Discussion of movies and ReelThoughts topics

It is currently Thu Dec 18, 2014 12:10 am




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 85 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next
Coens. 
Author Message
Post Re: Coens.
majoraphasia wrote:
It doesn't indicate a lack of ideas but for some viewers, maybe just me and the one they call wisey, it isn't as impressive as an original screenplay being produced and coming off every bit as exceptional. It always struck me that the challenge in adapting a book wasn't as great as penning an original script. There are exceptions and, after all, the movie has to be told in a way far different than the book. But No Country For Old Men is a good example of sticking so close to the original source that the Coens could have done it with their hands behind their backs. This is to say nothing of the quality of the movie but... I don't know, their original work is more impressive.


Two things: first, as has been observed, the problem (if it's a problem) with adapting a book in your scenario is one of screenplay only; there are many parts to making a motion picture.

Second, I don't mean to be rude, but I have to wonder if you've both read the book and watched the film. The Coens made some very interesting narrative choices relative to the book, and from a direction standpoint, it stands with any film they've ever made. That wasn't a film that anyone could make with their hands tied behind their backs.

And, for the record, my problem with the film is with a deviation from the book, which in my mind changed the focus of the story in a subtle but critical way. I prefer the book, and while I think 'No Country for Old Men' is an excellent film, it is in some ways the most disappointing Coen film to me because of the changes they made. Even so, the changes they made were clearly conscious ones, and to me that film evidences a great amount of care and nurturing, if not a sensibility that dovetails with mine, on the part of the Coens.

In short, while it's certainly fair to be unmoved or unpersuaded by it, I personally think you have to have a pretty fundamental misunderstanding about film making to think that 'No Country for Old Men' is the work of people who have run out of ideas or who were phoning it in.


Fri Apr 10, 2009 12:42 pm
Post Re: Coens.
Tuco wrote:

Two things: first, as has been observed, the problem (if it's a problem) with adapting a book in your scenario is one of screenplay only; there are many parts to making a motion picture.


I've never made a film, written a screenplay, or made any claims that I have an intention to do one or the other. It would seem, and again: I've never made a movie or written a screenplay, that the director's choices at presenting the material represent their particular interpretation. Nothing controversial there but, with No Country, the tone of the movie was often similar to that of the book. The scoreless opening scenes of the film, and the pace at which things get moving, could have been pulled straight from the novel with only a couple of stage directions thrown in. Obviously this wasn't the case but, for me, the film felt familiar even before it kicked into gear.

Tuco wrote:
Second, I don't mean to be rude, but I have to wonder if you've both read the book and watched the film. The Coens made some very interesting narrative choices relative to the book, and from a direction standpoint, it stands with any film they've ever made. That wasn't a film that anyone could make with their hands tied behind their backs.


Two tips for anyone who finds themselves on the receiving end of a question that begins the following way: I don't mean to be rude, but...
The first tip is that know immediately that you're being challenged. And the second tip is to fight the urge to prove anything.

The book and movie aren't the same, no doubt. The screenplay is so superimposable upon the book's narrative that I wished, somewhere in the first 10 minutes of the movie, that I wished I had let more time pass between the book and movie. Some people say that "the book was better than the movie" or vice versa but, in this case, the two felt totally identical to me. I wasn't impressed with the book (mostly because McCarthy's style of writing felt like a hysterical parody of his previous works) and so it followed that I wasn't impressed with the movie. This is mostly my fault as I was running through a checklist as I watched it to make sure the strong points were carried through to the film.

A third tip: don't do what I just did.

Tuco wrote:

In short, while it's certainly fair to be unmoved or unpersuaded by it, I personally think you have to have a pretty fundamental misunderstanding about film making to think that 'No Country for Old Men' is the work of people who have run out of ideas or who were phoning it in.


For the record my general statement was far from facty: I prefer an original screenplay from the Coens but in no way did I claim they'd run out of ideas. That the movie was poetic, unmannered, and well done isn't a matter of contention with me but that the movie seemed easy for the Coens to do remains.


Fri Apr 10, 2009 8:11 pm
Post Re: Coens.
majoraphasia wrote:
I've never made a film, written a screenplay, or made any claims that I have an intention to do one or the other. It would seem, and again: I've never made a movie or written a screenplay, that the director's choices at presenting the material represent their particular interpretation. Nothing controversial there but, with No Country, the tone of the movie was often similar to that of the book. The scoreless opening scenes of the film, and the pace at which things get moving, could have been pulled straight from the novel with only a couple of stage directions thrown in. Obviously this wasn't the case but, for me, the film felt familiar even before it kicked into gear.


