The Coen Brothers

Raising Arizona

Year: 1987
Directed By: Joel and Ethan Coen
Written By: Joel and Ethan Coen

RYAN’S REVIEW

I actually remember catching clips from this movie as a kid in the 80s on HBO. Long before I ever knew who the Coen brothers were or before I ever saw the movie with an understanding eye. It’s an interesting thing I like to consider and a memory I smile on. It makes this movie more endearing to me in an odd way. I think this is a delightfully charming movie that has always gotten better with each viewing.

I’ve always thought of this movie as full on Coen. In that I mean that it has all their greatest qualities rolled into one. It is funny in an intelligent and interesting way with a script that could only come from the Coens. There are interesting characters and action sequences that come out of no where but manage to be both exciting and funny at the same time. I have always loved the Coens and own a great many of their films. This one happens to be one of my favorites yet I find it hard to really explain why. It’s such a smart yet silly movie. I think the dialogue is the reason for that. The characters we watch are generally stupid but they speak in humorous creativity with an amazing vocabulary.

There is good Nicolas Cage– and bad Nicolas Cage. These days we don’t seem to see much more than the bad version but in 1987 and as H.I. McDunnough Cage is really funny. He’s so simple yet well spoken that I find it hilarious. That hair that he has is awesome and he rocks it with a look of pure stupidity on his face that makes me laugh every time. When he goes back to armed robbery and steals the Huggies I think he is part of one of the greatest action sequences ever. One that only the Coens could have concocted. The panties hoes, the shooting, the chasing dogs, and then the ending series of turns that leads them back to the Huggies is a work of sequential harmony.

My favorite performance in this film actually goes to Holly Hunter though. She has such a great accent in this movie and I love her womanly dramatics. My favorite scene is when she is in the car with Nathan Jr. after the kidnapping and she suddenly screams out “I JUST LOVE HIM SO MUCH!!!!” as she begins to cry hysterically. I think it is a hilarious scene and I do think Holly Hunter manages to steal the screen often in this movie. Her accent is remarkable. I love her from the get go when she mentions how her “fi-ance” had left her. She is flawlessly funny in this movie.

The Coen’s have always had a knack for including an out of the ordinary character in their films that leaves an impression on the audience. In this movie that character is Leonard Smalls played by Randall “Tex” Cobb. Smalls is such a scary guy that H.I. considers him a demon formed right out of his own sin to hunt him down and punish him.  When Smalls proves to be an actual person with demands of his own I think it only serves to make him more badass. He is such an intimidating man but when he snatches the fly out of the air right in front of Nathan Arizona’s face it puts him over the top. Smalls as a character is one of the best things about this movie and I love what he brings to the story.

John Goodman has been a favorite of the Coen brothers going all the way back to this film in 1987 and continuing until today. This is not my favorite collaboration he has had with them but he is hilarious paired with William Forsythe as an escaped con who figures out his old buddy H.I. is hiding something. He is so great from beginning to end from breaking out of the prison in the rainstorm to the prison robbery with Nathan Jr. in tow. It really funny in the end when he and Forsythe simply crawl back into their hole to go back to prison.

This is a one of a kind movie made by some of the most interesting and talented film making brothers to ever get behind camera. As with most of their movies it offers wit that you won’t find anywhere else and a story that is unlike anything you have seen before. I love a movie that gets better the more you watch it and that is the case most of the time when you sit down to watch something made by the Coen brothers. This movie is without doubt no only worth your time but worth plenty of it and I would recommend it any day of the week to anyone.

 

NEXT MOVIE: Ransom (1996)

 

 

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No Country For Old Men

Year: 2007
Directed By: Joel and Ethan Coen
Written By: Joel and Ethan Coen (screenplay) Cormac McCarthy (novel)

RYAN’S REVIEW

2007 was a big year for the Coen brothers.  They won 4 Academy Awards for this film including Best Picture, Best Direction, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Editing.  This movie was a big hit with the Academy and it was a big hit with the audience as well.  Despite that I am not the biggest fan of it.  I think it is a great movie but I don’t feel like it was their best movie.  This seemed to be the time that everybody realized who the Coen brothers were and that bothered me on some level because I had long since been a big fan of their work.  As good as this movie is I still wouldn’t even categorize it as one of their top 5 films and I’m always annoyed when something becomes trendy and people suddenly understand something that had always been there had they taken the time to notice.

