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 All Comments / On "Coen Brothers"
    Hail, Caesar!, the Coen Brothers' latest movie, is a cheerful comedy about a busy week in 1951 at the fictitious Hollywood studio, Capitol Pictures, where their Barton Fink took place in 1941. That 1991 film told the story of Fink, a Clifford Odets-like Communist playwright (played by John Turturro) who becomes the toast of Manhattan's...
  • @syonredux

    Andy Griffith was a great actor and he was able to cruise as a star in two shows in for two decades.
     
    He was excellent in A Face in the Crowd:


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XaLQMs_VDLw

    “He was excellent in A Face in the Crowd:”

    A simple “agree” would not have come close to reflecting my total agreement with syonredux’s assessment as “excellent.” I would also point out it was Andy Griffith’s only dramatic role on stage or film because he found the experience so searing. The film was directed by Elia Kazan, one of the greatest director in U.S. film history. I strongly recommend this film, which I only got around to watching about five years ago.

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  • @Jacobite
    Andy Griffith was a great actor and he was able to cruise as a star in two shows in for two decades.

    Andy Griffith was a great actor and he was able to cruise as a star in two shows in for two decades.

    I’d forgotten about “Matlock,” but yes, not many actors are able to carry two long-term weekly TV programs like that.

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  • With a 17th Coen Brothers movie on the way this week, I return to an old question: How have the two middle-aged men gone over 30 years without the kind of public spats that are common among showbiz brothers (e.g., in rock music: the Everlys, the Davies of the Kinks, the Fogertys of Creedence, the...
  • @Lexer
    Writers Jared Hess and his wife Jerusha Hess wrote the breakout hit Napolean Dynamite as well as Nacho Libre and the less than spectacular Gentlemen Broncos and Don Verdean. I totally thought they were siblings but apparently not.

    Jared Hess is the oldest of six brothers, and I suspect that experiences involving each one of them can be found in the Napoleon Dynamite screenplay. Wonderful advantage for writing a movie about teenagers doing goofy things.

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  • Writers Jared Hess and his wife Jerusha Hess wrote the breakout hit Napolean Dynamite as well as Nacho Libre and the less than spectacular Gentlemen Broncos and Don Verdean. I totally thought they were siblings but apparently not.

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    • Replies: @John Mansfield
    Jared Hess is the oldest of six brothers, and I suspect that experiences involving each one of them can be found in the Napoleon Dynamite screenplay. Wonderful advantage for writing a movie about teenagers doing goofy things.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Hail, Caesar!, the Coen Brothers' latest movie, is a cheerful comedy about a busy week in 1951 at the fictitious Hollywood studio, Capitol Pictures, where their Barton Fink took place in 1941. That 1991 film told the story of Fink, a Clifford Odets-like Communist playwright (played by John Turturro) who becomes the toast of Manhattan's...
  • @Mr. Anon
    The Cohen brothers also wrote the screenplay for the recent Angelina Jolie directed movie "Unbroken", which treated the Catholic piety of the protagonists with great respect.

    The priest in Brooklyn is portrayed sympathetically, as is his work, and he gets in a couple memorable lines spoken with un-ironic conviction.

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  • @Mr. Anon
    The Cohen brothers also wrote the screenplay for the recent Angelina Jolie directed movie "Unbroken", which treated the Catholic piety of the protagonists with great respect.

    They wrote an adaptation of a liferaft story for Brad Pitt, To The White Sea, but it was too expensive to get made. So their draft got incorporated into Angelina Jolie’s liferaft movie a decade later.

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  • @Boomstick
    The Coen Brothers do take religion fairly seriously, more so that probably anyone else in Hollywood that is not Mel Gibson. The overarching metaphor was studio-fixer-as-Jesus. I'd have to re-watch it, but I suspect the Rabbi's wry take on Jesus is pretty close to the nature of the Brolin character.

    Probably one can find parallels to the disciples in the cast on re-watching, but the Coen's aren't terribly disciplined about doing exacting remakes, as seen with the claimed similarities between "O Brother Where Art Thou" and The Odyssey.

    The Cohen brothers also wrote the screenplay for the recent Angelina Jolie directed movie “Unbroken”, which treated the Catholic piety of the protagonists with great respect.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    They wrote an adaptation of a liferaft story for Brad Pitt, To The White Sea, but it was too expensive to get made. So their draft got incorporated into Angelina Jolie's liferaft movie a decade later.
    , @Desiderius
    The priest in Brooklyn is portrayed sympathetically, as is his work, and he gets in a couple memorable lines spoken with un-ironic conviction.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Steve Sailer
    Josh Brolin meets with four clergymen to see if they have any problems with Capitol Picture's upcoming Ben Hur-like bible epic and they are all pretty reasonable.

    The Coen Brothers do take religion fairly seriously, more so that probably anyone else in Hollywood that is not Mel Gibson. The overarching metaphor was studio-fixer-as-Jesus. I’d have to re-watch it, but I suspect the Rabbi’s wry take on Jesus is pretty close to the nature of the Brolin character.

    Probably one can find parallels to the disciples in the cast on re-watching, but the Coen’s aren’t terribly disciplined about doing exacting remakes, as seen with the claimed similarities between “O Brother Where Art Thou” and The Odyssey.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
    The Cohen brothers also wrote the screenplay for the recent Angelina Jolie directed movie "Unbroken", which treated the Catholic piety of the protagonists with great respect.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Box office: ‘Hail, Caesar!’ fumbles with $11.4 million. (http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/07/entertainment/weekend-box-office-thr-feat/).

    “Kung Fu Panda 3″ brought in an estimated $41 million.

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  • @syonredux

    Andy Griffith was a great actor and he was able to cruise as a star in two shows in for two decades.
     
    He was excellent in A Face in the Crowd:


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XaLQMs_VDLw

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  • @Mr. Anon
    By "since" I meant after. Heat was an entertaining movie, although it was pretty ridiculous. I don't imagine there are any armed robbers who are that competent - practicing fire-and-cover advance with the precision of army rangers. And the notion that the cops wouldn't have busted a bunch of repeat-offenders when they had them red-handed breaking into a precious metals vault with fancy burglary tools and weapons is ludicrous. Pacino's character said something to the effect that they didn't have enough to nab them on. Huh? In California in the mid 90s (after three-strikes was enacted), they would have had enough to send them away forever.

    "Heat" didn't portray actual thieves - it portrayed how Michael Mann imagines he would have been if he had become a thief.

    I agree with you that Cassino was a good movie, and DeNiro did a good job in it, playing against type as a non-muscle kind of hood. In my opinion, Goodfellas is still the best organized crime movie though.

    I never noticed those holes in the plot for Heat. They are reasonable use of artistic license and much less than the inconsistent plots many/most of today’s action movies have. They might as well be a string of impressionistic scenes tied together by background music, car chases and explosions.

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  • @SFG
    You're actually *from* Minnesota, right? How does that work, operationally? Never made any sense to me. I get it in New York, but Minnesota?

    I get it in New York, but Minnesota?

    Boschwitz was a plywood baron, the kind of entrepreneur locals like.
    His favorite line at fundraisers was “Nobody lies fundraising– except me!”

    Wellstone was the proto-Bernie, a prairie populist the college kids loved. A Jewish Boschwitz supporter called him “less of a Jew” in a private letter made public. Voters didn’t hold that against Wellstone!

    Coleman was helped along by Wellstone’s last-minute death. He also benefited from the pro-life and pro-gun people, both quite strong here. (He also finished a respectable second to Ventura, unlike Skip Humphrey, who was humiliated.)

    Franken? God knows… But at least he was born here.

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  • @SFG
    Churchill went to war with Hitler because he was a Communist dupe?

    The USSR wasn't even at war with Hitler at the time. More likely Churchill was afraid Germany was going to take over Europe and then try to invade the UK...which sits right off the European coast.

    Sorry, in the real world geopolitics has more than two sides.

    The USSR wasn’t even at war with Hitler at the time.

    But the USSR had done exactly what the Nazi regime had done: invade Poland.

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  • @Jacobite
    Andy Griffith was a great actor and he was able to cruise as a star in two shows in for two decades.

    Andy Griffith was a great actor and he was able to cruise as a star in two shows in for two decades.

    He was excellent in A Face in the Crowd:

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    • Replies: @Kylie
    Griffith supported Obama.

    http://articles.latimes.com/2012/jul/03/news/la-pn-the-democratic-politics-of-the-late-andy-griffith-20120703
    , @tbraton
    "He was excellent in A Face in the Crowd:"

    A simple "agree" would not have come close to reflecting my total agreement with syonredux's assessment as "excellent." I would also point out it was Andy Griffith's only dramatic role on stage or film because he found the experience so searing. The film was directed by Elia Kazan, one of the greatest director in U.S. film history. I strongly recommend this film, which I only got around to watching about five years ago.
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  • @Jacobite
    Andy Griffith was a great actor and he was able to cruise as a star in two shows in for two decades.

    Griffith was also a stand-up comedian (hat tip Iowahawk).

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  • “After a Bronx Tale, Goodfellas, and Casino I am totally wopped out.”

    It seems that Scorsese is too. After Casino, he turned his attention to other things: the Dalai Lama, irish gangsters, business moguls, Wall Street operators, etc.

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  • @SFG
    You're actually *from* Minnesota, right? How does that work, operationally? Never made any sense to me. I get it in New York, but Minnesota?

    Lots of folks whose boss is a Jewish carpenter. For most of the rest, Hitler functions as a literal anti-Christ, so Jews are like angels.

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  • @Anonymous
    Well the movie wasn't set in rural Minnesota or something. Minnesota has actually had a fairly sizeable Jewish community in the Twin Cities and suburban areas. Bob Dylan is from Minnesota, and they've had several Jewish politicians such as Paul Wellstone, Norm Coleman, and Al Franken.

    Not forgetting https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kid_Cann who controlled politics by funding campiagns and choose the police comissioners, dispite having shot upitty cop James H. Trepanier in the spine, paralyzing him for life. Newspapers simply did not report what was going on.

    “I don’t think Minnesota is ready for a gentile in this seat.”

    That’s comedian Al Franken’s standard joke about the fact that the Senate seat in Minnesota for which he’s running has been occupied by a Jew for the past 30 years. That streak should continue///

    Serious Man was about the future of the Jewish community. Kevin MacDonald on the film:

    If all Jews were like Larry Gupnik, the ADL would be out of business and the Israel lobby would grind to a halt. Not a bad outcome at all. But, as Beinart notes, in the real world, the more conservative branches of Judaism are thriving and are projected to be a large and increasingly dominant segment of the American Jewish community. Quite a few Jewish children are not bored with Hebrew school, and they are the ones who are having the children.

    In the final analysis the bros’ films are deceptively downbeat about the future of the Jewish community. The idea of Catholics as such having influence within Hollywood of any era is quite entertaining, but apart from JFK’s dad how many producers were RC, or even Christian? In the period the film is set it is very misleading. Hearst had some real influence, but he made common cause with the studio moguls against socialist candidates and strikes.

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  • @Reg Cæsar

    …they’ve had several Jewish politicians such as Paul Wellstone, Norm Coleman, and Al Franken.
     
    That Senate seat has been Jewish since 1978, when plywood purveyor Rudy Boschwitz won it, and got to seat himself early. The only break in the chain was when Lutheran Dean Barkley was appointed by Gov Ventura to fill out the last few weeks of Wellstone's term.

    You’re actually *from* Minnesota, right? How does that work, operationally? Never made any sense to me. I get it in New York, but Minnesota?

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    • Replies: @Desiderius
    Lots of folks whose boss is a Jewish carpenter. For most of the rest, Hitler functions as a literal anti-Christ, so Jews are like angels.
    , @Reg Cæsar

    I get it in New York, but Minnesota?
     