I suppose this is a pretty fundamental disagreement between us. Thinking of the vast array of failed attempts at faithful interpretations of books into film, I guess I don't see that it's any easier to adapt a book than to film any other screenplay.

The first Harry Potter film is an example I'd point to. It was very faithful to the source material, but it didn't capture (at least for me) any of the wonder or excitement. And, to be honest, I wasn't a huge fan of the books to begin with. They did have a charm, though, and I didn't feel any of it in the first two films. I haven't seen any others. Anyhow . . . I felt that the first Harry Potter films were very sterile, personally. There are others--'Affliction', Russell Banks' novel, made for a good, but not great film. Same with 'Housekeeping', Marilynne Robinson's wonderful novel. Personally, I'd view an effective adaptation of that book to be a monster filmmaking triumph.

Uh, back to my point, which is that all tried for faithful adaptation, and all feel short in some way (at least from where I'm sitting). So I guess I just don't see that there's some sort of storytelling inertia that propels a narrative from book form onto the screen wherein capturing the emotion and tone of the book just happens. It all takes a great deal of planning and effort. In fact, there is more than one director who has said it's the hardest job there is, because an original screenplay has more room in which to interpret, improvise, and just let things happen. A faithful book adaptation has no such room--there are expectations.

So, I suppose I agree with you that the first portions of 'No Country for Old Men' felt very much like the book. I personally regard that as a triumph.

As far as not being fond of the book, that explains your perspective a good deal more. I like it better than some of McCarthy's other stuff, but I can certainly understand your viewpoint. I was neither impressed nor put off by the prose of the book (unlike, say, 'Blood Meridian,' which I think is a tougher read but there are moments of power that 'No Country for Old Men' doesn't have); what I really liked about it was the character of Ed Tom Bell--I found his predicament and his self-image extremely moving. I personally thought the film sold him short relative to the book.

Quote:
Two tips for anyone who finds themselves on the receiving end of a question that begins the following way: I don't mean to be rude, but... The first tip is that know immediately that you're being challenged. And the second tip is to fight the urge to prove anything.


That's totally fair--I was challenging you. I hope you'll take me at my word that I was sincerely trying to do so without being rude about it. I probably conflated your viewpoint with others, and while I flat don't agree with you about adapting the book, I don't mean to come across like I think I have the definitive opinion on the matter.


Sat Apr 11, 2009 4:19 pm
Post Re: Coens.
For what it's worth I have seen most of their films:

Blood Simple 8
Raising Arizona 7
Miller's Crossing 9
Barton Fink 7
Hudsucker Proxy, The 8
Fargo 9
Big Lebowski, The 7
O Brother, Where Art Thou? 6
Man Who Wasn't There, The 9
Intolerable Cruelty 5
Ladykillers, The 6
No Country For Old Men 9
Burn After Reading 6

I don't think have ever made a bad film, which is quite something over 25 years
Fargo is probably their best
but if i could only see one more of their films again it would be Hudsucker Proxy
I need to rewatch El Duderino's fave movie again as it's been a while

Rob


Sat Apr 11, 2009 4:31 pm
Post Re: Coens.
In the top 1000 movie list they have five entries

288 Fargo
529 Barton Fink
602 Raising Arizona
764 Millers Crossing
777 Big Lebowski

Note that the list stops at 2003

Rob


Sat Apr 11, 2009 4:34 pm
Post Re: Coens.
The Coen's rule you:

Barton Fink
Fargo
The Big Lebowski
No Country for Old Men

and that's all you need.

But seriously, there are no other dudes in film today that I would rather meet than the Coen Brothers. Every film they make is so different from the one preceding it, I mean going from Fargo to The Big Lebowski and then from No Country for Old Men to Burn After Reading? I can't really think of a movie they have made that I don't at least respect, if not like. They aren't for everyone though and they are off-putting, but they're never dull.

P.S. The Big Lebowski definitely changed my life


Sun Apr 12, 2009 12:35 am
Post Re: Coens.
BANKA wrote:

But seriously, there are no other dudes in film today that I would rather meet than the Coen Brothers.



Hi there

Five years ago I had dinner with their producer in Las Vegas. We talked about their movies, them as individuals and their forthcoming projects.

From what he said, they are every bit as cool as their movies and their image suggests.

But he may be biased :-)

Rob


Sun Apr 12, 2009 1:05 am
Post Re: Coens.
Ate lunch with their producer, eh?