I also think this movie drags a bit too much at times.  I think it’s the lack of music that makes it feel so slow.  Music helps a movie move at a specific pace and the absence of any score in this one slows it down for me.  Tommy Lee Jones is incredible and I think he is great in this film but during one of his monologues later in the film I wanted to scratch my eyes out with boredom. The lack of a musical score did nothing to inhibit the movie and in truth the first time I saw it I was so enthralled I didn’t even notice until the second viewing.  I think though, once the shocks have been taken in that attempting to watch this movie again seems mundane.  I loved it the first time I saw it but the more I see it the less enthused I am about it.

So much of the strength of this film lies in the performance of Javier Bardem, and he was absolutely terrifying in the part.  When watching this movie for the first time you literally never know what he is going to do.  He is so intimidating and brutal.  It’s a role that deserved to win the Academy Award and it will live on forever as one of the baddest of the bad.  With his sudden ferocity and unique weapons Anton Chigurh ranks right up there with the greats like Bill the Butcher or Heath Ledger’s Joker. Nevertheless as much as I respect the Coen Brothers and appreciate the performance of Bardem I don’t love this bad guy or this movie.  I bought into it all 100% the first time I saw it but I find myself short of lasting love for the any of it and that is unusual for a Coen Brothers film. I’m a guy that loves a good bad guy and can’t get enough of him, but this bad guy hasn’t stood the test of time for me.  Anton Chigurh is a ruthless and capable hitman but he isn’t the badass boss type of bad guy that I usually find myself shamefully pulling for.

Around this the time this movie came out Josh Brolin suddenly seemed to be in everything. He was in a number of successful films in 2007 and he continues to be a player in the industry today.  I was puzzled seven years ago about it and I’m puzzled still how and why this Goonie suddenly popped into the limelight seemingly out of nowhere.  In 2007 he had significant roles in this film with the Coen Brothers, as well as Planet Terror with Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino, and American Gangster with Ridley Scott.  How did this happen so suddenly? These are big time directors all of a sudden casting important parts to a guy who had been around but hadn’t done anything significant for over twenty years.  I suppose I have to be wrong, I must have missed some performance that stood out among the rest.  I’m not really a fan of his work so I haven’t ever made any effort to research the matter but sometimes in the back of my mind this mystery needles at me.  If anybody knows the story behind Josh Brolin’s sudden rise into success please let me know.  I would love to satisfy that curiosity without having to actually do any digging to find out.  There is something about him I just don’t like and can’t quite put my finger on it.  He is well cast in this movie though because I think he fits the part perfectly.

I like what Woody Harrelson and Stephen Root bring to the film because they are both two of my favorites but there just isn’t enough of them in this one. Root has his typical pinch hit of a role but as usual he hits it out of the park.  You just never know where he is going to be but you can always trust that when you see him he will be doing great at whatever he is doing. As for Woody Harrelson you can just never have enough of him, and I feel like his part in this movie is altogether too short.

I have been too critical in this review and don’t get me wrong.  I think this is a great film, I’m not contesting that.  I just don’t particularly like it, anymore.  I felt then that it was a shame that most people came to know the Coen’s through this film because they already had a number of incredible films under their belt.  Despite their impressive filmography they weren’t well known by any means to the casual film watcher.  Their movies were never known in the past to be high grossing at the box office but they were often awarded for their work because despite the money it had made they were great films. When people talked about this movie I would tell them to go watch Fargo or The Big Lebowski. I would ask if they had ever seen Blood Simple or Raising Arizona.  I would mention classic scenes from The Ladykillers or Intolerable Cruelty. I know that I’m just an annoying know it all when it comes to films and I take stubborn stances on things from time to time but this one frustrated me.  I wanted people to know that they had been missing out on something great and that No Country for Old Men was only one of many incredible films from these two brothers.  They are smart filmmakers in a class all by themselves, and like many great filmmakers their movies don’t always reach the widest of audiences.  When things don’t involve explosions and special effects not enough people turn out to the theaters.