    Boschwitz was a plywood baron, the kind of entrepreneur locals like.
    His favorite line at fundraisers was "Nobody lies fundraising-- except me!"

    Wellstone was the proto-Bernie, a prairie populist the college kids loved. A Jewish Boschwitz supporter called him "less of a Jew" in a private letter made public. Voters didn't hold that against Wellstone!

    Coleman was helped along by Wellstone's last-minute death. He also benefited from the pro-life and pro-gun people, both quite strong here. (He also finished a respectable second to Ventura, unlike Skip Humphrey, who was humiliated.)

    Franken? God knows... But at least he was born here.
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  • @Anon
    A great movie idear.

    Gangster Professor.

    Imagine Tony Montana as professor. He wouldn't take no shi* from SJW.

    The ending could be spectacular!

    Actually, Tony’s arc is that he’s evil enough to be a druglord but not evil enough to kill a witness’s kids, so he could easily be a SJW who thought he was in with the movement but gets eliminated because he’s a white male.

    “I never f***ed anybody over didn’t have it coming to ‘em. And I got f***ing consent every time, Chico?”

    “All I have in this world is my gonads and my word, and I don’t break ‘em for nobody, without a safeword.”

    “Say hello to my LEETLE PERSON friend!”

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  • @Mr. Anon
    "Compared to The Godfather? Nothing beats The Godfather. Nothing."

    Compared to The Godfather? Yes. Goodfellas was much better. The Godfather wasn't an organized crime movie. It was grand opera without singing. The Godfather was probably as realistic a portrayal of the Mafia as Aida was about ancient Egypt.

    Organized crime is a business. Goodfellas actually was a movie about that business.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099685/quotes?item=qt0434780

    Henry Hill: All they got from Paulie was protection from other guys looking to rip them off. That’s what it’s all about. That’s what the FBI can never understand – that what Paulie and the organization offer is protection for the kinds of guys who can’t go to the cops. They’re like the police department for wiseguys.

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  • @Anonymous
    Powell's mention of "the River Tiber foaming with much blood" in his speech was taken from the Cumaean Sibyl's prophecy in Vergil's Aeneid. It was meant to indicate his sense of foreboding when contemplating a horrible future not as a call for massive bloodshed.

    not as a call for massive bloodshed.

    In both the Aeneid and Powell’s speech it wasn’t a call but it was a prediction.

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  • Organized crime is a business. Goodfellas actually was a movie about that business.

    I am proud to say I never watched even one iota of The Sopranos. After a Bronx Tale, Goodfellas, and Casino I am totally wopped out. Despite how good Mean Streets or Taxi Driver were I simply don’t watch anything with DeNiro or Pacino in it or anything Scorsese directs. And after that first foul-mouthed family scene of low-lifes in Crooklyn I walked out of the theater and will never watch a Spike Lee “joint” or any movie concerning Negroes again. As far as I’m concerned they’re blacked out.

    I don’t watch the Negro Basketball Association and the only reason I will watch the Super Bowl this year is in hope those sons of African natives will physically cripple Peyton Manning. I have hated the Broncos ever since that whiny bitch John Elway joined the organization.

    On second thought perhaps I’ll watch Zulu again instead.

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  • @Wilkey
    "Goodfellas is still the best organized crime movie though."

    Compared to The Godfather? Nothing beats The Godfather. Nothing.

    “Compared to The Godfather? Nothing beats The Godfather. Nothing.”

    Compared to The Godfather? Yes. Goodfellas was much better. The Godfather wasn’t an organized crime movie. It was grand opera without singing. The Godfather was probably as realistic a portrayal of the Mafia as Aida was about ancient Egypt.

    Organized crime is a business. Goodfellas actually was a movie about that business.

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    • Replies: @MEH 0910
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099685/quotes?item=qt0434780

    Henry Hill: All they got from Paulie was protection from other guys looking to rip them off. That's what it's all about. That's what the FBI can never understand - that what Paulie and the organization offer is protection for the kinds of guys who can't go to the cops. They're like the police department for wiseguys.
     
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  • @Anonymous
    Well the movie wasn't set in rural Minnesota or something. Minnesota has actually had a fairly sizeable Jewish community in the Twin Cities and suburban areas. Bob Dylan is from Minnesota, and they've had several Jewish politicians such as Paul Wellstone, Norm Coleman, and Al Franken.

    …they’ve had several Jewish politicians such as Paul Wellstone, Norm Coleman, and Al Franken.

    That Senate seat has been Jewish since 1978, when plywood purveyor Rudy Boschwitz won it, and got to seat himself early. The only break in the chain was when Lutheran Dean Barkley was appointed by Gov Ventura to fill out the last few weeks of Wellstone’s term.

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    • Replies: @SFG
    You're actually *from* Minnesota, right? How does that work, operationally? Never made any sense to me. I get it in New York, but Minnesota?
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @International Jew
    If he follows up by exhuming Powell's "river of blood" speech, then bye-bye Trump, I'm switching to Cruz:

    "When, President Obama, do you mean to cease abusing our patience?" Cruz asked. "How long is that madness of yours still to mock us? When is there to be an end to that unbridled audacity of yours, swaggering about as it does now?" He went on: "Shame on the age and on its lost principles. The senate is aware of these things; the senate sees them; and yet this man dictates by his pen and his phone. Dictates."

    If Cruz's words sound odd, it's because a Roman senator wrote them, albeit in classical Latin, in 63 B.C.
     

    http://www.newsweek.com/ted-cruz-cicero-418409

    Powell’s mention of “the River Tiber foaming with much blood” in his speech was taken from the Cumaean Sibyl’s prophecy in Vergil’s Aeneid. It was meant to indicate his sense of foreboding when contemplating a horrible future not as a call for massive bloodshed.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jacobite

    not as a call for massive bloodshed.
     
    In both the Aeneid and Powell's speech it wasn't a call but it was a prediction.
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  • Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @SFG
    That and I doubt Hollywood was quite as interested in corrupting morals as they were in making money.

    American movies are actually less sexy than the European ones, which doesn't make sense if you're trying to corrupt morals but does make sense if you're trying to make money selling to conservative people.

    Of course, conservative people like to be titillated sometimes too.

    “American movies are actually less sexy than the European ones, which doesn’t make sense if you’re trying to corrupt morals but does make sense if you’re trying to make money selling to conservative people.”

    But here’s a crucial difference.

    European films generally were ahead of Hollywood in sex, but the treatment tended to be more realistic whereas the Hollywood treatment, even when it showed less flesh, tended to be more salacious and teasy-weasy.

    Of course, Europe has its salacious stuff too, especially with Bardot.

    But many sexier European films of the 50s and 60s were closer to real-life situations whereas Hollywood treatment of sexy themes tended to bear no resemblance to reality.

    So, even when European films had sex, they weren’t necessarily sexy. They could even be somewhat grubby, like I AM CURIOUS.
    And LAST TANGO IN PARIS is not much of a turn-on. It is about sex as agony.

    Because US had a huge black population, it was probably more anxious and circumspect about unleashing sexual energies. But with the explosion of rock n roll and then finally rap and legalization of porn and with black takeover of sports, it’s a done deal now. White race has become a cuck race of the blacks.

    Now, the issue is no longer ‘will my daughter go with a Negro?’

    but

    ‘Will I have ‘racist’ feelings about my daughter going with a Negro? If I do, shame on me.’.

    Total cuckishiness. Shameful.

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  • @anon
    I really like their movies and I can tell from the trailer I'll like this.

    Over the years I've heard lots of analysis of their movies and motivations but to me they just like matte quirkiness - which I like also.

    "commies as bad guys"

    My guess is they'd portray them as clever-silly. I had to read a ton of Marxist stuff many years ago and the thing that struck me about it was how over complicated it all was. I think highly intelligent but non-mathematical / scientific people have little in the normal run of things that they find challenging so the ones who didn't like classical music or crosswords drifted to Marxism instead.

    I'd also guess the Clooney character not getting it isn't about being too dumb but about being too "what the f***?"

    It'll be interesting to see if guesses were right or not.

    "gay miller's crossing"

    never noticed - will have to look out for it next time i watch

    "science article about not race"

    All the people who've been saying for years that race is a social construct don't want race used as the label for continental scale population structure because it would make them look stupid.

    lolz

    “My guess is they’d portray them as clever-silly.”

    Yes.

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  • A great movie idear.

    Gangster Professor.

    Imagine Tony Montana as professor. He wouldn’t take no shi* from SJW.

    The ending could be spectacular!

    Read More
    • Replies: @SFG
    Actually, Tony's arc is that he's evil enough to be a druglord but not evil enough to kill a witness's kids, so he could easily be a SJW who thought he was in with the movement but gets eliminated because he's a white male.

    "I never f***ed anybody over didn't have it coming to 'em. And I got f***ing consent every time, Chico?"

    "All I have in this world is my gonads and my word, and I don't break 'em for nobody, without a safeword."

    "Say hello to my LEETLE PERSON friend!"
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Anon
    "Hollywood was degenerate from the beginning, it was the Catholic League who tried to control the Jewish-Marxists in Hollywood with the Code."

    This is why connies lose.

    A cultural policy based on 'you can't show this' will eventually lose to one based on 'we want to show this'.

    That and I doubt Hollywood was quite as interested in corrupting morals as they were in making money.

    American movies are actually less sexy than the European ones, which doesn’t make sense if you’re trying to corrupt morals but does make sense if you’re trying to make money selling to conservative people.

    Of course, conservative people like to be titillated sometimes too.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon
    "American movies are actually less sexy than the European ones, which doesn’t make sense if you’re trying to corrupt morals but does make sense if you’re trying to make money selling to conservative people."

    But here's a crucial difference.

    European films generally were ahead of Hollywood in sex, but the treatment tended to be more realistic whereas the Hollywood treatment, even when it showed less flesh, tended to be more salacious and teasy-weasy.

    Of course, Europe has its salacious stuff too, especially with Bardot.

    But many sexier European films of the 50s and 60s were closer to real-life situations whereas Hollywood treatment of sexy themes tended to bear no resemblance to reality.

    So, even when European films had sex, they weren't necessarily sexy. They could even be somewhat grubby, like I AM CURIOUS.
    And LAST TANGO IN PARIS is not much of a turn-on. It is about sex as agony.

    Because US had a huge black population, it was probably more anxious and circumspect about unleashing sexual energies. But with the explosion of rock n roll and then finally rap and legalization of porn and with black takeover of sports, it's a done deal now. White race has become a cuck race of the blacks.

    Now, the issue is no longer 'will my daughter go with a Negro?'

    but

    'Will I have 'racist' feelings about my daughter going with a Negro? If I do, shame on me.'.

    Total cuckishiness. Shameful.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • anon • Disclaimer says:

    I really like their movies and I can tell from the trailer I’ll like this.

    Over the years I’ve heard lots of analysis of their movies and motivations but to me they just like matte quirkiness – which I like also.

    “commies as bad guys”

    My guess is they’d portray them as clever-silly. I had to read a ton of Marxist stuff many years ago and the thing that struck me about it was how over complicated it all was. I think highly intelligent but non-mathematical / scientific people have little in the normal run of things that they find challenging so the ones who didn’t like classical music or crosswords drifted to Marxism instead.

    I’d also guess the Clooney character not getting it isn’t about being too dumb but about being too “what the f***?”

    It’ll be interesting to see if guesses were right or not.

    “gay miller’s crossing”

    never noticed – will have to look out for it next time i watch

    “science article about not race”

    All the people who’ve been saying for years that race is a social construct don’t want race used as the label for continental scale population structure because it would make them look stupid.

    lolz

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    "My guess is they’d portray them as clever-silly."

    Yes.

