Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Seriously, Man

Just seen: A Serious Man (on On-Demand), the Coen Brothers movie that is among the huge mound of films vying for Best Picture. This raises my tally of watched nominees to 8 out of 10. It is a black comedy, and as such it is quite funny and unusually spooky. But...

Coen Brothers films remind me of points on a biorhythm curve*. Remember that 70s quackery? Emotional, physical and intellectual sinusoidal waves, all cresting and dipping to their own time. Triple highs are auspicious, but watch out for those "critical days," when all three bottom out.

When the Coens are hitting the triple high we get amazing stuff-- O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Raising Arizona, The Hudsucker Proxy, even The Big Lebowski. Even when we get a dip or two, it's still compelling: No Country for Old Men, Fargo and Blood Simple.

But man, watch out for that triple low point. A Serious Man reminded me of Barton Fink and a LOT of The Man Who Wasn't There: grim stories with hapless, hopeless protagonists. It's the story of Larry Gopnik, a perfectly nice man who get his ass kicked by every single other character-- wife, kids, brother, his Rabbi, total strangers, everybody-- from fade-up to the devastating black-out. Even the Columbia Record Club has it in for him. As they did with O Brother, the Coens took the core of the story from an ancient source-- in this case the Book of Job, set in suburban Minneapolis in 1967.

Lining it up with the current Oscar nominees, it sounds comparable to Precious, which I haven't seen. Of course, from what I read, The life of Precious is several orders of magnitude more horrible than the life of Larry Gopnik. So I think I'll cut bait and stop at eight nominees.

*Just for laughs, I just checked my Biorhythm chart here. Yikes. I am not leaving the house today.

1 comment:

  1. I'm actually prety well set up today, except for low intellect. I'm dumb enough to admit that!