 

AMBER’S REVIEW

I think this film is incredibly original and extremely terrifying. It’s hard for me to watch a movie Javier Bardem is in because I think he just did such a great job of being a completely ruthless killer. So scary. Also, there was no music in this movie. That sounds like a crazy thing to do, and yet they did it, and it just adds to the creepiness of the whole thing. It takes a strong movie maker to make a decision like no music. I often think about the Coen Brothers and wonder if their creativity tank will ever dry up. I know that I get burned out doing creative stuff all the time, and it makes me wonder what their creative process is like. Wouldn’t that make an interesting documentary?

No_Country_for_Old_Men_poster

I like this poster. It’s very much in the Coen Brothers style. Most important…DO you see how freaking scary he looks? Those dead eyes. This poster is filled with symbolism. The mouth appears to be consuming the body of the running man, and this supports the movie’s tagline…”There are no clean getaways.” The stacked typography is also a symbol for this tagline, and the meaning of the movie. It is staggered and unsupported. It could potentially tumble at any moment. I love this poster and the idea it gives for what the movie is actually about. If you haven’t seen this film, do.

 

NEXT MOVIE: No Time for Sergeants (1958) 

The Ladykillers

Year: 2004
Directed By: Joel and Ethan Coen
Written By: Joel and Ethan Coen (screenplay), William Rose (original film)

RYAN’S REVIEW

Ah, the Coen Brothers.  Those genius filmmakers that can’t help but do something special each and every time they get behind the camera.  They have a range with no limits.  They can make the dynamic award winning films that prove they are masters of their art and then on the flipside they can make silly films that make us laugh with witty dialogue and intelligent jokes. With this movie about an elaborate heist they brought together an incredible cast of interesting characters and wrote an outstanding script for them to perform.

The cast as much as anything makes this film awesome.  Tom Hanks was still at the height of his career in 2004 although his star was beginning to fall.  In this movie he plays one of the most bizarre characters he ever has and delivered an incredible performance. He looks like Colonel Sanders and speaks with a great southern draw that comes across quite eloquently   He has very unique dialogue that is loaded with whit.   He has a very deep vocabulary and Hanks delivers these lines flawlessly.  It is probably one of my all-time favorite roles from Hanks.  I think the next greatest role has to go to J.K. Simmons, hands down.  Simmons has an incredibly funny quality about him and brings humor to everything he is in.  The Coen brothers recognize this talent and have used him multiple times.  He was great as the CIA director in Burn After Reading. I have always loved him in the role of Pancake, the man who “brought his bitch to the Waffle Hut.” I have always liked Marlon Wayans too but usually dislike most of his movies.  I thought he was awesome in this movie as the “proverbial inside man.” The rest of this ensemble is just as great.  The little known Tzi Ma barely needs to say anything at all in the film and still manages to be a badass.  I love when he is “even now exercising every effort” to catch that sneaky cat Pickles when it escapes again.  I have always been a big fan of Ryan Hurst but he plays the weakest role in this movie. It’s not his fault though, that is just the way the character was written.

The ensemble might be made up of terrific characters but it doesn’t stop there in the film.  Irma P. Hall is terrific and on point for the whole film.  Is there anything more intimidating in the world than an elderly strong minded black woman set in her ways? I love the scene that opens the film with her complaining about rap music and I also love when she continually slaps Marlon Wayans for his profanity, “sometimes it’s the only way.” Stephen Root is also on hand in this film and as I have said before, the man is simply incredible.  Root can literally do anything and I think he brings something great to each and every role he plays.  Also, I don’t know who plays the part and don’t think it is important enough to look up but the man who plays the choir leader in the church is awesome.  The suit, the hair, and the expression on his face as he directs the music is just too funny.  The Coen’s have quite a knack for finding actors like him to fill into small roles and it always serves them well.

