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5th Meeting of the Reelviews Movie Club: Blood Simple 
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Post Re: 5th Meeting of the Reelviews Movie Club: Blood Simple
PeachyPete wrote:
What do you guys think of the final shot? The one with Loren starting at the underneath of the sink and the water dripping?


It perplexed me, to be perfectly honest. I would have preferred the movie end with Loren laughing on the floor and saying that he'll be sure to tell Marty

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Thu May 27, 2010 4:04 pm
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Post Re: 5th Meeting of the Reelviews Movie Club: Blood Simple
I know I'm new to the club, but...

I'm pretty much in-between James and Petey here. Nothing in storytelling bothers me more than when characters act in service of the plot and go against what we know about them (here's looking at you, The Mist). For that reason and the previously mentioned dullness of the leads, the film doesn't quite work for me. I do think that Walsh is quite good, though, even if his characterizations are pretty heavy handed (i.e. driving a "bug").

The film just hasn't aged well. It's hard to appreciate some of the genuine inventiveness 25 years after the fact. I think it's certainly an essential in the Coen's canon -- not all of their films are good, but they are the rare filmmakers who have truly evolved and gotten better at doing what they do (which is different than saying each of their films are better than the last).

An interesting companion to this is One False Move.


Thu May 27, 2010 4:07 pm
Post Re: 5th Meeting of the Reelviews Movie Club: Blood Simple
JamesKunz wrote:
JJoshay wrote:
, yet so densely woven together; not only do the characters not quite know who did what but neither do we, and the Coen's accomplish this all without cheating.


Yes we do. Marty wants Ray and Abby killed but Loren realizes it will be easier to kill Marty (while framing Abby) and thus fakes the murder of the lovers, mortally-wounding Marty after taking the money but accidentally leaving his cigarette lighter and a copy of the forged photos. Ray comes in a minute later and sees Abby's gun, thus assuming she killed Marty. He buries the evidence, including a still-breathing Marty, and goes promptly insane. Meanwhile Loren is desperate to cover his tracks and kills Ray, but get shot by Abby. All of this is made fairly explicit to the audience. It's not like The Big Sleep or anything.

It's not that the characters aren't developed "fully," it's that they're not developed in the slightest. Marty glowers a lot, Ray is blandness personified, and Abby is a black hole. I don't need their life histories, but jeez would a single hint as to their character be too much to ask for? In Fargo, Marge's husband Norm and Jerry's son Scotty are fairly minor characters, but they're each far, far more human than anyone in this film. Hell so is Vernon T. Waldrip in O Brother Where Art Thou, and he's purely a caricature. This may be an auspicious debut for the Coens-as-directors, but it certainly isn't for the Coens-as-writers


I didn't mean we come out of the film going "what the hell just happened?" I meant that the plot twists and turns around and we are consistently second guessing certain events. I'm still failing to see how Abby is a black hole and Ray is simply bland. I get Marty glowering the whole time although I don't feel his character was big enough that is took away from the experience. Abby and Ray just weren't as uninteresting for me as they were you.

JamesKunz wrote:
The place where I diverge from your viewpoint most strongly is the movie's plotting. As far as I'm concerned a lot of the plot's happenings require leaps of logic Ray's sudden decision to hide the body without a moment's hesitation always struck me as false or at least hurried. Loren's sniper antics might be dramatic but they don't suit his character or the plot. Where is he shooting from? Does he seem at all like the type of person who would snipe from rooftops? I don't think so. None of those are major complaints, and in a greater film I might not even mention them. But if you've got nothing in the way of characters you need a clockwork plot, and Blood Simple's doesn't make the grade.