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  • @Kevin O'Keeffe
    Bolshevism is monstrous, of course, but I'm not impressed by a person's begrudging Kazan a lifetime achievement award in the year 1999 (keep in mind that then-President Ronald Reagan "presented him with the Kennedy Center honors award, a national tribute for lifetime achievement in the arts," in 1982). I saw "On the Waterefront" when I was a kid, but it didn't make much of an impression on my young self, but I recently saw (and soon thereafter, watched a second time) 1957's "A Face in the Crowd." Its arguably one of the best films of all time. It was pretty much worth a lifetime achievement, in and of itself. Oh, and it stars Andy Griffith of all people, as a villainous cad (who gave a masterful and haunting performance; there's a reason they gave that guy his own show for a decade).

    Andy Griffith was a great actor and he was able to cruise as a star in two shows in for two decades.

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    • Replies: @EriK
    Griffith was also a stand-up comedian (hat tip Iowahawk).
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yglCzRu9p4c
    , @syonredux

    Andy Griffith was a great actor and he was able to cruise as a star in two shows in for two decades.
     
    He was excellent in A Face in the Crowd:


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XaLQMs_VDLw

    , @Kevin O'Keeffe
    "Andy Griffith was a great actor and he was able to cruise as a star in two shows in for two decades."

    I'd forgotten about "Matlock," but yes, not many actors are able to carry two long-term weekly TV programs like that.
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  • @Mr. Anon
    "Recall DeNiro clapping heartily for the heroic Elia Kazan’s honorary Oscar while Nick Nolte and many others sat there stone-faced. You can forgive “Rocky and Bullwinkle” and at least one “Fockers” movie after that."

    Unfortunately I cannot forgive DeNiro for being in "The Mexican". Nor, for that matter, for every film he's made since "Heat". He has reached that same point that Jack Nicholson reached (and more recently Michael Caine) of just playing himself - not even bothering to act like he's someone else.

    He has reached that same point that Jack Nicholson reached (and more recently Michael Caine) of just playing himself – not even bothering to act like he’s someone else.

    They’re movie stars fer chrissakes! Nobody begrudges James Garner for having portrayed himself, nor Steve McQueen, Doris Day, Michael Caine, Marylin Monroe, John Wayne, Grace Kelly, William Powell, Katherine Hepburn, Charles Bronson, Lee Marvin etc. etc. etc.

    Not everyone has the wide-ranging talent of Jennifer Lawrence (Academy member!) Philip Seymour Hoffman, or Cate Blanchett.

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  • With a 17th Coen Brothers movie on the way this week, I return to an old question: How have the two middle-aged men gone over 30 years without the kind of public spats that are common among showbiz brothers (e.g., in rock music: the Everlys, the Davies of the Kinks, the Fogertys of Creedence, the...
  • @Father O'Hara
    You are a loser.

    “You are a loser”?

    LOL!

    Say that to the mirror on your wall.

    O masterful thinker, proving things with so little information!

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  • Hail, Caesar!, the Coen Brothers' latest movie, is a cheerful comedy about a busy week in 1951 at the fictitious Hollywood studio, Capitol Pictures, where their Barton Fink took place in 1941. That 1991 film told the story of Fink, a Clifford Odets-like Communist playwright (played by John Turturro) who becomes the toast of Manhattan's...
  • @Mr. Anon
    By "since" I meant after. Heat was an entertaining movie, although it was pretty ridiculous. I don't imagine there are any armed robbers who are that competent - practicing fire-and-cover advance with the precision of army rangers. And the notion that the cops wouldn't have busted a bunch of repeat-offenders when they had them red-handed breaking into a precious metals vault with fancy burglary tools and weapons is ludicrous. Pacino's character said something to the effect that they didn't have enough to nab them on. Huh? In California in the mid 90s (after three-strikes was enacted), they would have had enough to send them away forever.

    "Heat" didn't portray actual thieves - it portrayed how Michael Mann imagines he would have been if he had become a thief.

    I agree with you that Cassino was a good movie, and DeNiro did a good job in it, playing against type as a non-muscle kind of hood. In my opinion, Goodfellas is still the best organized crime movie though.

    “Goodfellas is still the best organized crime movie though.”

    Compared to The Godfather? Nothing beats The Godfather. Nothing.

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    • Agree: Jacobite
    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
    "Compared to The Godfather? Nothing beats The Godfather. Nothing."

    Compared to The Godfather? Yes. Goodfellas was much better. The Godfather wasn't an organized crime movie. It was grand opera without singing. The Godfather was probably as realistic a portrayal of the Mafia as Aida was about ancient Egypt.

    Organized crime is a business. Goodfellas actually was a movie about that business.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Chiron
    Hollywood was degenerate from the beginning, it was the Catholic League who tried to control the Jewish-Marxists in Hollywood with the Code.

    “Hollywood was degenerate from the beginning, it was the Catholic League who tried to control the Jewish-Marxists in Hollywood with the Code.”

    This is why connies lose.

    A cultural policy based on ‘you can’t show this’ will eventually lose to one based on ‘we want to show this’.

    Read More
    • Replies: @SFG
    That and I doubt Hollywood was quite as interested in corrupting morals as they were in making money.

    American movies are actually less sexy than the European ones, which doesn't make sense if you're trying to corrupt morals but does make sense if you're trying to make money selling to conservative people.

    Of course, conservative people like to be titillated sometimes too.
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  • @Immigrant from former USSR
    But at that time Stalin was preparing to take all the Europe, see
    http://www.amazon.com/Chief-Culprit-Stalins-Grand-Design/dp/1591148065/

    Sure, but did he really communicate those orders to his dupe Churchill? “Attack Hitler before I do to soften him up for me!” I could see Communist Party groups doing that, but Churchill?

    A lot of the antisemitic types seem to see the world as either being divided into dupes or enemies of Jews. The only thing I’m going to say is A) the world is not that simple and the Jews are not that powerful and B) if it were true…well, the dupes seem to be doing a little better than the enemies now, eh? The USA is the world’s sole remaining superpower, and Nazi Germany is a nasty memory. Even the USSR fell. So either it outlived its usefulness to the Elders of Zion, or…

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  • @Wilkey
    Hail, Caesar! wasn’t rushed out in time for 2015 Oscar qualifying.

    Damn. I so would've loved to see Ed Harris and Amy Madigan sitting there with their bitch faces on refusing to clap. I might've actually bothered to watch. Oh well.

    Bolshevism is monstrous, of course, but I’m not impressed by a person’s begrudging Kazan a lifetime achievement award in the year 1999 (keep in mind that then-President Ronald Reagan “presented him with the Kennedy Center honors award, a national tribute for lifetime achievement in the arts,” in 1982). I saw “On the Waterefront” when I was a kid, but it didn’t make much of an impression on my young self, but I recently saw (and soon thereafter, watched a second time) 1957′s “A Face in the Crowd.” Its arguably one of the best films of all time. It was pretty much worth a lifetime achievement, in and of itself. Oh, and it stars Andy Griffith of all people, as a villainous cad (who gave a masterful and haunting performance; there’s a reason they gave that guy his own show for a decade).

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    • Replies: @Jacobite
    Andy Griffith was a great actor and he was able to cruise as a star in two shows in for two decades.
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  • @syonredux

    Turturro’s character is a fundamentally good tribemember
     
    No, he's not. The Coens make it quite clear that he's a no-talent ideologue. Cf how he can't seem to write anything except variations on his terrible agit-prop play, Bare Ruined Choirs. And then there's the vile studio boss, Jack Lipnick....

    And Miller's Crossing also has Bernie Bernbaum, easily the most reprehensible character in the film.

    Remind me where being a tribemember in good standing is violated by talentlessness. Come to think of it no, don’t remind me, rather forward that information to ninety per cent of all Jewish entertainers ever.

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  • @Rob McX
    The BBC and others are making damn sure there's no escape from the multicultural nightmare, not even in fiction. Any complaints from the plebs and they can make medieval Nottingham look like Haiti if they wish.

    Also, a lot of good films have been remade seemingly with no other purpose than to switch more of the characters from white to non-white, e.g. The Taking of Pelham 123.

    The BBC and others are making damn sure there’s no escape from the multicultural nightmare, not even in fiction. Any complaints from the plebs and they can make medieval Nottingham look like Haiti if they wish.

    Check out the cast for the BBC’s Dickensian:

    Artful Dodger

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/profiles/5dHw6Vhyq2TFVcyjghSh4Ln/dodger

    Nell

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/profiles/5fJTcwmKWftGw4GspXPWRpw/nell

    For the benefit of those who haven’t seen it, it’s essentially Charles Dickens fan fiction. What if characters from various Dickens novels inhabited the same fictional universe? Naturally, the “progressives” who run the BBC have decided that some of the characters will have to be Black. We wouldn’t want all that glaring Whiteness to offend anyone…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dickensian_(TV_series)

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  • With a 17th Coen Brothers movie on the way this week, I return to an old question: How have the two middle-aged men gone over 30 years without the kind of public spats that are common among showbiz brothers (e.g., in rock music: the Everlys, the Davies of the Kinks, the Fogertys of Creedence, the...
  • @Anonymous
    "How have the two middle-aged men gone over 30 years without the kind of public spats that are common among showbiz brothers (e.g., in rock music: the Everlys, the Davies of the Kinks, the Fogertys of Creedence, the Gallaghers of Oasis, etc etc)."

    You just mentioned four Irish names. Irish siblings are notorious for beating the crap out of each other while they are growing up. Irish mothers deliberately play their children off each other to see who is the strongest and the brightest. Rarely do they keep it secret which child they love best.

    My brother and I fought like cats and dogs and my mother tried to discourage it.

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  • Hail, Caesar!, the Coen Brothers' latest movie, is a cheerful comedy about a busy week in 1951 at the fictitious Hollywood studio, Capitol Pictures, where their Barton Fink took place in 1941. That 1991 film told the story of Fink, a Clifford Odets-like Communist playwright (played by John Turturro) who becomes the toast of Manhattan's...
  • Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer
    "The Conformist" is good by itself, and very interesting for it's obvious influence on 1970s American movies. I've never seen an analysis of the role of ethnic pride in 1970s Italian-American directing and acting, but I have to imagine that a lot of Italian-Americans saw Italian films like The Conformist and gained confidence that they could do something that stylish too.

    “I have to imagine that a lot of Italian-Americans saw Italian films like The Conformist and gained confidence that they could do something that stylish too.”

    Not really. Yes, there was the arty and intellectual Italian-American community that produced film-makers and writers.

    But for the most part, the Italian-American community was made up of goomy-goombas.

    I’d wager Italian-American cinema had more influence on Jews and others than on Italian-Americans, most of whom would prefer SOPRANOS and JERSEY WHORE.

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  • @Senator Brundlefly
    There isn't really any direct lampooning of McCarthyism, more lampooning of the pathetic nature of the New Leftists. They are led by an effete Aryan homosexual, kidnap a buffoon, and ultimately their Soviet handlers don't give a damn about them or their accomplishments. Really I felt the movie had a conservative subtext, showing reverence for Old Hollywood'd ability to occasionally have deep, meaningful messages like the Roman before Christ in the movie within a movie. Granted, there were many trials to get that scene made as the old Catholic straight arrow had to deal with the sins of Hollywood (Leftist upstarters, fornication, homosexual scandals, cigarettes), but it beat dealing with the harbingers of the apocalypse (Lockheed and the H-bomb). The scene gets made because of good, salt of the earth men like Mannix and Hobie Doyle.

    Old Hollywood’d ability to occasionally have deep, meaningful messages like the Roman before Christ in the movie within a movie. Granted, there were many trials to get that scene made

    Present-day Hollywood retains that (occasional) ability, along with the trials.

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  • @Sean

    Coen’s Catholic flick to go along with their Jewish movie,
     
    The Jewish movie was set in Minnesota.The new one is apparently set in a Hollywood run by the Catholic hierarchy. That's entertainment!