This is not the greatest of the Coen Brothers’ movies and I don’t even know if it is one of their better ones but like all Coen Brother movies it offers unforgettable and incredible scenes that make it worth wild.  I absolutely love when the two gangsters try to rob the donut shop and get nowhere.  The General just stands there expressionless and smoking as these guys threaten him and demand “that donut money.” With a movement so quick the camera barely catches it he has incapacitated the one standing in front of him and their reaction to the action is hilarious.  One of the greatest intros to a character I have ever seen hands down. I love the scene in the Waffle Hut all around from Tom Hanks demanding waffles from the waitress to J.K. Simmons bringing “his bitch to the Waffle Hut.” They always write terrific scripts and I will say again that I think nearly everything Hanks says in the film is solid gold. I loved his response to the notion that Pancake would have a pretty good lawsuit if he decided to sue them over his finger. He takes a serious tone and different demeanor as a character to explain that they are part of a criminal enterprise and not subject to typical rules and regulations.

While I do love this movie and think that it is awesome I can’t even say it qualifies as one of the Coen Brothers better movies.  I have always felt it started to come apart in the end somehow.  After Pancake is dispatched the movie starts to lose my interest a bit.  It still has its moments afterwards but it just seems to lose that captivating quality and closes kind of poorly in my opinion.  However everything that comes before makes the movie worth wild.

This movie offers some of the funniest scenes I have ever seen in a movie and I enjoy it each and every time I watch it.  I think anything the Coen Brothers do is worth the time of every movie fan out there and that includes this one.  Yes this is not their best film but this is still a good film and there is plenty to appreciate and enjoy about it.  If you get the opportunity to see it I strongly encourage anyone to give it a shot.  This movie is without doubt worth your time to see.

AMBER’S REVIEW

This is not my favorite Coen Brothers film. It’s funny and interesting, but some of the actors parts fall flat and I think they could have been a little better. The point of the story is awesome, and I support anything that these guys do. It is worth seeing.

ladykillers

This is a great example of how to include multiple characters into one poster. I love the scene and that you can’t see the lady’s face. The typography is really nice as well. I think the designer did a good job a offsetting it and making it look off in a really nice way. Sometimes, it can get out of control. Overall, really successful poster.

NEXT MOVIE: Land of the Lost (2009)

Intolerable Cruelty

Year: 2003
Directed By: Joel and Ethan Coen
Written By: Several contributors including the Coen brothers

RYAN’S REVIEW

This movie came out during a time when I had recently discovered the Coen brothers and thought they were the greatest duo in the business.  For that matter, I still think they are two of the greatest filmmakers out there but I do not think this was their best movie.  I think it is a good movie that features so much of what makes them great.  The elaborate set design, the witty dialogue, and the interesting characters that are always featured in their films are all in this one. The Coen brothers are also really great when it comes to casting their films.  This movie, like many of their others, is driven by the powerful performances of the actors they chose to cast.

The main two stars of this film are Catherine Zeta-Jones and George Clooney.  I have never been a fan of either really although I have enjoyed many of their movies. This movie was Zeta-Jone’s follow-up to her Academy Award winning role in Chicago. She showed an incredible amount of talent in Chicago so I cannot say she isn’t a good actress but I have always thought of her more as just a pretty face.  She is a very beautiful woman but I always felt that was all that kept her in the movies because outside of Chicago I don’t think she has had a stellar career. She plays her part in this movie well but I don’t know that there is any honor to be had in playing this role well.  She is a cruel and bloodsucking woman in this movie and this part is probably a big part of why I don’t care for her that much.  Clooney is good in this movie as he is good in many movies but I just cannot stand the man.  No matter what he does or how many good movies he makes I will never get over his horrible stint as Batman in one of the worst movies of all time, Batman & Robin. He destroyed the Batman franchise with that role, he should be ashamed of himself.