Hiding the body hardly seems illogical to me, maybe a little stupid but not illogical. He believes the woman he's with killed her husband, what is he gonna do, call her in on a moments notice? Or simply leave the body for someone else to find? As for the sniper scene, what do you mean where is he shooting from? Its obviously the building across the way, as for whether this fits in with his personality or not, he struck me as the kind of guy who just got done what HE needed to get done as easily as possible. When he didn't believe Ray and Abby had evidence on them or knew about him, he just took Marty's money and killed him as opposed to them, nip the problem in the bud. By attempting to use the sniper rifle to kill the other two off, he would simply kill them then take care of the bodies afterwords, Abby just made this a little more difficult then planned.


Thu May 27, 2010 7:26 pm
Post Re: 5th Meeting of the Reelviews Movie Club: Blood Simple
PeachyPete wrote:
What do you guys think of the final shot? The one with Loren starting at the underneath of the sink and the water dripping?


Attachment:
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Great question...it's there because it probably signifies something, but...what?

This is probably totally wrong, but that black circular water lock off thingy reminded me of the spinning ceiling fan that they kept showing. I don't know what either signifies and they're probably not even related but that didn't stop me from associating the two.

Shade wrote:
I know I'm new to the club, but...

I'm pretty much in-between James and Petey here. Nothing in storytelling bothers me more than when characters act in service of the plot and go against what we know about them (here's looking at you, The Mist). For that reason and the previously mentioned dullness of the leads, the film doesn't quite work for me. I do think that Walsh is quite good, though, even if his characterizations are pretty heavy handed (i.e. driving a "bug").

The film just hasn't aged well. It's hard to appreciate some of the genuine inventiveness 25 years after the fact. I think it's certainly an essential in the Coen's canon -- not all of their films are good, but they are the rare filmmakers who have truly evolved and gotten better at doing what they do (which is different than saying each of their films are better than the last).

An interesting companion to this is One False Move.


Hey Shade, we're always glad for some extra thoughts. Thanks for the tip on One False Move. I'll keep an eye out.


Thu May 27, 2010 8:24 pm
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Post Re: 5th Meeting of the Reelviews Movie Club: Blood Simple
Shade wrote:
I know I'm new to the club, but...

I'm pretty much in-between James and Petey here. Nothing in storytelling bothers me more than when characters act in service of the plot and go against what we know about them (here's looking at you, The Mist). For that reason and the previously mentioned dullness of the leads, the film doesn't quite work for me. I do think that Walsh is quite good, though, even if his characterizations are pretty heavy handed (i.e. driving a "bug").

The film just hasn't aged well. It's hard to appreciate some of the genuine inventiveness 25 years after the fact. I think it's certainly an essential in the Coen's canon -- not all of their films are good, but they are the rare filmmakers who have truly evolved and gotten better at doing what they do (which is different than saying each of their films are better than the last).

An interesting companion to this is One False Move.


Glad to have some new blood here Shade, and doubly glad to have someone who's actually agreeing with me :). Did you like One False Move? I liked it well enough, but not to the tune of Ebert and Siskel's combined one million stars

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Thu May 27, 2010 9:40 pm
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Post Re: 5th Meeting of the Reelviews Movie Club: Blood Simple
JamesKunz wrote:
Glad to have some new blood here Shade, and doubly glad to have someone who's actually agreeing with me :). Did you like One False Move? I liked it well enough, but not to the tune of Ebert and Siskel's combined one million stars


I certainly liked it more than I liked Blood Simple -- a relatively solid 3/4 stars. I think it plays reasonably well today, especially Billy Bob and Paxton's characters. On the other hand, the preppy black killer and the opening sequence feel very early 90s. If one can overlook that, it's a very nice suspenseful drama -- not the edge-of-your-seat nail-biter some make it out to be. And the "surprise" isn't terribly surprising or necessary.

All of that said, I do think Siskel and Ebert went a bit overboard on it. To their credit, though, the film probably would never have been widely released or seen without their championing it.

Forgive my ignorance...how are the club's films being chosen? I'm sure this was mentioned in the original thread, sorry...just wondering. My impression was that it was only films James liked, that's why I'm confused.


