Fellow Film Club Members & Movie Buffs:
The film for this month will be “Hotels as theatre; drama, comedy, & dramedy–the full gamut.”
Well, it definitely is Spring in the great Northwest. 72 & sunny one day, & raining buckets the next. Either way, one sure way to spice up your life is to join the Tacoma Film Club for their second screening, this Friday, April 11, 2014. We will be seeing a Coen Brothers classic, BARTON FINK (1991).
The TFC has screened several of the Coen Brothers films, who take turns directing, while collaborating on the script, & editing; perhaps one of the longest running & most successful of the Hollywood brother duos.
They have won 4 Oscars, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN–Best Director, Best Screenplay, and FARGO–Best Director, Best Screenplay. Both brothers married early on in their career, and have maintained stable marriages–Joel married to actress Frances McDormand since 1984. As noted previously, they chose not to give Ethan directing credit on their first ten films. They have directed 18 films since 1984. I tend to like the dramadies best, like BLOOD SIMPLE (1984), MILLER’S CROSSING (1990), THE MAN WHO WASN’T THERE (2001), NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN (2007), & TRUE GRIT (2010). Audiences tend to like their whacky comedies best at the box office.
BARTON FINK (1991)
Directed by Joel & Ethan Coen @ 116 minutes.
The film stars John Turturro, John Goodman, Judy Davis, Michael Lerner, John Mahoney, Tony Shalhoub, John Polito, & Steve Buscemi.
Synopsis: In 1941, a renowned New York intellectual playwright is brought to Hollywood to write a Wallace Beery wrestling picture. He is staying at the very odd Hotel Earle, where he develops a bad case of writer’s block, which is not helped by a series of bizarre sequences & events that further distract him.
Tagline: Between Heaven & Hell there is always Hollywood.
The film was nominated for three Oscars, and it won big at Cannes–Best Actor, Best Director, plus the Palm d’Or. This was the first film to win the Big Three Awards at Cannes for the same year.
Cinematography: For their first 9 movies, the Coens had consistently used cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld. This was the first time they used the great Roger Deakins; whom they used for their next 9 films.
Deakins has been nominated for 11 Oscars, but hasn’t won any yet. He has lensed 71 films since 1975, including SID & NANCY (1986), THE KITCHEN TOTO (1987), AIR AMERICA (1990), THUNDERHEART (1992), DEAD MAN WALKING (1995 ), A BEAUTIFUL MIND (2001), THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD (2007), & SKYFALL (2012).
The music was composed by Carter Burwell; BLOOD SIMPLE (1984) was his first film score. He has written music for 89 films since 1984, including WATERLAND (1992), THIS BOY’S WIFE ·1993), ROB ROY (1995), THE SPANISH PRISONER (1997), THE HI-LO COUNTRY (1998), THREE KINGS (1999), A KNIGHT’S TALE (2001), & THE BLIND SIDE (2009).
TRIVIA: The film’s budget was 9 million dollars, & it only earned 6 million in America.
The parts played by Turturro, Goodman, Buscemi, & Polito were written specifically for each of them. Turturro took typing lessons before the role, and between takes he typed up the script outline/treatment for ROMANCE & CIGARETTES (2005). Barton Fink was the avatar for writer Clifford Odets.
The story idea was inspired by author William Faulkner who had been brought to Hollywood in 1932 to write FLESH, in fact a wrestling picture for Wallace Beery.
Rotten Tomatoes rated this film at 91% Critic’s Approval, & 89% Audience Approval.
Richard Schickel of TIME MAGAZINE wrote: “Gnomic, claustrophobic, hallucinatory, just plain weird–this is the kind of movie film critics can argue about for a long time.”
Thomas Delapa of the BOULDER WEEKLY wrote: “The Coen’s unsettling evocation of isolation & madness is vividly realized–but their ultimate meaning is insanely obscure.”
In VARIETY: “Scene after scene is filled with ferocious strength & humor.”
Jonathan Rosenbaum of CHICAGO READER wrote: “This creepy satire is full of laughter & flaky twists, but by the end you may still be scratching your head.”
So mark your calendars for this Friday, April 11, 2014, and join us for the Coen Brother’s BARTON FINK. It will be screened at the Center for Spiritual Living, the church building we rent, located at 206 North J Street, on the corner of Division and J Streets, across from the Group Health hospital. Arrive early, around 6:15 p.m.
& join some of us downstairs for fun, fellowship, and snacks. Be sure to clean up after yourselves before coming upstairs to watch the movie. Remember that no food or beverages can be taken into the sanctuary. There will be a Donation Box upstairs, & these funds will help rent the space, keep our screening license current, & meet other Club costs. The film runs 116 minutes, and starts at 7:15 p.m. Keep your cell phones off please. The movie is over before 9:30 p.m. See you at the movies!