    Well the movie wasn’t set in rural Minnesota or something. Minnesota has actually had a fairly sizeable Jewish community in the Twin Cities and suburban areas. Bob Dylan is from Minnesota, and they’ve had several Jewish politicians such as Paul Wellstone, Norm Coleman, and Al Franken.

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    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    …they’ve had several Jewish politicians such as Paul Wellstone, Norm Coleman, and Al Franken.
     
    That Senate seat has been Jewish since 1978, when plywood purveyor Rudy Boschwitz won it, and got to seat himself early. The only break in the chain was when Lutheran Dean Barkley was appointed by Gov Ventura to fill out the last few weeks of Wellstone's term.
    , @Sean
    Not forgetting https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kid_Cann who controlled politics by funding campiagns and choose the police comissioners, dispite having shot upitty cop James H. Trepanier in the spine, paralyzing him for life. Newspapers simply did not report what was going on.

    “I don’t think Minnesota is ready for a gentile in this seat.”

    That’s comedian Al Franken’s standard joke about the fact that the Senate seat in Minnesota for which he’s running has been occupied by a Jew for the past 30 years. That streak should continue///
     

    Serious Man was about the future of the Jewish community. Kevin MacDonald on the film:

    If all Jews were like Larry Gupnik, the ADL would be out of business and the Israel lobby would grind to a halt. Not a bad outcome at all. But, as Beinart notes, in the real world, the more conservative branches of Judaism are thriving and are projected to be a large and increasingly dominant segment of the American Jewish community. Quite a few Jewish children are not bored with Hebrew school, and they are the ones who are having the children.
     
    In the final analysis the bros' films are deceptively downbeat about the future of the Jewish community. The idea of Catholics as such having influence within Hollywood of any era is quite entertaining, but apart from JFK's dad how many producers were RC, or even Christian? In the period the film is set it is very misleading. Hearst had some real influence, but he made common cause with the studio moguls against socialist candidates and strikes.
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  • @Romanian
    At least in British TV series, you can't go to some distant past and escape diversity. Plenty of African yeomen in Robin Hood's time or some other generic medieval setting.

    The BBC and others are making damn sure there’s no escape from the multicultural nightmare, not even in fiction. Any complaints from the plebs and they can make medieval Nottingham look like Haiti if they wish.

    Also, a lot of good films have been remade seemingly with no other purpose than to switch more of the characters from white to non-white, e.g. The Taking of Pelham 123.

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    • Replies: @syonredux

    The BBC and others are making damn sure there’s no escape from the multicultural nightmare, not even in fiction. Any complaints from the plebs and they can make medieval Nottingham look like Haiti if they wish.
     
    Check out the cast for the BBC's Dickensian:

    Artful Dodger

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/profiles/5dHw6Vhyq2TFVcyjghSh4Ln/dodger

    Nell

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/profiles/5fJTcwmKWftGw4GspXPWRpw/nell

    For the benefit of those who haven't seen it, it's essentially Charles Dickens fan fiction. What if characters from various Dickens novels inhabited the same fictional universe? Naturally, the "progressives" who run the BBC have decided that some of the characters will have to be Black. We wouldn't want all that glaring Whiteness to offend anyone...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dickensian_(TV_series)

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  • Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @bomag
    So they actually made the Commies the bad guys?

    Hard to believe. Is this some kind of sea change? This is mainstream Hollywood, where the memo is that the various trans/gay/questioning/racial/ethnic/gender groups have been oppressed via reactionary politics and a revolution is needed to throw the yoke of oppression off of the truly meritocratic people of this land who are capable of building a wonderful society once the wrong people are replaced.

    Maybe our politics will catch up someday. Meanwhile, I have to listen to Bernie and Hillary try to top each other over who can promise the most free stuff.

    “So they actually made the Commies the bad guys?”

    “Hard to believe. Is this some kind of sea change?”

    There have been plenty of movies where commies are the bad guys.

    It all depends on the context. If it’s a case of US vs commies, Hollywood was mostly pro-US and anti-commie.
    But if it was anti-communists vs fellow travelers(especially if Jewish), then Hollywood was for the latter.

    Both modes sort of rear up in BRIDGE OF SPIES. I only saw the first half last night and I will finish it tonight. So far, it’s pretty entertaining but doesn’t quite work because it’s like Norman Rockwell meets John Le Carre. (THE CONSPIRATORS directed by Redford is far more interesting.) Spielberg is too populist for the dark corridor of politics and psychology. Oliver Stone could have handled this much better, at least if in the manner of NIXON. JFK became stupid because of Capra-isms. It made us wonder, “if the world is so dark and filled with demons, how is it this total saint with Boy Scout virtues possible?” Conspiracy theories are dark thoughts about dark reality. It needs a noir-ish quality, but with Costner reprising his UNTOUCHABLE role, it’s more like Hardy Boys & Nancy Drew vs military-industrial complex. Ludicrous, especially as it culminates in Hardy Boy vs funny fruit.

    Spielberg is essentially boy-at-heart and, despite his filmic mastery, never quite convincing with dark material. It only works when the story moves ‘inadvertently’ into dark territory, as in A.I. where the conceit of innocence is sustained throughout the descent into hell.
    If Spielberg is unconvincing when dealing directly with darkness and corruption(there’s always a point where he pulls the punches and reboots Norman-Rockwellian cliches), Stone is unconvincing with sunniness and idealism. His worldview is so dark and warped that when he trots out the goody-goody characters like Martin Sheen as working class dad in WALL STREET or Costner as Elliot Ness Garrison in JFK, it comes across as sham. We don’t buy it. It’s like someone saying the entire world is under heavy stormy clouds but claiming to see sunlight shining through. This is why NIXON works so well. It is darkness within darkness, the riddle-mystery-enigma thing.

    I finally saw the second half of MARTIAN. First half wasn’t very intelligent but sort of made you feel intelligent because it had stuff about botany and NASA politics.
    Second half makes you feel totally ridiculous, though I must say most of it is unintentionally funny. Or, maybe it was intentionally funny. I can’t see Scott or any of the actors doing the second half with a straight face. The Negro genius kid who demonstrates his theory by running around with pen. Only thing missing from the scene was a basketball.
    And then, to flatter the Chinese audience, China offers helps US to Save Private Pootato-eater. And it just so happens that the fat Chinaman of NASA is what? The nephew of some bigshot in China?
    And then the pricking the thumb and playing Ironman… by this point, it was just trolling and self-parody as film-making.

    I saw the first half of WOLF SCROTUM and it’s a good-looking movie. Annaud was usually all eyes and not much else. Sort of a Chinese DANCES WITH WOLVES(or maybe NEVER CRY WOLF) that tries to push further than Hollywood but hasn’t the guts to push hard enough to offend the powers-that-be. Still, interesting that China was okay with Annaud making this. He made SEVEN YRS IN TIBET, which the Chinese government didn’t like too much.
    Annaud has a way with animals. His BEAR was rollicky fun, but it over-anthropomorphized the cub. Thankfully, there’s less of that in WOLF SCROTUM. Still, the wolves are presented as too ‘knowing’, and the movie is so sweeping that the whole thing blows over like a typhoon. The first half is loud and spectacular so far, but it’s the sort of movie where nothing happens unless something BIG is happening.
    I still say the most interesting wolf movie is WOLFEN which I saw long ago and got under my skin like few movies. It’s like wolfy version of BLADE RUNNER.

    Coens. I began to reassess them with O BROTHER WHERE ART THOU, a real masterpiece. Finally a Coen movie I loved without reservation.

    It was apparent from the beginning that the Coens had talent and wide knowledge of movie history. And I enjoyed Blood Simple. But it was like a film school movie, something lots of critics took notice of. RAISING ARIZONA has plenty of fireworks, bu without the ruckus and the noise, it is nothing. It just loony tunes as feature film. Cartoons work best in 5 min slots. (Lack of substance doesn’t matter with a movie like ROAD WARRIOR which is like Little Rascals on steroids. But RAISING ARIZONA does offer characters who develop into nothing.)
    And then I ignored his subsequent films until FARGO was released to ecstatic reviews. FARGO is certainly engaging and even offers food for thought, but the cultural conceit didn’t work for me. It seemed ‘serious’ enough but was mostly parody.
    It’s like SAVING PRIVATE RYAN. The action scenes are terrific and the story works if you want to believe in it. But if you don’t, it turns into hokum. A truly serious movie becomes richer the more you think about it. But a sham-serious movie falls apart the more you think about it. And SAVING PRIVATE RYAN falls apart under any kind of mental scrutiny. To the extent that it has to be taken on faith, it has more in common with CLOSE ENCOUNTERS than truly adult war movies.

    FARGO struck me was straight cultural farce than genuine drama. NO SIMPLE PLAN worked better as drama, though it isn’t necessarily a better film. FARGO is very enjoyable but not very convincing.
    But it’s sort of interesting cuz it can be seen on two levels. It’s like Sarah Palin. The small-town dopes might see her as a good patriot. But city folks see her as walking-talking comedy. FARGO can be seen as a drama(by simple folks) about a heroic small town cop or a black comedy(by ‘sophisticates’) about a ‘good’ woman who is as psychotic in her morality as the killer is in his amorality. Just as the psycho killer can never grasp what morality is about, she cannot understand what evil is about. She got the bad guy but will never ‘get’ him. Her morality is ‘sociopathically’ closed to all other possibilities.
    This is why the scene where she has an epiphany is sort of amazing. She is the type of person who never ever had to think outside the box for reasons both psychological and social. She is of the personality type that lacks imagination and empathy. And she lived in a small town all her life.
    So, it is like a miracle moment when she connects the sort of dots that her kind almost never do and sees beyond her psychological and cultural limitations. It’s the one time in her life when she was truly an individual and free-thinking person.

    Anyway, Coens-as-serious-filmmakers faced some of the same problems as Spielberg-as-serious-director. They can do ‘serious’ and make it convincing enough but on the surface without getting to the substance. I can admire stuff like SCHINDLER, SAVING, FARGO, and NO COUNTRY, but I don’t really buy them.

    Coens in their original incarnation were too silly and smart-ass. Then, as serious film-makers, they were too inhibiting of their natural talents.
    Damned if they do, damned if they don’t… at least in my eyes.
    If they go with the natural flow, too silly and clever. If they work in the vein of serious film-makers, too strained and pretentious.

    But O BROTHER obliterated these distinctions because it was no-holds-barred crazy like their earlier films but immersed in genuine feeling for weird America. And even as O BROTHER borrowed from other movies — like all of Coens’ early films did — , it touched ground with the reality that inspired those movies in the first place. It’s not just a movie assembled of other movies but assembled of other movies and the weird reality that inspired them. O BROTHER isn’t strong on characterization, but that’s acceptable in a musical-comedy.

    Because I really dug O BROTHER, I caught up with some earlier Coen films that I had ignored. BARTON FINK is certainly special, even singular. It’s too clever at times and cluttered with familiar movie references, but there’s something genuinely sick and perverted about it, like in David Lynch films. (I think maybe CHASING SLEEP was sort of inspired by it.)
    I didn’t care for BIG LEBOWSKI the first time. The wily cast of minor characters struck me as the usual Coen repertory company of cranky weirdos. (When weirdness becomes familiar, it’s like soda got flat. I mean how many times has John Goodman played the crazy nut in a Coen movie?) But upon recent re-viewing, I realized Jeff Bridges as Lebowski is one of the most memorable performances in the past 30 yrs. It is iconic. The movie works because he works.
    The role could easily have been a bundle of cliches because American movies never lacked for the grubby slacker type without nothing to lose and nothing to gain. I think Kael labeled such characters as the ‘shaggy man’, and Bridges as Lebowski played the ultimate shaggy man hero. It’s an amazing performance and has enough centrifugal weight to hold all the silly weirdo stuff in its orbit. In contrast, a movie like RAISING ARIZONA is so lacking in center that everything flies off in all directions.