Thu May 27, 2010 10:42 pm
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Post Re: 5th Meeting of the Reelviews Movie Club: Blood Simple
Shade wrote:
Forgive my ignorance...how are the club's films being chosen? I'm sure this was mentioned in the original thread, sorry...just wondering. My impression was that it was only films James liked, that's why I'm confused.


After every three movies I open up a thread in which people submits movies they want to see. I then pick three of them and set dates for watching them. It's certainly not only films I like--actually ideally it's films I haven't seen--or yeah, I wouldn't have selected Blood Simple.

Shade wrote:
I certainly liked it more than I liked Blood Simple -- a relatively solid 3/4 stars. I think it plays reasonably well today, especially Billy Bob and Paxton's characters. On the other hand, the preppy black killer and the opening sequence feel very early 90s. If one can overlook that, it's a very nice suspenseful drama -- not the edge-of-your-seat nail-biter some make it out to be. And the "surprise" isn't terribly surprising or necessary.

All of that said, I do think Siskel and Ebert went a bit overboard on it. To their credit, though, the film probably would never have been widely released or seen without their championing it.


I also gave One False Move a solid 3. Though I actually prefer the preppy black killer to Billy Bob Thornton, since we've seen a lot more loose cannon psychos like him than we have rational, intellectual black killers. I agree that it's cool Siskel and Ebert can champion movies like that though. Their approval of genre movies has always appealed to me

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Fri May 28, 2010 6:16 am
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Post Re: 5th Meeting of the Reelviews Movie Club: Blood Simple
Shade wrote:
I know I'm new to the club, but...

I'm pretty much in-between James and Petey here. Nothing in storytelling bothers me more than when characters act in service of the plot and go against what we know about them (here's looking at you, The Mist). For that reason and the previously mentioned dullness of the leads, the film doesn't quite work for me. I do think that Walsh is quite good, though, even if his characterizations are pretty heavy handed (i.e. driving a "bug").

The film just hasn't aged well. It's hard to appreciate some of the genuine inventiveness 25 years after the fact. I think it's certainly an essential in the Coen's canon -- not all of their films are good, but they are the rare filmmakers who have truly evolved and gotten better at doing what they do (which is different than saying each of their films are better than the last).

An interesting companion to this is One False Move.


Out of the nether regions of the forum (the basketball thread) steps...SHADE! Welcome, friend. I enjoy reading your movie related thoughts as much as I do your basketball related ones.

I took the "bug" references to Walsh's character as more of a joke than anything else. The yellow suit, the car he drives, etc. all point to him being a bug. He's gross and disgusting. I found it more of a funny nod and didn't take it too seriously. Fair criticism, I just found it more funny than anything.


Fri May 28, 2010 9:37 am
Post Re: 5th Meeting of the Reelviews Movie Club: Blood Simple
PeachyPete wrote:
I took the "bug" references to Walsh's character as more of a joke than anything else. The yellow suit, the car he drives, etc. all point to him being a bug. He's gross and disgusting. I found it more of a funny nod and didn't take it too seriously. Fair criticism, I just found it more funny than anything.


I'm inclined to agree with you. There's a lot of humour here, but it's subtle. Ebert provides a good example with the camera movement: the camera moves along the bar until it encounters a drunk blocking its way. It goes up, shoots over him and then goes back down.


Fri May 28, 2010 1:23 pm
Post Re: 5th Meeting of the Reelviews Movie Club: Blood Simple
Dudes...this is a very impressive first film. I think I'm agreeing with the Evenflowman when he says...

Quote:
Besides all of that, it is still arguably the most accomplished American film debut of the 1980's.


The story is fine. Like Pete said, simple story made complex by the lack of communication. Not only the lack of communication, but by these people not really being the smartest of people. I mean, c'mon Ray, is that how you're gonna clean up the blood? Yeah, let's have it drip all over the place. Dude, Loren, if you're gonna kill somebody, knowingly, keep all you shit on you. Don't put your damn lighter down on homeboy's desk. And make sure Marty puts the picture in the envelope. Kind of like, Ed the head said...

