“The world is full of complainers. The fact is, nothing comes with a guarantee.”
“Blood Simple,” released in film festivals in 1984 and theatrically in 1985, found as many detractors as it did fans initially, but no one can argue that it was all that the filmmaking duo of Joel and Ethan Coen needed to break onto the scene as fresh, quirky and sometimes violent voices in the cinema world. Join us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — on this week’s episode of The Next Reel as we start our Drama by the Brothers Coen series. We talk about how much we love this neo-noir crime thriller and why, and debate whether it’s just a film noir or really a neo-noir (and if that really means anything anyway). We chat about the performances — Dan Hedaya, Frances McDormand, John Getz and the unforgettable M. Emmett Walsh — and why they each stand out for us in different ways (most notably Walsh in his horrible yellow jacket). We discuss how this film introduced the world largely to the cinematographic eye of Barry Sonnenfeld, what it did for the film, what worked, what didn’t, and why Sonnenfeld shouldn’t have started directing. We chat about the nature of the story — complex and simple all at the same time in a story that honors genre conventions as much as it manipulates and breaks them. And we talk about the Coen brothers in general and why we feel there is such a pervasive split between cinema-goers as to their opinions of the Coens’ films. It’s a fun, bloody, dark film that just gets better with age. Check it out and listen in!
Assorted Notes & Links
New Words & Lists
Trailers of the Week
Andy’s Trailer: “Drew Struzan’s posters practically symbolize everything I’ve loved about movies since I was a child. The fact that they’re doing a documentary about him is a chance for every film geek like me who loves his works to get to know him and his process. I can’t wait!”
Pete’s Trailer: “If they make CBGB into a delivery vehicle for a glorified soundtrack delivery, prepare for a rant. Here’s hoping for more High Fidelity, not so much Rock ‘n’ Roll High School Forever. Hoping the power of the Rickman will see them through”