I think some of the other actors, even in the smallest of roles, manage to outshine the stars of the film a bit.  I think Cedric the Entertainer was hilarious as Gus Petch and really thought this was the beginning of great things to come from him. I haven’t seen him in anything lately but I do think he is really funny. Geoffrey Rush is an amazing actor who is as talented as they come.  I love the opening scene when he catches his wife having an affair.  He has such a great accent that works well for both humor or evil and I like how it gives him diversity as an actor. I am a fan of Richard Jenkins and he is in many Coen brothers movies.  I think he is really funny in this one playing the part of Freddie Bender.  I don’t necessarily think Billy Bob Thorton did anything spectacular in his role but he was a hot commodity at the time this movie came out.  I have never understood it but the guy was so popular. I guess a lot of it had to do with his relationship with Angelina Jolie, which was weird enough to keep everybody interested.

Watching this movie now I can see what it was that I liked about it ten years ago.  It is clever and well made.  Today I don’t really care for it quite as much because it is all about divorce.  There is nothing funny about divorce and I specifically don’t like movies about it.  This one mostly mocks the practice of money grubbing marriages though so I don’t know that it really qualifies the same way.  These are loveless marriages all about sex and philandering and greed.  It’s still divorce though and all these kinds of divorces do is sully something that is already dirty.

Despite that this is still a good movie and I think it is worth your time.  It may not be the best Coen bros’ movie but it is still a Coen Bros movie and this means there is something to it.  These guys are the best even when they aren’t at their best.  It’s been ten years since this movie came out now and I think there is a good chance in another ten years it will be a movie nobody remembers.  So check it out if you have a chance and let us know what you think.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I still love these guys, but this is by far my least favorite of the Coen Brothers movies. I love all of their films. They are witty and interesting tales. Like books made into incredible movies, except they wrote the books themselves and you can see every single detail that is their style throughout their films, much like a Tim Burton film. I just didn’t like the whole story. The movie was shot well and is interesting enough, but I didn’t really love the story of divorce lawyers and marrying for money. I figure that this story has already been told, and usually the Coens’ stories are so original.

MPW-7461

This is a very clean poster. Nothing really special. You have the movie tagline, followed by an off center picture of them, and then the billing and title at the bottom. I love a nice sans serif font, so I don’t hate this poster, it is actually really nice, but I just don’t think that it is anything special.

NEXT MOVIE: I, Robot (2004)

The Hudsucker Proxy

Year: 1994
Directed By: Joel and Ethan Coen
Written By: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, and Sam Raimi

RYAN’S REVIEW

I am a huge fan of the Coen brothers and typically like everything they do.  I actually went out of my way to specifically buy this movie for the blog a year ago.  Having finally reached it at the end of the “H” section on our DVD rack I am disappointed in my decision to make the purchase.  This is a really great movie with all the Coen brothers’ talent on hand, but I just don’t like it.  I don’t know if it’s the time period of the setting, the gloomy look of the movie, or the stars on hand but I just can’t get on board with this one.

I can clearly see how good the movie is, but nothing about it appeals to me.  The fast talking style of most of the characters really displays the talent of the actors playing the parts but I don’t care for it.  Specifically Jennifer Jason Leigh does a wonderful job, and Paul Newman is every bit as talented as he always was.  I have never been a big Tim Robbins fan though, and I loathe that stupid expression he has on his face throughout the whole film.

This movie offers many classic scenes and a story that I’m sure would appeal to many people.  Don’t take my word on this one because it’s a Coen brothers film and they are always worth your time.  On this one anyway I will tell you that my not liking it says nothing about the quality of the film itself.  Despite my opinion of the film I’m going to tell you that it is still worth your time to see it and maybe you will enjoy it more than I did.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I love this movie. I think it is hilarious and true to its makers. The Coen Brothers are known for their very unique style and shtick. You can usually tell you are watching a Coen Brothers movie when the characters are very exaggerated. Think about Marge in Fargo. “O ya, ya say!” This movie stretches it even further. The accents are out there and the actions are out there. Everything is very much Coen Brothers, but stretched out a little further to really tell this story. I love them all, and this one is a great one too. You should see all the Coen Brothers movies. They are definitely two of the greatest movie makers out there today.