4) Robert Holloway
3) Coen Brothers producer
2) Brad Pitt (in Burn After Reading)
1) KEVIN BACON (with Brad Pitt in Sleepers)

There are four degrees of separation from Robert Holloway to Kevin Bacon, exactly as the astrologer foretold.

--

Anyhow, after reading all the love for The Big Lebowski it's clear that I was either born without the proper gene to appreciate the movie or I need to give it another shot. I'll drink plenty of coffee after getting 8 hours of sleep in order to prepare.


Sun Apr 12, 2009 3:30 am
Post Re: Coens.
majoraphasia wrote:
Anyhow, after reading all the love for The Big Lebowski it's clear that I was either born without the proper gene to appreciate the movie or I need to give it another shot. I'll drink plenty of coffee after getting 8 hours of sleep in order to prepare.


It's overrated, but certainly not anywhere near their worst. Points, however, for getting Tara Reid to say she'd suck your cock for $1k

no one has mentioned Crimewave yet, interestingly enough :)


Sun Apr 12, 2009 6:45 am
Post Re: Coens.
MrGuinness wrote:
It's overrated, but certainly not anywhere near their worst. Points, however, for getting Tara Reid to say she'd suck your cock for $1k



Man, the mind does reel. Part of me wants to say "You could probably get her to say it for a doughnut and a bag of sunflower seeds," but then the more sensible part of me decides to say it but frame it in this reply to make it seem like I don't actually have a part of me that comes up with material for Jay Leno for free on a movie forum.


Sun Apr 12, 2009 7:06 am
Post Re: Coens.
Robert Holloway wrote:
In the top 1000 movie list they have five entries

288 Fargo
529 Barton Fink
602 Raising Arizona
764 Millers Crossing
777 Big Lebowski

Note that the list stops at 2003

Rob


The same site has a section for the 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films where they have 3 more:

21. No Country for Old Men (2007)
213. O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
221. The Man Who Wasn't There (2001)

I'm surprised by the lack of love for O Brother, Where Art Thou?. Besides having one of the all time great titles, I also find it incredibly funny. Clooney is fabulous in this picture. I think it's his best work (yes, I've seen Syriana and Michael Clayton). Just witness his fake beard pulling while performing "Man of Constant Sorrow" or his insistence on getting some Dapper Dan. It probably doesn't hurt that the dialogue written for his character is on par with Casablanca and Pulp Fiction.

Throw in The Odyssey plot and the best soundtrack out of any Coen Bros film and you have one fine movie. 9/10.

Quote:
Say, any of you boys smithies? Or, if not smithies per se, were you otherwise trained in the metallurgic arts before straitened circumstances forced you into a life of aimless wanderin'?


Sun Apr 12, 2009 11:35 am
Post Re: Coens.
You can throw stats around all day about "critical success" and "acclamation" but that still doesn't sell the Coen's to me, not that it matters much haha. Fargo, O, Brother, and Miller's Crossing are WONDERFUL, but I feel, because of this, that other, less thought-out work of theirs is deemed equal to them (No Country, Burn After Reading).


Sun Apr 12, 2009 11:52 am
Post Re: Coens.
ed_metal_head wrote:

I'm surprised by the lack of love for O Brother, Where Art Thou?. Besides having one of the all time great titles, I also find it incredibly funny. Clooney is fabulous in this picture. I think it's his best work (yes, I've seen Syriana and Michael Clayton). Just witness his fake beard pulling while performing "Man of Constant Sorrow" or his insistence on getting some Dapper Dan. It probably doesn't hurt that the dialogue written for his character is on par with Casablanca and Pulp Fiction.


I can't stand O Brother cause that ending is so horrible, so painful that I can never watch that movie again...shame cause everything else was good.


Sun Apr 12, 2009 3:38 pm
Post Re: Coens.
Robert Holloway wrote:
BANKA wrote:

But seriously, there are no other dudes in film today that I would rather meet than the Coen Brothers.



Hi there

Five years ago I had dinner with their producer in Las Vegas. We talked about their movies, them as individuals and their forthcoming projects.

From what he said, they are every bit as cool as their movies and their image suggests.

But he may be biased :-)

Rob



You lucky bastard, they seem like they would be just awesome goofy awkward nerdy guys, my type of people. Awesome to hear that they really are cool, although it doesn't seem like they would try to cultivate an elaborate image to seem like awkward film geeks.