    TRUE GRIT didn’t work for me because I didn’t buy Bridges as the fat cowboy with one eye.

    But MILLER’S CROSSING. Didn’t like it on first viewing long ago. Too many obvious references to old movies. The lines were good but too clever and too referential to Old Hollywood. Mere imitation sprinkled with some foul language. And why must a Coen movie have a fat guy screaming like mad like in a Looney Tunes cartoon?
    Also, the visual style mostly copped from other movies. It was done very well, but I didn’t see much originality.

    But seeing it again, I enjoyed a lot more, and it had to do with Albert Finney and Gabriel Byrne. Despite all the hamfisted visuals and film-school-clever-dialogue, the two men rise above it all and come off as grand. They save the movie.

    And I think Coens came to realize this over the yrs. Yes, they are a couple of very clever, at times even brilliant, Jewish kids. They have encyclopedic knowledge of cinema and mastered most of the tricks of the trade. They can be pomo and cutting-edge. But all said and done, all suck trickery work best in the service of something bigger and more substantive, like the heroic archetype, the grand patriarch, and the romance. Spice needs the meat. It’s like Woody Allen’s admiration for Bergman. Coens are like Marx Brothers who learned to love John Ford… straight.

    I think TRUE GRIT was made in this vein… but it didn’t work.

    And in a way, perhaps unwittingly so, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN is like a commentary on Coen’s generation of film-makers who have lost the way of the Old Masters. It’s like what Tommy Lee Jones says at the end. A terrifying vision of world without guidance of the older and experienced. A world of young punks just blasting at each other with nothing on their minds but money and ego. This could be said for so many young film-makers with their fast-and-furious nihilism of money and violence and sex.

    In contrast, while the old masters were hardly men of virtue, they did respect hierarchy, experience, and knowledge that may age into wisdom. John Ford vs Tarantino is like blues man vs rapper. Something has been lost with the cult of the new. Now, Tarantino may think he is paying tribute to old masters, but his utter lack of sense and moral compass does them a disservice. But he did make one moving tribute to the old master archetype: the Dennis Hopper scene in TRUE ROMANCE. A older man of honor holds his own and dies grandly after getting the last word.

    Finney is truly grand in MILLER’S CROSSING. It’s hard not to feel love for him, and his presence explains and redeems Byrne’s ultimate actions.

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  • @Anonymous
    The Coens' acknowledged photographic inspiration for Miller's Crossing is Bertolucci's 1970 Italian movie The Conformist. That movie's gay Fascist collaborator protagonist probably served as inspiration for Tom in Miller's Crossing, right down to his woodsy moral reckoning.

    For comparison:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OcmJx3DvjLE

    Although a remarkable film visually, I found Il Conformista to be kind of childish. Marcello became a fascist because he was buggered by the family chauffeur. Okay, whatever.

    The Fascist = closted-gay thing used to be a common trope among left-wing writers and film-makers. Oliver Stone mined it heavily in “JFK”, for example. Dalton Trumbo did too, in “Spartacus”. It was a way of heaping insult upon them: They’re not only fascists, they’re homos. Dirty, rotten fascist queers!

    Of course it’s not so popular now, as homosexuality is openly celebrated in the West, and homosexuals in the past have been retconned into poor put-upon champions of social justice.

    Actually, one could just as easily take the opposite tack in films – that communists and their fellow-travelers are inclined to be homosexuals. There are plenty of historical examples, certainly among post WWI cultural marxists.

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  • @Clyde

    Unfortunately I cannot forgive DeNiro for being in “The Mexican”. Nor, for that matter, for every film he’s made since “Heat”.
     
    Heat and Casino were his best movies. I can do without the others. Heat is in my top five movies. Written, directed by Michael Mann. All the main actors were flawless.

    By “since” I meant after. Heat was an entertaining movie, although it was pretty ridiculous. I don’t imagine there are any armed robbers who are that competent – practicing fire-and-cover advance with the precision of army rangers. And the notion that the cops wouldn’t have busted a bunch of repeat-offenders when they had them red-handed breaking into a precious metals vault with fancy burglary tools and weapons is ludicrous. Pacino’s character said something to the effect that they didn’t have enough to nab them on. Huh? In California in the mid 90s (after three-strikes was enacted), they would have had enough to send them away forever.

    “Heat” didn’t portray actual thieves – it portrayed how Michael Mann imagines he would have been if he had become a thief.

    I agree with you that Cassino was a good movie, and DeNiro did a good job in it, playing against type as a non-muscle kind of hood. In my opinion, Goodfellas is still the best organized crime movie though.

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    • Replies: @Wilkey
    "Goodfellas is still the best organized crime movie though."

    Compared to The Godfather? Nothing beats The Godfather. Nothing.
    , @Clyde
    I never noticed those holes in the plot for Heat. They are reasonable use of artistic license and much less than the inconsistent plots many/most of today's action movies have. They might as well be a string of impressionistic scenes tied together by background music, car chases and explosions.
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  • With a 17th Coen Brothers movie on the way this week, I return to an old question: How have the two middle-aged men gone over 30 years without the kind of public spats that are common among showbiz brothers (e.g., in rock music: the Everlys, the Davies of the Kinks, the Fogertys of Creedence, the...
  • Tarantino was an only child.

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  • Hail, Caesar!, the Coen Brothers' latest movie, is a cheerful comedy about a busy week in 1951 at the fictitious Hollywood studio, Capitol Pictures, where their Barton Fink took place in 1941. That 1991 film told the story of Fink, a Clifford Odets-like Communist playwright (played by John Turturro) who becomes the toast of Manhattan's...
  • @J1234
    I didn't know that. Amazing. Just a little research shows you're correct. I remember hearing that the movie departed from reality, but not in that respect. It appears that even the movie's more prominent critics weren't willing to put fabricated McCarthyism on it's list of sins.

    I discovered that fact quite by accident—by reading the book. I liked the movie and thought Russell Crowe did a great job as John Nash, even though he bore little resemblance to the real John Nash. I saw the movie before reading the book. I bought the book because I enjoyed the movie so much. The one odd thing that struck me as I was watching the movie was why the Pentagon would hire a “game theorist” to decipher “encrypted enemy telecommunications,” but I passed it off until I read the book (finely written btw) and discovered the major discrepancy between the real-life Nash and the movie version of Nash. You would think that some reviewer would have noted this major discrepancy, but none did, as far as I know. Check out Roger Ebert’s review: http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/a-beautiful-mind-2001
    A.O. Scott for the NY Times expressed concern over aspects of Nash’s story (brought out in the book by a former NY Times writer) that the movie failed to address but curiously did not allude at all to the major discrepancy of Nash’s delusions: http://www.nytimes.com/2001/12/21/movies/21MIND.html

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  • @Jus' Sayin'...
    I missed The Conformist . Now I'm going to have to watch it. Verhoeven's Silence looks pretty compelling too.

    “The Conformist” is good by itself, and very interesting for it’s obvious influence on 1970s American movies. I’ve never seen an analysis of the role of ethnic pride in 1970s Italian-American directing and acting, but I have to imagine that a lot of Italian-Americans saw Italian films like The Conformist and gained confidence that they could do something that stylish too.

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    • Replies: @Anon
    "I have to imagine that a lot of Italian-Americans saw Italian films like The Conformist and gained confidence that they could do something that stylish too."

    Not really. Yes, there was the arty and intellectual Italian-American community that produced film-makers and writers.

    But for the most part, the Italian-American community was made up of goomy-goombas.

    I'd wager Italian-American cinema had more influence on Jews and others than on Italian-Americans, most of whom would prefer SOPRANOS and JERSEY WHORE.
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  • Coen’s Catholic flick to go along with their Jewish movie,

    The Jewish movie was set in Minnesota.The new one is apparently set in a Hollywood run by the Catholic hierarchy. That’s entertainment!

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Well the movie wasn't set in rural Minnesota or something. Minnesota has actually had a fairly sizeable Jewish community in the Twin Cities and suburban areas. Bob Dylan is from Minnesota, and they've had several Jewish politicians such as Paul Wellstone, Norm Coleman, and Al Franken.
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  • @tbraton
    "I’ll reserve judgement on Hail Caesar until I see it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the “anti-communist” theme was done as a comedy to make the whole premise seem silly, to one degree or another."

    A few months back, I posted a message on a Karlin thread re the fine movie "A Beautiful Mind" starring Russell Crowe as the schizophrenic math genius John Nash who helped create "game theory" back in the 50's and was later awarded a Nobel Prize for his work. http://www.unz.com/akarlin/syria-and-the-three-wars/#comment-1171930 I advanced a theory that the movie changed John Nash's delusions about communicating with aliens from outer space (per reality according to the book on which the movie was based) to delusions about imaginary Communists (per the movie) as part of Hollywood's plan to minimize the reality of Communist penetration of Hollywood, i.e., "to make the whole premise seem silly, to one degree or another." Of course, that great change in a central fact of John Nash's actual life necessitated other minor changes, such as his working for the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. instead of the RAND Corp. in California, the Pentagon hiring an expert in the new field of "game theory" to crack "encrypted enemy telecommunications," and to invent nonexistent characters to further the story and a shootout on the campus of MIT in Cambridge, Mass. I share your skepticism when it comes to Hollywood.

    I didn’t know that. Amazing. Just a little research shows you’re correct. I remember hearing that the movie departed from reality, but not in that respect. It appears that even the movie’s more prominent critics weren’t willing to put fabricated McCarthyism on it’s list of sins.

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    • Replies: @tbraton
    I discovered that fact quite by accident---by reading the book. I liked the movie and thought Russell Crowe did a great job as John Nash, even though he bore little resemblance to the real John Nash. I saw the movie before reading the book. I bought the book because I enjoyed the movie so much. The one odd thing that struck me as I was watching the movie was why the Pentagon would hire a "game theorist" to decipher "encrypted enemy telecommunications," but I passed it off until I read the book (finely written btw) and discovered the major discrepancy between the real-life Nash and the movie version of Nash. You would think that some reviewer would have noted this major discrepancy, but none did, as far as I know. Check out Roger Ebert's review: http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/a-beautiful-mind-2001
    A.O. Scott for the NY Times expressed concern over aspects of Nash's story (brought out in the book by a former NY Times writer) that the movie failed to address but curiously did not allude at all to the major discrepancy of Nash's delusions: http://www.nytimes.com/2001/12/21/movies/21MIND.html
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  • @J1234
    They need to do a movie about the Hollywood Anti-Nazi League, which was started as a communist front by Soviet operative, Otto Katz. And not as a comedy. I'll reserve judgement on Hail Caesar until I see it, but I wouldn't be surprised if the "anti-communist" theme was done as a comedy to make the whole premise seem silly, to one degree or another.

    There isn’t really any direct lampooning of McCarthyism, more lampooning of the pathetic nature of the New Leftists. They are led by an effete Aryan homosexual, kidnap a buffoon, and ultimately their Soviet handlers don’t give a damn about them or their accomplishments. Really I felt the movie had a conservative subtext, showing reverence for Old Hollywood’d ability to occasionally have deep, meaningful messages like the Roman before Christ in the movie within a movie. Granted, there were many trials to get that scene made as the old Catholic straight arrow had to deal with the sins of Hollywood (Leftist upstarters, fornication, homosexual scandals, cigarettes), but it beat dealing with the harbingers of the apocalypse (Lockheed and the H-bomb). The scene gets made because of good, salt of the earth men like Mannix and Hobie Doyle.

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    • Replies: @Desiderius

    Old Hollywood’d ability to occasionally have deep, meaningful messages like the Roman before Christ in the movie within a movie. Granted, there were many trials to get that scene made
     
    Present-day Hollywood retains that (occasional) ability, along with the trials.
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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    I saw Hail Caesar! last night. I will not be as respectful and nice as Sailor. The movie sucked donkey balls. It was awful. My wife and I fell asleep at points. At best it might be seen as cleverly amusing if you had a lot of interest in Hollywood during the McCarthy era and the Red Scare, and had read up on it.