And the poster. It feels the theme and time period of the movie. I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it either. I really wish they would have just let Tim Robbins take on the poster alone. I think if they would have simplified the poster a little bit, it would feel cleaner and easier to bring people in.

NEXT MOVIE: Hustle & Flow (2005)

The Big Lebowski

Year: 1998
Directed By: Joel and Ethan Coen
Written By: Joel and Ethan Coen

RYAN’S REVIEW

This is my second favorite movie of all time.  I think it is a perfect movie. The performances are great, the screenplay is great, and it is made by a pair of the greatest filmmakers in the industry today. This may be my personal second favorite movie of all time but it is well-loved all around. There is actually an annual Lebowskifest for fans of the film which has gotten so big that the cast reunited for it this year and made an appearance. It is a great movie made by great movie makers, the Coen brothers, and it is their vision and creativity that make this film so great.

I was a history student in college when I fell in love with this film.  It’s because I watched it during that era of life that this film is so endeared to me.  It’s a smart movie and history plays a large part in the story really.  This movie is set at a specific time, during the First Gulf War.  The Gulf War was the first “major” military conflict the United States had entered since the fighting ended in Vietnam nearly 20 years prior. Here we have a story centered around a relic from the Vietnam era. The Dude is an old school hippy still doing his thing, getting high and bowling, enjoying a White Russian now and again.  He doesn’t have anything and doesn’t really care, he is just living life.  His best friend Walter Sobchek is a former soldier obviously still living in the past. After all “he didn’t watch his buddies die face down in the muck so that he could go on and live in the present.” His other friend Donnie the pacifist, he is out of his element. These are the men that represent different sects of American society during a very dramatic time in our history.  That isn’t what this movie is about though, this is just who the characters are.  These guys manage to get caught up in an unusual chain of events, something that happens in many Coen Brothers films.

The cast is fantastic in this movie, another Coen Brothers trademark.  Jeff Bridges is iconic as The Dude.  He is a good actor but at the end of his career I think this character will be the one that stands out the most.  That also goes for John Goodman, who is always great and is a Coen Brothers regular.  He is crazy and completely over the top as Walter Sobcheck and it is awesome.  There are many Coen Brother regulars in this film actually. Steve Buscemi, John Turturro, Peter Stormare, and Jon Polito are some of the other Coen Brother regulars in this film.  Buscemi doesn’t stand out in this film because he is always in the background but he is the kind of actor that makes everything he is in a little bit better.  There are many directors that like to work with him on a regular basis and there is good reason for that.  Phillip Seymor Hoffman is overwhelmingly enthusiastic and very funny as the Big Lebowski’s assistant Bran. John Turturro is classic as the Jesus.  Sam Elliot provides another interesting character to the mix.  Tara Reid is young and sexy. Julianne Moore plays a very weird Maude Lebowski but she plays the part well.  Everybody is at there best in this film, the Coen Brothers have a great ability to get the best out of their actors.

When you watch this movie for the first time you really can’t be sure what will happen next and where it is all going.  When you watch it again you catch things you didn’t see the first time, and the more you watch it from then on the better it gets.  That is really what makes a movie special, when you can watch something over and over again and still find new things to love about it.  I have probably watched this movie over 100 times and I still think it is awesome when I watch it now.  This movie is more than worth your time, in fact it’s worth your money, attention, and respect.

AMBER’S REVIEW

This is a hard movie for me to write about. I love it so much, but I doubt that I can find the words to tell you how truly awesome this film is. Everyone I know who has seen this movie loves it, or at least likes it. I have never met anyone that has seen it and tells me that they hated it. This movie is just so perfectly made. I love the Coen Brothers so much and think that they make the most amazing films. They are filled with interesting story lines that haven’t been done before, they have humor and drama were needed and they usually end pretty perfectly.