Quote:
Someone once made the point that the Coens use pretty much the same scenario for every one of their films: A protagonist (usually aloof) gets in way over his head.


I liked it. Not as much as other Coen films, but it is solid filmmaking.

And speaking of the filmmaking. What do you guys think about the style?

Again, really excellent work on their debut. The lighting, shots, the framing, and some of the transitions, I thought, were pretty awesome. Example...Meurice stopping the answering machine turns into Ray dabbing blood on the backseat, or Abby falling back onto her bed.

More in a bit...


Fri May 28, 2010 2:47 pm
Post Re: 5th Meeting of the Reelviews Movie Club: Blood Simple
ram1312 wrote:
Again, really excellent work on their debut. The lighting, shots, the framing, and some of the transitions, I thought, were pretty awesome. Example...Meurice stopping the answering machine turns into Ray dabbing blood on the backseat, or Abby falling back onto her bed.

More in a bit...


Loved the style. There's one thing I'm not sure about though. (Very) occasionally some of the style seemed excessive and a little showy. That's not uncommon with a first effort. However, there is the possibility that they knew exactly what they were doing and it's showy for a reason. I don't know...


Sun May 30, 2010 11:42 am
Post Re: 5th Meeting of the Reelviews Movie Club: Blood Simple
When I first encountered Blood Simple, I had just absorbed Miller's Crossing , and was looking for another Coen film. It has been many years from that first viewing until the second this evening and many things have become clear. Most glaringly to me is that the brothers Coen have indeed come miles from where they started out. This film seems somewhat polarizing in the club and you know what, I think that's a good thing. For me, that's kind of what I hoped for with this little endeavor rather than all of us sitting around spouting great things about a film. In fact, it's why I nominated this particular film truth be told because I knew it would spark some debate. So, on to my thoughts....

---Yes, this is most certainly not among the upper tier of Coen films but it did show us that there was some talent there.
---The best thing about the film is, without a doubt, Emmet Walsh who's character i feel they betray with the whole sniper sequence. McDormand was pretty much window dressing here and I was disappointed in her for the only time I can immediately recall. Getz was just a body and added nothing to the film.
---The final scene is very Coen like, sparking some debate over it's meaning if there was one meant at all.
---The plot was fairly simple and was not advanced all that interestingly.
---The second best thing was indeed atmosphere. It had that "Coen feel" to it and that was a good thing.

Overall, this film is not a great one. It does however fit within the Coen universe well and gives us a glimpse as to the world from which this duo likes to tell it's tales. Over time they would obviously improve upon their craft but this is worth seeing if for nothing else than for completism. 6/10


Sun May 30, 2010 11:21 pm
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Post Re: 5th Meeting of the Reelviews Movie Club: Blood Simple
bob harris wrote:
Over time they would obviously improve upon their craft but this is worth seeing if for nothing else than for completism.


Actually that's a mentality I'm trying desperately to shake myself of, since I have no desire whatever to watch Shrek 4 or The Trouble with Harry. It should be mentioned, however, that only last November I watched every Dirty Harry movie. Damn you completism!

Glad to see someone else agrees about Getz and McDormand being blah and the sniper sequence being ridiculous, albeit dramatic.

I need to see Miller's Crossing, because chronologically the first Coens brothers film I really like is Fargo.

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Mon May 31, 2010 9:38 am
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Post Re: 5th Meeting of the Reelviews Movie Club: Blood Simple
[quote="JamesKunz"

I need to see Miller's Crossing, because chronologically the first Coens brothers film I really like is Fargo.[/quote]


You should definitely check out Miller's Crossing. A far superior film to this one and one of my personal favorites.


Mon May 31, 2010 1:38 pm
Post Re: 5th Meeting of the Reelviews Movie Club: Blood Simple
Miller's Crossing may be my favorite Coen bros. movie.


