Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!
A Serious Man
A Serious Man is the story of an ordinary man's search for clarity in a universe where Jefferson Airplane is on the radio and F-Troop is on TV. It is 1967, and Larry Gopnik, a physics professor at a quiet Midwestern university, has just been informed by his wife Judith that she is leaving him. She has fallen in love with one of his more pompous acquaintances Sy Ableman.
Unpopular opinion incoming! ‘A Serious Man’ is one of my favourite Coen’s and I would actually call it more likeable than ‘No Country for Old Men’. I love how their trademark edgy dialogues greatly blend into the much smaller and amateurish setting of the film, just like in ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’. It creates an intelligent comedy, which I think hits the directors talents better than the western crime gems they’ve created. Not often do I laugh out loud when watching a film, so honour where honour’s due, ‘A Serious Man’ deserves its four stars.
Fiddling with the aerial doesn't always make the signal more clear. The cat is both dead and not dead (Clive understands the dead cat, but not the math). The man in the prologue is or isn't a dybbuk. The bookends suggest an unbroken cycle that may or may not relate to what characters have and haven't done. "Accept the mystery."
Rabbi Nachtner: "We can't know everything."
Larry Gopnik: "It sounds like you don't know anything! Why even tell me this story?"
Nachtner: [laughing]"First I should tell you, then I shouldn't, hoo!" [places hands on cheeks]
Gopnick to dream class: "Even though you can't figure anything out, you will be responsible for it on the mid-term."
The Uncertainty Principle. It proves we can't ever really know... what's going on. So it shouldn't bother you. Not being able to figure anything out.
After seeing the brilliant Llewyn Davis, I have decided to work backwards through the Coen Bros filmography hitting every single forgotten gem or under appreciated masterpiece. Im doing this because my gut tells me that if Llewyn Davis doesn't see a second life on home video, it will sadly join the ranks of those other Coen films that have sunk below the radar.
The first stop on this tour through the Coen Brothers dark fairy tale universe is 2009's A Serious Man. Set in a predominantly Jewish suburb in the early 60's, (a setting very…
"Accept the mystery"
Another great one from the Coens that I'd been meaning to rewatch for a long time. It contains all the elements that the two directors often couple together to make their films so remarkable - a great lead performance, beautiful cinematography, a biting and terrific screenplay, and a uniquely established tone. However, the main aspect that sets A Serious Man apart is its supremely Jewish setting. Despite being familiar, the film is triumphantly unique and interesting.
On this watch, I kind of noticed a lot of similarities to Barton Fink, with it's offbeat nature and awkward male lead who's life is going in bad places. Both are probably the Coens most ambiguous films, with lots left up to interpretation. There is a lot of symbolism and depth here, it'd be interesting to see, or possibly write a full blown analysis.
It's also darkly hilarious. Poor Larry.
The question most people seem to have about A Serious Man, judging by the reviews I've read, is "What's it actually about?"
A lot of the time I don't think it matters what a film is about. I often find myself going round in circles trying to get to the bottom of this subject and losing sight of whether I enjoyed the film or not. Actually, I have this problem more when it IS a film I enjoyed. If it's a film I hated then I'm not going to waste my time trying to figure out what was going on with it. It can just piss off.
Even though it might not be one of their best films, A Serious Man is definetely one of the funniest comedies directed by the Coen Brothers and one of the most continuously funny films of the past decade. Great writing featuring near-perfect dialogue, brilliant characterization & intelligent story that's so large in scope that ends up covering several themes and great direction by the American duo who leads the film with a wonderful pacing, A Serious Man is a simple delight. In the lead role, Michael Stuhlbarg is just excellent and delivers one of his best performances in this wonderlly-realized dark comedy that's supported by a clever cinematography and by a brilliant score.
A film that not only always rewards a rewatch, but adds new understanding and nuance each time. There’s obviously so much more to this (that I’ve probably mentioned before, and besides is all the usual stuff that people have commented on before) but within the context of their oeuvre and on a completely non-philosophical level (which I realize is to defy much of the depth of the film), I increasingly read this as a plea from the Coens to their audience to relax a bit, to be able to appreciate and enjoy their films--not to take no meaning from them but to not get as hung up on their meanings. The Coens are as unknowable as just about any filmmakers ever but I often get the feeling that they wish that people would approach their work with the dispassion and lack of automatic deference that are the hallmarks of its creators.
Even I don't understand the dead cat. - Larry
this was a movie about jews lol i didn't like them the movie was good
God fuck this movie was frustrating. I liked everything in it - it was a very stressful ride - and I hated the ending.
But it stuck with me for days and days. After some friendly discussions with friends I realized that the movie is a perfect rabbinical parable just like the one that opened the film, and just like all the advice the main character received throughout the movie.
The Coen brothers are geniuses and this movie was so god damned frustrated.
Surprisingly one of the Coen Brothers best, considering what it now stands up against. A simple film that I personally found to be wildly humorous with a huge tonal shift to the depressing at the end. It's a story of a seemingly sane man surrounded by seemingly insane people. A serious story that still manages to be funny in the Coen Brother's signature dark way.
I'm just going to start putting a view number in parenthesis up there next to the score rather than stating how many times I've seen a film at the beginning of each review.
A Serious Man is a definite grower for me. I was underwhelmed on a first viewing and now love it. What happened? Well, basically I figured out what the Coen Bros. were getting at and developed a greater affection for the subtle gallows humor layered throughout the film.
Michael Stuhlbarg kills as the soft-spoken, mild-mannered Larry Gopnik, a Jewish professor who just wants to do Judaism right and have a pleasant, unassuming life. As is typical for most characters in a Coen Bros. film, nothing…
Made even better by the fact that it starts and ends with reference to Jefferson Airplane.
I'd do that.
Many favorites, as well as a small handful of films that I don't care for... in no particular order (1960-2014).
A blend of personal favorites and films that I consider to be the "greatest." Top two-hundred is definitive. Only 1940-2015.