I get very excited whenever a new Coen brothers movie is about to open. I’ve been a fan ever since doing a television story on the Minnesota natives and their first feature film, “Blood Simple,” back (unbelievably) in 1984.
Minnesotans in the movie business were big news back then. The Coen brothers still are.
I’ve seen most of their films, and I don’t remember being disappointed in any of them. It’s hard to be disappointed with movies like “Fargo,” “The Big Lebowski,” “No Country for Old Men” and “Raising Arizona.”
Their latest film “Hail, Caesar!” opens next week. Unlike their first, “Hail, Caesar!” is being heavily promoted. It’s a screwball comedy about moviemaking in the 1950s.
The casts of Coen films usually read like a Hollywood Who’s Who list. This one includes George Clooney, no less, as well as Scarlett Johannsson, Josh Brolin, Channing Tatum, Frances McDormand, Alden Ehrenreich, Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill and Tilda Swinton. My guess is that the Coens have little trouble getting actors to work with them.
These days, the Coen brothers co-write, produce and direct their movies. They edit most of them jointly under the pseudonym Roderick Jaynes. Interesting.
Of course, most Midwesterners have a soft spot for “Fargo,” the movie and now the FX television mini-series based on the film, which has been renewed for a third season. Although, some don’t think much of the “Fargo” accents.
The Coens know what they’re doing. They’ve won a half-dozen Oscars. Two of them for “Fargo.”
I always remember how grateful I was when Joel Coen personally allowed me and my photographer to stick around while “Fargo” scenes were being shot one very, very cold day in 1995 near Grafton, N.D., when he could just as easily thrown us off the location. But that’s another story.
The tone of “Hail,” Caesar! seems like it will be closest to 1999s “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou,” another comedy featuring Clooney. It’s in theaters Thursday. I’ll be there.