Mon May 31, 2010 8:07 pm
Post Re: 5th Meeting of the Reelviews Movie Club: Blood Simple
I thought that Miller's Crossing was actually middle of the road Coens, nothing to special. About the same level as Blood Simple a film or two higher.


Mon May 31, 2010 8:45 pm
Post Re: 5th Meeting of the Reelviews Movie Club: Blood Simple
Dudes...I mean to add so much more here.

Last Friday was the last day at school, so that officially brings me down to about 2% internet time compared to when I'm at work. Not only that, the next day after work I get all coughy and feverish and crap and it's not until Wednesday that I find out I have a major upper respiratory infection. WTF man! When work ends?!

Anyways...a couple things I wanted to add.

Where else did we see a private dick following someone in VW Bug to much greater (comedic) effect in a Coen film?

And...

Where else did we see someone try to drag a body to a vehicle while oncoming traffic is approaching in a Coen film?

Is this something that you guys have seen before? Directors do things in their first films and then maybe try them again, to greater effect (to repeat my damn self) in later films?


Sat Jun 05, 2010 2:32 am
Post Re: 5th Meeting of the Reelviews Movie Club: Blood Simple
ram1312 wrote:
Dudes...I mean to add so much more here.

Last Friday was the last day at school, so that officially brings me down to about 2% internet time compared to when I'm at work. Not only that, the next day after work I get all coughy and feverish and crap and it's not until Wednesday that I find out I have a major upper respiratory infection. WTF man! When work ends?!

Anyways...a couple things I wanted to add.

Where else did we see a private dick following someone in VW Bug to much greater (comedic) effect in a Coen film?

And...

Where else did we see someone try to drag a body to a vehicle while oncoming traffic is approaching in a Coen film?

Is this something that you guys have seen before? Directors do things in their first films and then maybe try them again, to greater effect (to repeat my damn self) in later films?


I can't recall the other dead body (what movie was it? Grrr...I'm racking my brain), but I know what you mean with the bug.

You're right, of course. Directors often try the same things when they've become more skilled.


Sat Jun 05, 2010 4:06 pm
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Post Re: 5th Meeting of the Reelviews Movie Club: Blood Simple
ram1312 wrote:
Where else did we see a private dick following someone in VW Bug to much greater (comedic) effect in a Coen film?

And...

Where else did we see someone try to drag a body to a vehicle while oncoming traffic is approaching in a Coen film?

Is this something that you guys have seen before? Directors do things in their first films and then maybe try them again, to greater effect (to repeat my damn self) in later films?


Oooh good points Ram. The body/traffic scenario is indeed used again in Fargo. Hitchcock did this sometimes too: if you watch The 39 Steps you see sequences used again in North by Northwest

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Sun Jun 06, 2010 9:57 am
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Post Re: 5th Meeting of the Reelviews Movie Club: Blood Simple
JamesKunz wrote:
Actually that's a mentality I'm trying desperately to shake myself of, since I have no desire whatever to watch Shrek 4 or The Trouble with Harry. It should be mentioned, however, that only last November I watched every Dirty Harry movie. Damn you completism!

Glad to see someone else agrees about Getz and McDormand being blah and the sniper sequence being ridiculous, albeit dramatic.

I need to see Miller's Crossing, because chronologically the first Coens brothers film I really like is Fargo.



A.) Yes, that is quite an unfortunate time-sink. After I scoffed at the first 'Harry', I decided to let the rest of the series slide - they won't rot if I don't watch them, immediately or ever.

B.) The sniper section of the sequence is ridiculous. When Walsh enters the apartment, however, the film enters arguably its most compelling sequence (neck to neck with the live burial for dramatic effect).

C.) 'Raising Arizona' counts as the first Coens film that I consider a truly fine piece of work. 'Blood Simple', by comparison, is an occasionally powerful and amateurishly extreme slice of film school.


Sun Jun 13, 2010 1:13 pm
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