If there is one thing we can’t seem to stay away from here at FSR, it is a good discussion about what is the best or the worst movie in any particular category — the discussion, and the argument and inevitable fist-fights that follow are like our own version of crack. With that said, we love nothing more than to open up these discussions to all of you, the faithful readers who keep us employed — sort of.
This week I have been thinking a lot about the Brothers Coen, Joel and Ethan. Their latest film Burn After Reading made a stop in Toronto for a small film festival launch last weekend before it hits theaters this weekend, and all signs seem to be pointing toward a winner. Personally, I was thoroughly entertained by the film this week, finding it to be a light, fun departure from the overwhelming experience that was No Country for Old Men. Perhaps this was the Coen Brothers’ way of taking a filmmaking vacation — do the movie that matters, then do the movie that’s fun. It seems to be their formula. They did almost the exact same thing with Fargo, following it with The Big Lebowski. Then they made O Brother, Where Art Thou? and followed it with Intolerable Cruelty. They aren’t as much “up and down” as they are “back and forth,” from one tone to another — it is what keeps them fresh, what keeps them interesting.
So then I got to thinking — what is the Coen Brothers’ best film? It certainly isn’t Burn After Reading. It’s a good movie, perhaps even well above-average, but certainly not the pinnacle of their work. The easy answer might be to say No Country for Old Men, as it was their most celebrated film. But to go with No Country would be to overlook the likes of Fargo and Miller’s Crossing, two fantastic films that deserve recognition. Also, in my mind, it is criminal to overlook The Big Lebowski, as it is not only one of my favorite Coen Bros. movie, but one of my favorite films of all-time, hands down, as is Raising Arizona.
So as you can see, it’s a tough task. The filmography of Joel and Ethan Coen is deep, rich with original and clever films that have all left their mark. But even though the question is tough, that doesn’t mean we can’t have a healthy debate. So I leave it up to all of you…
What is the best Coen Brothers movie?