    I’m so sick of debased schlock. I wish Gentiles would get back into the movie-making business. Not only is money the root of life evil, apparently it’s also the root of the vulgarization of art and literature in Western civilization.

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  • I know our host’s host (The Unz!) doesn’t like a plethora of pinatas, or quick comments, so I’m bundling my thanks to cthulhu, syonredux, Jus’ Sayin’ for a nice discussion of “Miller’s Crossing.” I will disagree with Jus’ Sayin’ about Tom and Verna—–I think he really loved her, and as for Tom’s being unable to bed her when he wasn’t, as he said, “stinko,” well he was pretty much stinko for the whole movie. (I thought that was part of the joke, like the many beatings he took and the way he was always losing his hat.)

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  • @International Jew

    The USSR wasn’t even at war with Hitler at the time.
     
    That

    But at that time Stalin was preparing to take all the Europe, see

    http://www.amazon.com/Chief-Culprit-Stalins-Grand-Design/dp/1591148065/

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    • Replies: @SFG
    Sure, but did he really communicate those orders to his dupe Churchill? "Attack Hitler before I do to soften him up for me!" I could see Communist Party groups doing that, but Churchill?

    A lot of the antisemitic types seem to see the world as either being divided into dupes or enemies of Jews. The only thing I'm going to say is A) the world is not that simple and the Jews are not that powerful and B) if it were true...well, the dupes seem to be doing a little better than the enemies now, eh? The USA is the world's sole remaining superpower, and Nazi Germany is a nasty memory. Even the USSR fell. So either it outlived its usefulness to the Elders of Zion, or...

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  • @SFG
    Churchill went to war with Hitler because he was a Communist dupe?

    The USSR wasn't even at war with Hitler at the time. More likely Churchill was afraid Germany was going to take over Europe and then try to invade the UK...which sits right off the European coast.

    Sorry, in the real world geopolitics has more than two sides.

    The USSR wasn’t even at war with Hitler at the time.

    That

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    • Replies: @Immigrant from former USSR
    But at that time Stalin was preparing to take all the Europe, see
    http://www.amazon.com/Chief-Culprit-Stalins-Grand-Design/dp/1591148065/
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  • @snorlax
    No, but he was certainly something of a useful idiot (albeit much less of one than anyone on the American side). And he owed his premiership to (at the time, the outright Soviet-aligned) Labour and a handful of left-leaning Tory rebels.

    Should we have fought in WWII, and why we fought, are two entirely different questions. Personally, I find the latter far more interesting than the former.

    Churchill went to war with Hitler because he was a Communist dupe?

    The USSR wasn’t even at war with Hitler at the time. More likely Churchill was afraid Germany was going to take over Europe and then try to invade the UK…which sits right off the European coast.

    Sorry, in the real world geopolitics has more than two sides.

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    • Replies: @International Jew

    The USSR wasn’t even at war with Hitler at the time.
     
    That
    , @ben tillman

    The USSR wasn’t even at war with Hitler at the time.
     
    But the USSR had done exactly what the Nazi regime had done: invade Poland.
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  • @Anonymous
    The Coens' acknowledged photographic inspiration for Miller's Crossing is Bertolucci's 1970 Italian movie The Conformist. That movie's gay Fascist collaborator protagonist probably served as inspiration for Tom in Miller's Crossing, right down to his woodsy moral reckoning.

    For comparison:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OcmJx3DvjLE

    I missed The Conformist . Now I’m going to have to watch it. Verhoeven’s Silence looks pretty compelling too.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    "The Conformist" is good by itself, and very interesting for it's obvious influence on 1970s American movies. I've never seen an analysis of the role of ethnic pride in 1970s Italian-American directing and acting, but I have to imagine that a lot of Italian-Americans saw Italian films like The Conformist and gained confidence that they could do something that stylish too.
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  • @J1234
    They need to do a movie about the Hollywood Anti-Nazi League, which was started as a communist front by Soviet operative, Otto Katz. And not as a comedy. I'll reserve judgement on Hail Caesar until I see it, but I wouldn't be surprised if the "anti-communist" theme was done as a comedy to make the whole premise seem silly, to one degree or another.

    “I’ll reserve judgement on Hail Caesar until I see it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the “anti-communist” theme was done as a comedy to make the whole premise seem silly, to one degree or another.”

    A few months back, I posted a message on a Karlin thread re the fine movie “A Beautiful Mind” starring Russell Crowe as the schizophrenic math genius John Nash who helped create “game theory” back in the 50′s and was later awarded a Nobel Prize for his work. http://www.unz.com/akarlin/syria-and-the-three-wars/#comment-1171930 I advanced a theory that the movie changed John Nash’s delusions about communicating with aliens from outer space (per reality according to the book on which the movie was based) to delusions about imaginary Communists (per the movie) as part of Hollywood’s plan to minimize the reality of Communist penetration of Hollywood, i.e., “to make the whole premise seem silly, to one degree or another.” Of course, that great change in a central fact of John Nash’s actual life necessitated other minor changes, such as his working for the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. instead of the RAND Corp. in California, the Pentagon hiring an expert in the new field of “game theory” to crack “encrypted enemy telecommunications,” and to invent nonexistent characters to further the story and a shootout on the campus of MIT in Cambridge, Mass. I share your skepticism when it comes to Hollywood.

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    • Replies: @J1234
    I didn't know that. Amazing. Just a little research shows you're correct. I remember hearing that the movie departed from reality, but not in that respect. It appears that even the movie's more prominent critics weren't willing to put fabricated McCarthyism on it's list of sins.
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  • @jjbees
    Is 1950's Hollywood really more interesting than our modern day world?

    This is more evidence that my theory is correct: Hollywood prefers to make movies about the distant past because it is the only way to avoid diversity. It is creative white flight.

    Can't wait for more lame, uncreative movies about vikings and marco polo and what writing screenplays were like a couple decades before the immivasion.

    At least in British TV series, you can’t go to some distant past and escape diversity. Plenty of African yeomen in Robin Hood’s time or some other generic medieval setting.

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    • Replies: @Rob McX
    The BBC and others are making damn sure there's no escape from the multicultural nightmare, not even in fiction. Any complaints from the plebs and they can make medieval Nottingham look like Haiti if they wish.

    Also, a lot of good films have been remade seemingly with no other purpose than to switch more of the characters from white to non-white, e.g. The Taking of Pelham 123.

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  • @5371
    Just for your information, institutions that were "outright Soviet-aligned" did not support Britain or France going to war with Germany in September 1939.

    But it’s funny how FDR and Eleanor were fond of the CPUSA even during the period of the Hitler-Stalin Pact. FDR sicced J. Edgar Hoover on all the other anti-interventionists. See the book, J. Edgar Hoover and the Anti-interventionists: FBI Political Surveillance and the Rise of the Domestic Security State, 1939–1945, written by a conventional liberal academic.

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  • @snorlax
    No, but he was certainly something of a useful idiot (albeit much less of one than anyone on the American side). And he owed his premiership to (at the time, the outright Soviet-aligned) Labour and a handful of left-leaning Tory rebels.

    Should we have fought in WWII, and why we fought, are two entirely different questions. Personally, I find the latter far more interesting than the former.

    Just for your information, institutions that were “outright Soviet-aligned” did not support Britain or France going to war with Germany in September 1939.

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    • Replies: @fnn
    But it's funny how FDR and Eleanor were fond of the CPUSA even during the period of the Hitler-Stalin Pact. FDR sicced J. Edgar Hoover on all the other anti-interventionists. See the book, J. Edgar Hoover and the Anti-interventionists: FBI Political Surveillance and the Rise of the Domestic Security State, 1939–1945, written by a conventional liberal academic.
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  • @cthulhu
    If you go back to the source material for Miller's Crossing (Dashiell Hammett), you will find plenty of homosexuality; Hammett was a man of the world, he didn't sanitize such things.

    That being said, I find the hypothesis that Tom had a crush on Leo to be quite unconvincing.

    The Coens’ acknowledged photographic inspiration for Miller’s Crossing is Bertolucci’s 1970 Italian movie The Conformist. That movie’s gay Fascist collaborator protagonist probably served as inspiration for Tom in Miller’s Crossing, right down to his woodsy moral reckoning.

    For comparison:

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    • Replies: @Jus' Sayin'...
    I missed The Conformist . Now I'm going to have to watch it. Verhoeven's Silence looks pretty compelling too.
    , @Mr. Anon
    Although a remarkable film visually, I found Il Conformista to be kind of childish. Marcello became a fascist because he was buggered by the family chauffeur. Okay, whatever.

    The Fascist = closted-gay thing used to be a common trope among left-wing writers and film-makers. Oliver Stone mined it heavily in "JFK", for example. Dalton Trumbo did too, in "Spartacus". It was a way of heaping insult upon them: They're not only fascists, they're homos. Dirty, rotten fascist queers!

    Of course it's not so popular now, as homosexuality is openly celebrated in the West, and homosexuals in the past have been retconned into poor put-upon champions of social justice.

    Actually, one could just as easily take the opposite tack in films - that communists and their fellow-travelers are inclined to be homosexuals. There are plenty of historical examples, certainly among post WWI cultural marxists.
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  • @Mr. Anon
    "Recall DeNiro clapping heartily for the heroic Elia Kazan’s honorary Oscar while Nick Nolte and many others sat there stone-faced. You can forgive “Rocky and Bullwinkle” and at least one “Fockers” movie after that."

    Unfortunately I cannot forgive DeNiro for being in "The Mexican". Nor, for that matter, for every film he's made since "Heat". He has reached that same point that Jack Nicholson reached (and more recently Michael Caine) of just playing himself - not even bothering to act like he's someone else.

    Unfortunately I cannot forgive DeNiro for being in “The Mexican”. Nor, for that matter, for every film he’s made since “Heat”.

    Heat and Casino were his best movies. I can do without the others. Heat is in my top five movies. Written, directed by Michael Mann. All the main actors were flawless.

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    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
    By "since" I meant after. Heat was an entertaining movie, although it was pretty ridiculous. I don't imagine there are any armed robbers who are that competent - practicing fire-and-cover advance with the precision of army rangers. And the notion that the cops wouldn't have busted a bunch of repeat-offenders when they had them red-handed breaking into a precious metals vault with fancy burglary tools and weapons is ludicrous. Pacino's character said something to the effect that they didn't have enough to nab them on. Huh? In California in the mid 90s (after three-strikes was enacted), they would have had enough to send them away forever.

    "Heat" didn't portray actual thieves - it portrayed how Michael Mann imagines he would have been if he had become a thief.

    I agree with you that Cassino was a good movie, and DeNiro did a good job in it, playing against type as a non-muscle kind of hood. In my opinion, Goodfellas is still the best organized crime movie though.
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  • @International Jew

    WWII was fought to save Communism from destruction
     
    Churchill was hardly a Communist sympathiser.

    No, but he was certainly something of a useful idiot (albeit much less of one than anyone on the American side). And he owed his premiership to (at the time, the outright Soviet-aligned) Labour and a handful of left-leaning Tory rebels.

    Should we have fought in WWII, and why we fought, are two entirely different questions. Personally, I find the latter far more interesting than the former.

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    • Replies: @5371
    Just for your information, institutions that were "outright Soviet-aligned" did not support Britain or France going to war with Germany in September 1939.
    , @SFG
    Churchill went to war with Hitler because he was a Communist dupe?

    The USSR wasn't even at war with Hitler at the time. More likely Churchill was afraid Germany was going to take over Europe and then try to invade the UK...which sits right off the European coast.

