few particularly funny scenes (the sewers), but in general the film is bursting with laughs. Natalie Imbruglia does a fairly good job at portraying English’s more sensible partner, although the apparent romance between the two is a little far-fetched (I guess that is comedy though, right?). John Malkovich hits just about all the right notes as the villain of the piece with his dodgy French accent (it only adds to the humour) and sublime hair.
Johnny English does not attempt to take itself too seriously and this works in its favour as the film delivers barrels of laughs and entertainment.
Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
The first film to be nominated in all four acting categories at the Academy Awards since 1981, David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook stars Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper as recently widowed sex addict Tiffany Maxwell and bipolar Pat Solitano, respectively. After being released from a psychiatric ward, Pat’s primary aim is to reconcile with his ex-wife who wants nothing to do with him. Meanwhile, having just lost her husband Tiffany has her focus on an upcoming dance competition. After the two meet, they agree to help each other out with Tiffany ensuring Pat’s letters reach his ex-wife, as long as he partners Tiffany in her dance competition.
Well that was a long synopsis. The first thing to say here is Jennifer Lawrence is the greatest living being and Bradley Cooper have tremendous chemistry which more or less makes this film as good (and funny) as it is. They work so well together, in fact, that they are working together on another two future films, one of which David O. Russell is back directing. Lawrence is absolutely on fire at the moment (no pun intended) and can do wrong, and Cooper has put in a steady stream of really great performances in recent films such as, The Place Beyond the Pines and Limitless. It is no surprise, therefore, that the foundation of all things good about Silver Linings Playbook is in the dynamic between the duo. Combine that with a witty, energetic and sensitive script, along with magnificent supporting actors like Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver and you have a very funny but also very moving film.
Much has been said about this film’s careful depiction of mental illness and how positively it is put across on-screen, but purely in terms of comedy, Silver Linings Playbook is up there with the funniest films in recent years.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
Next, we take a trip back to 1986 where Ferris Bueller’s Day Off has just graced cinemas around the world, garnering much critical acclaim. Matthew Broderick stars as Ferris Bueller, a teenager who decides to take a day off school (imagine that?) with his girlfriend Sloane (Mia Sara) and best friend Cameron (Alan Ruck), where they go out and explore their freedom whilst simultaneously attempting to avoid the school principal in any way they can.
It took me a long time to get around to seeing this film, which is regrettable because it is one of the best feel-good comedies out there in my view. In terms of sheer laughs, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off probably is not the funniest on my list, but it certainly is the funnest. Be it the inventive ways the trio try to avoid the principal or the principal himself’s various ordeals throughout, this film grasps the ‘be positive’ attitude more than any other I have seen. Broderick, Sara and Ruck work well together in the three prominent roles, with Broderick keeping the audience on their toes as he breaks the fourth wall a number of times — this I thought was an interesting ploy used by director John Hughes and one which worked well. Jeffrey Jones is hilarious as the principal (or ‘Dean of Students’) and makes a more than adequate nemesis opposite the trio.
John Hughes has a brilliant knack for comedies and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is definitely one his more heartfelt, if not one of his funniest.
In Bruges (2008)
Directed by Martin McDonagh, In Bruges was released in cinemas back in 2008. It stars Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson as two Irish hitmen who are relocated to Bruges, Belgium after a hit goes wrong. But what they believe to be another job turns out to be something else entirely.
Since its release in 2008, In Bruges has gone on to claim cult status and is regarded as a classic by many. McDonagh’s brand of black comedy is in full force here, and both Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson deliver it with ease. The two leads are hilarious in their roles, playing off each other to great effect and both generating much empathy from the audience, particularly Farrell whose character, Ray, has played an accidental role in the murder of a child. McDonagh’s sense of direction comes through in abundance here, with each character playing an important part in the film and each scene executed with finesse. The Bruges setting is beautiful and greatly adds to the poetic nature of the script and the fairy tale aspect of the film. Although this is primarily a comedy, there are a few touching moments which take the film above and beyond the comedy genre. Ralph Fiennes and Clemence Poesy are both effective in, metaphorically, very different supporting roles — the former about order and conviction while the latter exudes freedom and new beginnings.
In his directorial debut, Martin McDonagh has created a gem in In Bruges: often hilarious and occasionally touching, this is a winner.
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
O Brother, Where Art Thou? opened in cinemas in 2000 and is directed by the Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan (although Ethan is uncredited). Set amid the Great Depression in 1930s America, it stars George Clooney, John Turturro and Tim Blake Nelson as three convicts — Ulysses, Pete and Delmar, respectively — who escape capture in order to search for hidden treasure, whilst evading a lawman who is in pursuit.
This is just fantastic. I first watched this in school (school finally comes up trumps) and have been a big fan ever since. The rural Mississippi setting creates a dusty, woody atmosphere (which is by no means a bad thing), shoving the three leads right into the heart of the hardships of the depression in 1930s America. With nothing but themselves and their brains — well, Ulysses’ brain — to keep them on the correct path, they must rely on trust and luck more than anything else. The Coen brothers, as I have mentioned in one of these blogs previously, have an exceptional eye for selecting locations to film and, more than any other film on this list, the dusty plains of rural Mississippi are unequivocally suited to the mood and script of O Brother, Where Art Thou? In terms of the script, it is witty, wacky and insightful and is delivered with nothing but enthusiasm by Clooney, Turturro and Nelson. Of course, I cannot forget about John Goodman, who is very funny playing the brash, obnoxious Bible salesman “Big Dan” Teague. There are plenty of laughs woven throughout the film and they all hit the mark without going overboard — this film is out there at times, but not too far out there. Finally, the soundtrack is rich and hugely satisfying, giving the film a nice twang.
O Brother, Where Art Thou? is another corker from the Coen brothers, full of quips and ambition. It is a triumph in filmmaking in my opinion.
Here are a few honourable mentions, films that I really like but not quite as much as the aforementioned five:
Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987) — The original comedy road trip film, Planes, Train and Automobiles sees Steve Martin and John Candy unwittingly team up in order to find a way home for Thanksgiving, but not without a few mishaps on the way.
American Pie (1999) — The raucous teen comedy which paved the way for more like it, the original American Pie is by far the funniest and probably the least offensive. You do not need to be offensive to be funny, right?
Bruce Almighty (2003) — Jim Carrey is in full comedic flow (facial expressions and all) in Bruce Almighty as he portrays an unlucky guy who is given God’s job for a week. Chaos, commence.
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004) — Alongside Johnny English, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story is one of my long-standing favourite comedy films, and it is still as funny now as it was back in 2004. Yes, it is still dodging those wrenches.
The Hangover (2009) — Hopefully Kermode won’t see this.