Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Miller's Yawning

Shameful confession:
Last night my honey and I were watching Miller's Crossing. And we were bored with it. We let it play 37 minutes into the movie before we finally said, "eh, let's just watch it in fast forward, and play it every now and then to see if something interesting is going to happen."

I feel this confession shameful because I love the Coen brothers. As of this morning, I think the only movie of theirs I haven't seen is Ladykillers. I even enjoy their more underwhelming stuff. I love their dark humor and the way they look at life at a 53 degree angle. But Miller's Crossing just didn't do it for me. And I know lots of people love it. I'm trying to figure out exactly why it did nothing - hell, the opposite of nothing - for me.

The cast was great, all people I completely love watching, no matter what they're doing: Gabriel (yes, I'll marry you) Byrne, Albert Finney, Marcia Gay Harden, John (can't take my eyes offa you) Tuturro and even a scene or two with the deliciously flawed Steve Buscemi. The storytellers were those I adore: Coen Brothers. The cinematography was beautiful. I enjoyed listening to the turn of the century Irish/New York accents. But for the life of me, I just couldn't get involved in the story! For 37 minutes we watched, and then I noticed my honey had pulled this month's copy of Wired off the coffee table. "How interested are you in this?" I asked him as I pressed pause. "Well," he replied, "I am reading a magazine."

Here's my theory: I can't get engrossed in stories about organized crime. But I think I can get interested and pulled into stories about people who accidentally find themselves in the middle of crime rings. For as over Tom Hanks as I am (would someone please start casting other people?), I got into Road to Perdidtion, mainly because it was about "getting out" or the little boy finding himself in the middle of the organized crime. Pulp Fiction has enough of Jackson's character's wanting to leave that there's outter conflict to keep me interested, not just inner mob-boss yadda yadda conflict. Though it's been years since I've seen Barton Fink, I'm sure I'd be very involved in that story because Barton finds himself in the middle of something very sinister, being moved by forces beyond his control. (Was it organized crime there, too? I want to say yes, but I can't remember.) But stories that begin in the middle of organized crime, and deal solely with organized crime just don't do it for me. I'm just not that interested. This guy controls this street corner, and he controls this local politician, but they're all trying to scam over this guy ... blah, blah, blah. I really don't care. Political intrigue stories? Sure. So, it's not that I dont' like stories of backstabbing and power struggle. I just don't care about the power players of the underworld.

Oh, Joel and Ethan. I'm so sorry I didn't like it. It was a visual delight to watch, but an excellent sleep aid, as well.


Not with a bang but a whimper said...

I'm not all that fond of the Coen Brothers. I enjoy their work, but I think they're overrated. If anything, I think their humor is too obvious/deliberate for my tastes.

That said, Miller's Crossing is my second favorite of their films.

My favorite of their movies was The Man Who Wasn't There, which seems to be one of their least popular movies. I also didn't like O Brother where art thou at all and the equally popular Raising Arizona did little for me.

Unrelated: I've slept in Albert Phinney's bed. It's my only claim to fame.

Molly Malone said...

Oh, who HASN'T slept in Albert Finney's bed? He's such a he-whore!


That's pretty cool.

"The Man Who Wasn't There" was good, I agree. Raising Arizona is probably on my list of top 5 favorite movies. "Whut about the dip-tet, hunnee?"

I think the overt charicature-ness of their humor is exactly what I like. Most movie humor in this country is obvious, but only in the potty, go for the easy joke, sort of way. Sure, "Old School" is good for a laugh, but "Big Lebowski" is funny and a delight.