Sun Apr 12, 2009 5:25 pm
Post Re: Coens.
moulton4 wrote:
You can throw stats around all day about "critical success" and "acclamation" but that still doesn't sell the Coen's to me, not that it matters much haha. Fargo, O, Brother, and Miller's Crossing are WONDERFUL, but I feel, because of this, that other, less thought-out work of theirs is deemed equal to them (No Country, Burn After Reading).



You either get the Coens or you don't, plain and simple. They don't make movies for everyone, they make movies for a very specific type of film junkie. If you love them you love them, if you don't get them or like them, you probably never will.

Your qualms with No Country for Old Men probably have less to do with the Coens and more to do with Cormac McCarthy since the film follows the original novel practically to the "T". However, I am of the opinion that No Country for Old Men is probably the best film of the decade.


Sun Apr 12, 2009 5:33 pm
Post Re: Coens.
I have found "No Country" and "Fargo" to be getting tedious upon multiple viewings.

The Hudsucker Proxy will never, as it currently resides as the 4th greatest movie of all time to me.

O'Brother I have watched countless times and it holds up wonderfully.

I gotta be in the mood for Millers, Barton & Raising Arizona, but they are holding up well over the years.

I dont particularly like Lebowski, but I do seem to still watch it. Parts anyway. ;)

The rest arent really worth my time anymore, some weren't from the start. :geek:


Last edited by MrGuinness on Mon Apr 13, 2009 6:29 am, edited 1 time in total.



Sun Apr 12, 2009 9:33 pm
Post Re: Coens.
BANKA wrote:
moulton4 wrote:
You can throw stats around all day about "critical success" and "acclamation" but that still doesn't sell the Coen's to me, not that it matters much haha. Fargo, O, Brother, and Miller's Crossing are WONDERFUL, but I feel, because of this, that other, less thought-out work of theirs is deemed equal to them (No Country, Burn After Reading).



You either get the Coens or you don't, plain and simple. They don't make movies for everyone, they make movies for a very specific type of film junkie. If you love them you love them, if you don't get them or like them, you probably never will.

Your qualms with No Country for Old Men probably have less to do with the Coens and more to do with Cormac McCarthy since the film follows the original novel practically to the "T". However, I am of the opinion that No Country for Old Men is probably the best film of the decade.



I don't agree with your first section.
I do agree with your second.


Sun Apr 12, 2009 10:46 pm
Post Re: Coens.
Have a look at Clooney's dance while performing Constant Sorrow and tell me that's not gold:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfTUvFj6kvc


Mon Apr 13, 2009 10:43 am
Post Re: Coens.
moulton4 wrote:
BANKA wrote:
moulton4 wrote:
You can throw stats around all day about "critical success" and "acclamation" but that still doesn't sell the Coen's to me, not that it matters much haha. Fargo, O, Brother, and Miller's Crossing are WONDERFUL, but I feel, because of this, that other, less thought-out work of theirs is deemed equal to them (No Country, Burn After Reading).



You either get the Coens or you don't, plain and simple. They don't make movies for everyone, they make movies for a very specific type of film junkie. If you love them you love them, if you don't get them or like them, you probably never will.

Your qualms with No Country for Old Men probably have less to do with the Coens and more to do with Cormac McCarthy since the film follows the original novel practically to the "T". However, I am of the opinion that No Country for Old Men is probably the best film of the decade.



I don't agree with your first section.
I do agree with your second.


I don't think the first section is untrue, I know a lot of people who refuse to see Coen films because they are made by the Coens. My brothers both hate anything Coen, while I love almost everything they do. My mother loves Raising Arizona, but she can't stand anything else the Coen's have made. You can like a few films made by specific filmmakers, but that doesn't mean you like them or the majority of their work.

I think Woody Allen is extremely overrated I don't get what's so great about him and why everyone likes him, but I still think Annie Hall is one of the best romantic comedies ever. Similarly to you with the Coens, just because you like Fargo, Miller's Crossing, and O' Brother Where Art Thou doesn't mean you like the Coens or that you "get" them.


Mon Apr 13, 2009 12:27 pm
Post Re: Coens.
Just watched Miller's Crossing the other night. I thought it was entertaining, but I think expectations had been built up a little too high. I think my quota for watching Gabriel Bryne getting punched was met, then exceeded.

The three other Coens' movies I've missed are queued up on Netflix for me (Intolerable Cruelty, The Hudsucker Proxy and Blood Simple).


Mon Apr 13, 2009 1:49 pm
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 85 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Majestic-12 [Bot] and 5 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group.
Designed by Vjacheslav Trushkin for Free Forum/DivisionCore.
Translated by Xaphos © 2007, 2008, 2009 phpBB.fr