    Sorry, in the real world geopolitics has more than two sides.
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  • @Steve Sailer
    I think she kinda did. "The Way We Were" is an odd movie in that it seems really stupid at times, but then surprises you with something smart. And vice-versa. Streisand might have seen her character's personality as a challenge to overcome through starpower. Or something.

    A lot of talent went into that movie, but also a lot of arguments and wrongheadedness. For example, in retrospect it's clear that the theme song carries the movie, almost the way "As Time Goes By" carries "Casablanca." But the original final cut of the movie didn't end with Streisand singing the theme song over the credits. The theme song was just used instrumentally. The movie flopped at a test screening. The composer Marvin Hamlisch asked to record Streisand singing his song so at least people would walk out humming the tune. But the money men wouldn't put up the money for a recording session, so Hamlisch paid out of his own pocket, which probably saved the movie.

    It’s been a number of years since I saw “The Way We Were” but I think Babs sang over the opening credits/montage.

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  • @Mr. Anon
    "Recall DeNiro clapping heartily for the heroic Elia Kazan’s honorary Oscar while Nick Nolte and many others sat there stone-faced. You can forgive “Rocky and Bullwinkle” and at least one “Fockers” movie after that."

    Unfortunately I cannot forgive DeNiro for being in "The Mexican". Nor, for that matter, for every film he's made since "Heat". He has reached that same point that Jack Nicholson reached (and more recently Michael Caine) of just playing himself - not even bothering to act like he's someone else.

    Nor, for that matter, for every film he’s made since “Heat”.

    He was very good in Being Flynn.

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  • @Mr. Anon
    "We’ve seen this period portrayed a million times from the point of view of the subpoenaed screenwriters (e.g., Redford and Streisand in The Way We Were),"

    I caught a little bit of that movie the other day. Did Streisand realize how unappealing that character was? She came across as a shrill, humorless, commie bitch.

    I think she kinda did. “The Way We Were” is an odd movie in that it seems really stupid at times, but then surprises you with something smart. And vice-versa. Streisand might have seen her character’s personality as a challenge to overcome through starpower. Or something.

    A lot of talent went into that movie, but also a lot of arguments and wrongheadedness. For example, in retrospect it’s clear that the theme song carries the movie, almost the way “As Time Goes By” carries “Casablanca.” But the original final cut of the movie didn’t end with Streisand singing the theme song over the credits. The theme song was just used instrumentally. The movie flopped at a test screening. The composer Marvin Hamlisch asked to record Streisand singing his song so at least people would walk out humming the tune. But the money men wouldn’t put up the money for a recording session, so Hamlisch paid out of his own pocket, which probably saved the movie.

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    • Replies: @FPD72
    It's been a number of years since I saw "The Way We Were" but I think Babs sang over the opening credits/montage.
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  • @Bugg
    Recall DeNiro clapping heartily for the heroic Elia Kazan's honorary Oscar while Nick Nolte and many others sat there stone-faced. You can forgive "Rocky and Bullwinkle" and at least one "Fockers" movie after that.

    “Recall DeNiro clapping heartily for the heroic Elia Kazan’s honorary Oscar while Nick Nolte and many others sat there stone-faced. You can forgive “Rocky and Bullwinkle” and at least one “Fockers” movie after that.”

    Unfortunately I cannot forgive DeNiro for being in “The Mexican”. Nor, for that matter, for every film he’s made since “Heat”. He has reached that same point that Jack Nicholson reached (and more recently Michael Caine) of just playing himself – not even bothering to act like he’s someone else.

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    • Agree: Jim Don Bob
    • Replies: @Desiderius

    Nor, for that matter, for every film he’s made since “Heat”.
     
    He was very good in Being Flynn.
    , @Clyde

    Unfortunately I cannot forgive DeNiro for being in “The Mexican”. Nor, for that matter, for every film he’s made since “Heat”.
     
    Heat and Casino were his best movies. I can do without the others. Heat is in my top five movies. Written, directed by Michael Mann. All the main actors were flawless.
    , @Jacobite

    He has reached that same point that Jack Nicholson reached (and more recently Michael Caine) of just playing himself – not even bothering to act like he’s someone else.
     
    They're movie stars fer chrissakes! Nobody begrudges James Garner for having portrayed himself, nor Steve McQueen, Doris Day, Michael Caine, Marylin Monroe, John Wayne, Grace Kelly, William Powell, Katherine Hepburn, Charles Bronson, Lee Marvin etc. etc. etc.

    Not everyone has the wide-ranging talent of Jennifer Lawrence (Academy member!) Philip Seymour Hoffman, or Cate Blanchett.
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  • @Steve Sailer
    Miller's Crossing is very James M. Cain inspired. Cain tried hard to be straight, but the great tragedy of his life was that he was obsessed with his mother's profession, opera singer, but didn't quite have the talent to make it so he had to go into journalism, novels, and screenwriting.

    cthulhu is right. Miller’s Crossing is more akin to Hammett’s “Red Harvest”, the story which also inspired Kurasawa’s “Yojimbo”, Leone’s “A Fist Full of Dollars”, and Walter Hill’s “Last Man Standing”. I haven’t read “The Glass Key”, but I’ll take cthulhu’s word that it also served as an inspiration.

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  • “We’ve seen this period portrayed a million times from the point of view of the subpoenaed screenwriters (e.g., Redford and Streisand in The Way We Were),”

    I caught a little bit of that movie the other day. Did Streisand realize how unappealing that character was? She came across as a shrill, humorless, commie bitch.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    I think she kinda did. "The Way We Were" is an odd movie in that it seems really stupid at times, but then surprises you with something smart. And vice-versa. Streisand might have seen her character's personality as a challenge to overcome through starpower. Or something.

    A lot of talent went into that movie, but also a lot of arguments and wrongheadedness. For example, in retrospect it's clear that the theme song carries the movie, almost the way "As Time Goes By" carries "Casablanca." But the original final cut of the movie didn't end with Streisand singing the theme song over the credits. The theme song was just used instrumentally. The movie flopped at a test screening. The composer Marvin Hamlisch asked to record Streisand singing his song so at least people would walk out humming the tune. But the money men wouldn't put up the money for a recording session, so Hamlisch paid out of his own pocket, which probably saved the movie.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • With a 17th Coen Brothers movie on the way this week, I return to an old question: How have the two middle-aged men gone over 30 years without the kind of public spats that are common among showbiz brothers (e.g., in rock music: the Everlys, the Davies of the Kinks, the Fogertys of Creedence, the...
  • @Siblings
    Well OK, but there is a difference between comedy in the arts and finding a joke, witty remark, or gesture funny, which is what I responded to. Do you consider humor to be so contingent on biological sex, that there is humor that will completely fly over my female brain or your male brain? Sex differences may influence our propensity to find different things funny or less funny, but it would take a particularly cold, humorless woman not to see the humor (and pathos) in Gran Torino. As for The Three Stooges, Americans do that physical-bordering-on-violent, increasingly chaotic comedy so well, but it wouldn't be considered that funny everywhere. Comedy and humor are highly cotingent on culture, but gender? I'm not convinced, and in any case, I insist we need not overanalyze why and how a man makes a woman laugh, or vice versa.

    Well OK, but there is a difference between comedy in the arts and finding a joke, witty remark, or gesture funny, which is what I responded to.

    Good art gets reality right when that’s what it is about, as that scene is. Those were jokes, witty remarks, and gestures, and the average woman would be calling the local neighborhood thought police if men tried any of that with her around.

    Do you consider humor to be so contingent on biological sex, that there is humor that will completely fly over my female brain or your male brain?

    Of course. Over, under, around – don’t get value judgements mixed up in here. Who are you gonna believe, your own life experience or what some diversity workshop tells you you’re supposed to?

    I’m not convinced, and in any case, I insist we need not overanalyze why and how a man makes a woman laugh, or vice versa.

    Heh, keep insisting all you like. We’ll carry on as before.

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  • Hail, Caesar!, the Coen Brothers' latest movie, is a cheerful comedy about a busy week in 1951 at the fictitious Hollywood studio, Capitol Pictures, where their Barton Fink took place in 1941. That 1991 film told the story of Fink, a Clifford Odets-like Communist playwright (played by John Turturro) who becomes the toast of Manhattan's...
  • @Anonymous
    Odysseus is a crafty hero who relies on his wits to return home. It has a modern sensibility, which is why you can make a modern version of it starring George Clooney as a witty rogue going on an adventure. Whereas you can't really update The Iliad except as a cheesy action movie.

    Moderns* only thought they invented cleverness (and everything else), they didn’t actually do so. Odysseus isn’t modern, he’s timeless.

    Likewise, the Illiad doesn’t need updated – it’s timeless too.

    * – They did invent “OMG, I can’t even, don’t you know it’s CURRENT_YEAR!?!?,” so they had that going for them.

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  • @Steve Sailer
    Miller's Crossing is very James M. Cain inspired. Cain tried hard to be straight, but the great tragedy of his life was that he was obsessed with his mother's profession, opera singer, but didn't quite have the talent to make it so he had to go into journalism, novels, and screenwriting.

    Miller’s Crossing is very James M. Cain inspired

    No, no, no, no, no. It’s pure Hammett. See my comment #66.

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  • @Kevin O'Keeffe
    "He’s connected to every homosexual in the movie and knows all details of the seething homosexual ferment in Millers Crossing to which most of the straights in the movie seem oblivious."

    You can put me down as a straight man who never had any idea there was any "seething homosexual ferment" in Miller's Crossing. Frankly, I'm a bit skeptical of your assertion, but if you want to back it up with some examples, I'm all ears.

    If you go back to the source material for Miller’s Crossing (Dashiell Hammett), you will find plenty of homosexuality; Hammett was a man of the world, he didn’t sanitize such things.

    That being said, I find the hypothesis that Tom had a crush on Leo to be quite unconvincing.

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    The Coens' acknowledged photographic inspiration for Miller's Crossing is Bertolucci's 1970 Italian movie The Conformist. That movie's gay Fascist collaborator protagonist probably served as inspiration for Tom in Miller's Crossing, right down to his woodsy moral reckoning.

    For comparison:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OcmJx3DvjLE
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  • @J.Ross
    John Goodman as a recently escaped ex-con who holds his cigarette like a dilletante discussing Pollock is ironic and pejorative, not nuance-catching broadmindedness.
    Nicolas Cage as a cartoon redneck speaking like an (albeit accented) English major is ironic and pejorative, not nuance-catching broadmindedness.
    John Goodman showing John Turturro the Life of the Mind overlaps issues of pretentious snobbery and the clash of Hemingwayan and older styles of speech, but that's to make it not so obviously a Purim play. Turturro's character is a fundamentally good tribemember and Goodman's is a hostile animal who lies, turns violent at the first opportunity, and destroys everything that Turturro's character loves except fishmongers. If anything it shows that the Turturros of the world at worst are just mildly annoying and the Goodmans of the nations at worst are Satanic.
    And so forth.
    You can enjoy the feast of the enemy with proper mental discipline, but remember who it was cooked for.

    Turturro’s character is a fundamentally good tribemember

    No, he’s not. The Coens make it quite clear that he’s a no-talent ideologue. Cf how he can’t seem to write anything except variations on his terrible agit-prop play, Bare Ruined Choirs. And then there’s the vile studio boss, Jack Lipnick….

    And Miller’s Crossing also has Bernie Bernbaum, easily the most reprehensible character in the film.

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    • Replies: @J.Ross
    Remind me where being a tribemember in good standing is violated by talentlessness. Come to think of it no, don't remind me, rather forward that information to ninety per cent of all Jewish entertainers ever.
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  • With a 17th Coen Brothers movie on the way this week, I return to an old question: How have the two middle-aged men gone over 30 years without the kind of public spats that are common among showbiz brothers (e.g., in rock music: the Everlys, the Davies of the Kinks, the Fogertys of Creedence, the...
  • @guest
    Do most famous comedians look like they'd have been in the In Crowd in high school. As I heard someone put it once, women say they desire men with a good sense of humor, then they just laugh at whatever the hot guys say.