The people in this film are what really make it. The movie wouldn’t have been the same without Jeff Bridges as the Dude. He will always be The Dude, or the Duderino, or Duder, what have you. Walter is played so well by the infamous and Coen Brothers loved John Goodman. I think he is definitely my favorite character in the movie. He plays his role with such ease, as if he really was that person, not even acting at all, it was so effortless. The others, Phillip Seymor-Hoffman, Juianne Moore, Tara Reid, John Turturro and of course Steve Buscemi all played their roles to the “t” and it makes for such an interesting movie.

The plot centers around the most relaxed person in the world, “The Dude” getting confused with another person, named “Lebowski” simply because they have the same last name. The story follows along what happens to him after his rug gets pissed on by the people assuming he is this “Lebowski” character.

Memorable Quotes:

“See what happens Larry? This is what happens when you fuck a stranger in the ass!” -Walter

Maude: “What do you do for recreation?”
The Dude: “Oh, the usual. I bowl. Drive around. The occasional acid flashback.”

“Has the whole world gone crazy? Am I the only one around here who gives a shit about the rules? Mark it zero!” -Walter

“What’s this day of rest shit? What’s this bullshit? I don’t fuckin’ care! It don’t matter to Jesus. But you’re not foolin’ me, man. You might fool the fucks in the league office, but you don’t fool Jesus. This bush league psyche-out stuff. Laughable, man – ha ha! I would have fucked you in the ass Saturday. I fuck you in the ass next Wednesday instead. Wooo! You got a date Wednesday, baby!” -The Jesus

NEXT MOVIE: Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)

Bad Santa

Year: 2003
Directed By: Terry Zwigoff
Written By: Glenn Ficarra

RYAN’S REVIEW

I’ve said before that sometimes vulgarity can be a necessity for adults, in this case I think this movie will fill that need for an eternity if need be.  This movie goes a little over the top for 87 of its 91 minutes but you should know that going in, it lives up to its name.  I was in college when this movie came out and thought it was hilarious, as a father I feel a little different about it.  I still enjoy it now, but I feel bad about it.  This movie is dirtier than it needs to be and while it might be funny that doesn’t make it right.

I remember when this movie came out Billy Bob Thorton was considered really popular, this was either during or shortly after his relationship with Angelina Jolie.  It was a really weird union if I remember correctly, needless to say it received a lot of press.  Bernie Mac is here in top form.  He was an incredibly funny man who made all the movies he appeared in better.  He died much too young, I was very upset by the sudden loss.  Bernie Mac’s sudden death, along with the fact that John Ritter died during filming have led people to declare this movie cursed. Regardless of any curse or misfortune, the untimely loss of both of these men was unfortunate. Tony Cox is very funny in this movie as well, he is a talented actor.

This movie seemed funnier to me in college than it does to me now but I think it is validated by the fact that the Coen brothers were involved in the movie as Executive Producers. If you want to indulge in awful things and enjoy something dirty then check this movie out.  If it is Christmas time then start playing this movie when you want your parents to leave, but at some point during the season do turn it on after the kids have gone to sleep and you are sick of all the fake holiday spirit.  It’s sad, but in many ways Billy Bob Thorton’s Santa Claus is the true face of today’s Christmas.

AMBER’S REVIEW

Who doesn’t love this movie? WHO? I think this movie is a breath of fresh Christmas air. It is light and funny and finally gives us a Christmas movie that isn’t all filled with feelings. Well, okay maybe it does give you a little bit of feelings, but they aren’t the usual tidings of joy. I think this movie is perfect. They picked a perfect actor for the leading role and I think he epitomizes every Santa Claus in every mall of America. And also I would like to give a shout out and kudos to the lates John Ritter and Bernie Mac. Both were awesome and both were lost in untimely manners. This film is one that I MUST watch every Christmas. It is crude, it is wrong and it is perfect.

NEXT MOVIE: Balls of Fury (2007)