    Do most famous comedians look like they’d have been in the In Crowd in high school.

    Donald O’Connor and Dick Van Dyke were classmates in Danville, along with jazz singer Bobby Short, who was fun, if not funny. I would’ve liked to have been in that crowd, “in” or not.

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  • Hail, Caesar!, the Coen Brothers' latest movie, is a cheerful comedy about a busy week in 1951 at the fictitious Hollywood studio, Capitol Pictures, where their Barton Fink took place in 1941. That 1991 film told the story of Fink, a Clifford Odets-like Communist playwright (played by John Turturro) who becomes the toast of Manhattan's...
  • @shrinker
    Miller's has a different era in mind, I think, more of an homage to the lurid pre-war gangster flicks (e.g. the cheesy hard-boiled lines like, "The old man's still an artist with a Thompson").

    I'm, uh, not so sure why Steve homed in on the Catholic identitarianism here... But I haven't seen Brolin's portrayal yet. Incidentally Jack Warner was pretty damned anti-Communist, along other Jewish moguls; and it seems like there was a bunch of goy commies around in the 40s like Hammett and Trumbo (albeit a relatively small clique, not the agenda-setting type of WASP liberal Republican exemplified by a Henry Fonda)

    Miller’s has a different era in mind, I think, more of an homage to the lurid pre-war gangster flicks (e.g. the cheesy hard-boiled lines like, “The old man’s still an artist with a Thompson”).

    Miller’s Crossing is the Coens’ homage to Dashiell Hammett – specifically The Glass Key, usually considered to be Hammett’s masterpiece (although I confess that I’m partial to The Maltese Falcon myself), with a dash of Red Harvest thrown in for good measure. It’s not really based on the movies of the era.

    For those keeping count, Miller’s Crossing is the second in the Coens’ hard-boiled author homage trilogy: their first feature, Blood Simple, is based on James M. Cain’s work, and The Big Lebowski is of course a warped retelling of Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep. For the record, I found The Big Lebowski hilarious in the theatrical first run.

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  • @Hunsdon
    PS: Any discussion of Miller's Crossing could probably benefit from acknowledging it's undoubted debt to Dashiell Hammett (Hollywood commie!), since Miller's Crossing is about half and half inspired by The Glass Key and Red Harvest.

    PS: Any discussion of Miller’s Crossing could probably benefit from acknowledging it’s undoubted debt to Dashiell Hammett (Hollywood commie!), since Miller’s Crossing is about half and half inspired by The Glass Key and Red Harvest.

    Yeah. An important theme in The Glass Key is the friendship between Ned Beaumont (the model for Tom) and Paul Madvig(the model for Leo). I certainly don’t recall noticing any homosexual aspects to Ned. Plus, Ned is the novel’s protagonist. Hammett reserved homosexuality for his villains (cf how Casper Gutman, Joel Cairo, and Wilmer in The Maltese Falcon are all Gay).

    Now, that doesn’t mean that the Coens didn’t add a homosexual dimension to Tom. Miller’s Crossing is far from an exact adaptation of The Glass Key, after all. However, it certainly doesn’t add support to the theory…

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  • @Senator Brundlefly
    The Coens anti-white? Most of my favorite movies of theirs have working class white people as the heroes. Unless for some reason you were upset at the Coens portraying the KKK as evil goofballs, O Brother Where Art Thou? presented the South in a respectable light. Despite being lower class, most characters spoke wittily with a King James Bible vocabulary. Hell the movie spawned a Grammy winning album full of American Folk music, a true art of Scots-Irish southerners . (Inside Llewyn Davis also has an awesome soundtrack btw). Fargo has one of my favorite heroines and portrays a simple working class white (if you insist of viewing everything critically through a political lens like leftists) middle aged woman as a hero without resorting to making her an Ellen Ripley clone like the rest of modern cinema does with female heroes. Plus, if you have to interpret a meaning out of The Big Lebowski, it seemed to me to be about the ludicrousness of the New World Order (referenced with Bush's speech in the beginning) of post-modernist feminists (Julianne Moore), posturing plutocrats (old man Lebowski and his little urban achievers), and nihilists (say what you will about National Socialism, but at least its an ethos). The movie instead hopes that we take comfort in the existence of simpletons like the Dude, for like the earth in Eccleciastes, the dude abides. If the Coens show disdain towards any group consistently, its stuck up intellectuals. In Barton Fink John Goodman dramatically calls out the eponymous pretentious little screenwriter for being a self absorbed asshole the whole movie. Inside Llewyn Davis is the story of a folk singer who never makes it big because, like Barton Fink, he's a self absorbed asshole who views himself as some grand artist instead of an entertainer. How can any conservative dislike that?

    John Goodman as a recently escaped ex-con who holds his cigarette like a dilletante discussing Pollock is ironic and pejorative, not nuance-catching broadmindedness.
    Nicolas Cage as a cartoon redneck speaking like an (albeit accented) English major is ironic and pejorative, not nuance-catching broadmindedness.
    John Goodman showing John Turturro the Life of the Mind overlaps issues of pretentious snobbery and the clash of Hemingwayan and older styles of speech, but that’s to make it not so obviously a Purim play. Turturro’s character is a fundamentally good tribemember and Goodman’s is a hostile animal who lies, turns violent at the first opportunity, and destroys everything that Turturro’s character loves except fishmongers. If anything it shows that the Turturros of the world at worst are just mildly annoying and the Goodmans of the nations at worst are Satanic.
    And so forth.
    You can enjoy the feast of the enemy with proper mental discipline, but remember who it was cooked for.

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    • Replies: @syonredux

    Turturro’s character is a fundamentally good tribemember
     
    No, he's not. The Coens make it quite clear that he's a no-talent ideologue. Cf how he can't seem to write anything except variations on his terrible agit-prop play, Bare Ruined Choirs. And then there's the vile studio boss, Jack Lipnick....

    And Miller's Crossing also has Bernie Bernbaum, easily the most reprehensible character in the film.
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  • @Kevin O'Keeffe
    I've been waiting over two months to see this, but will probably have to wait another week, because this Sunday, I'm going to see a screening of Hitchcock's "To Catch a Thief" (which I've never seen), and on Monday, my girlfriend wants to see that damn Coast Guard movie, alas.

    "...suffer from the anhedonia..."

    That one got me running to Wiktionary, but it meant exactly what I suspected it meant, based on its being derived from the same root as "hedonism," with the prefix "an-" denoting a lack thereof.

    It’s actually a semi-insider-baseball reference to an early (?) Woody Allen flick where he’s explaining the latest diagnosis by his shrink.

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  • @Wilkey
    Hail, Caesar! wasn’t rushed out in time for 2015 Oscar qualifying.

    Damn. I so would've loved to see Ed Harris and Amy Madigan sitting there with their bitch faces on refusing to clap. I might've actually bothered to watch. Oh well.

    Recall DeNiro clapping heartily for the heroic Elia Kazan’s honorary Oscar while Nick Nolte and many others sat there stone-faced. You can forgive “Rocky and Bullwinkle” and at least one “Fockers” movie after that.

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    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
    "Recall DeNiro clapping heartily for the heroic Elia Kazan’s honorary Oscar while Nick Nolte and many others sat there stone-faced. You can forgive “Rocky and Bullwinkle” and at least one “Fockers” movie after that."

    Unfortunately I cannot forgive DeNiro for being in "The Mexican". Nor, for that matter, for every film he's made since "Heat". He has reached that same point that Jack Nicholson reached (and more recently Michael Caine) of just playing himself - not even bothering to act like he's someone else.
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  • Is Reagan (Gabriel Byrne) supposed to be American or Irish in Miller’s Crossing? His accent doesn’t sound too good to me if he’s meant to be American.

    I Googled this and as soon as I’d typed “miller’s crossing char” “miller’s crossing gay characters” popped up, so there’s obviously been some speculation about the homosexual thing.

    In the light of the Bernie Bernbaum character (Tarturro), it’s lucky for the Coens that they’re Jewish, or there’d always be mutterings about anti-Semitism whenever the film is mentioned. You can’t get a much worse form of chutzpah than blackmailing your would-be assassin because he took pity on you and spared your life.

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  • @Jus' Sayin'...
    I'm not saying Leo is homosexual or even aware of Tom's crush on him. One of the ironies of the movie is how oblivious both Caspar and Leo are to so much of what is going on around them.

    The suggestions that Tom is a homosexual are subtle. One is that he is an associate and acquaintance of all the homosexual characters in the movie and knows all their hidden intrigues. Another is his relationship with Verna. Scenes in the movie make it pretty clear that although Verna is interested in Tom, Tom is not interested in her. Any physical intimacy - if there is any - apparently occurs only when Tom is dead drunk. Finally, the closing scenes in the movie show that Tom is devastated and bereft after giving Leo back control of the town. Leo's marriage to Verna shouldn't affect Tom as strongly as it does unless Tom has some very powerful feelings towards Leo that he now has to give up. Tom has no interest in Verna but Verna has shut Tom out of Leo's life in an irreparable way. It is her final revenge on Tom for Bernie's death. The fade away from the utterly bereft Tom at the end of Miller's Crossing is one of trhe movie's most powerful images.

    It is beyond me how such obvious elements of the movie seem to have escaped the notice of so many critics and fans.

    Miller’s Crossing is very James M. Cain inspired. Cain tried hard to be straight, but the great tragedy of his life was that he was obsessed with his mother’s profession, opera singer, but didn’t quite have the talent to make it so he had to go into journalism, novels, and screenwriting.

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    • Replies: @cthulhu


    Miller's Crossing is very James M. Cain inspired

     

    No, no, no, no, no. It's pure Hammett. See my comment #66.
    , @Mr. Anon
    cthulhu is right. Miller's Crossing is more akin to Hammett's "Red Harvest", the story which also inspired Kurasawa's "Yojimbo", Leone's "A Fist Full of Dollars", and Walter Hill's "Last Man Standing". I haven't read "The Glass Key", but I'll take cthulhu's word that it also served as an inspiration.
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  • @Hunsdon
    PS: Any discussion of Miller's Crossing could probably benefit from acknowledging it's undoubted debt to Dashiell Hammett (Hollywood commie!), since Miller's Crossing is about half and half inspired by The Glass Key and Red Harvest.

    I’ll admit that I was unaware of this when I first saw the movie but learned of it later. I now appreciate that this is another important dimension of the movie. Thanks for reminding me. Like most good art, this movie has many layersw of meaning and interest.

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  • @Darwin's Sh-tlist
    There's a really good podcast about old Hollywood called "You Must Remember This" that recently did an episode about Mannix. Heck of a character. Worth checking out.

    Mannix was played by the late Bob Hoskins in the George Reeves’ biopic “Hollywoodland.”

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  • @Hunsdon
    You don't mention Leo's obvious love and affection for Tom? Dude, not all manly love is sexual. Tom and Leo loved each other, admittedly, and without reservation. Was it a sexual love? A romantic love? Or just the love of men who'd worked and built something great together, men from different generations? Kind of a father-son or uncle-nephew thing?

    I'm certainly willing to consider the idea, but it's not one that I'm willing to initially accept. Miller's Crossing is on the very short list of my very favoritest of films, and also on the short list of what I'd consider great films (the two lists don't always overlap, I won't pretend "Big Trouble in Little China" is a great film).

    I’m not saying Leo is homosexual or even aware of Tom’s crush on him. One of the ironies of the movie is how oblivious both Caspar and Leo are to so much of what is going on around them.

    The suggestions that Tom is a homosexual are subtle. One is that he is an associate and acquaintance of all the homosexual characters in the movie and knows all their hidden intrigues. Another is his relationship with Verna. Scenes in the movie make it pretty clear that although Verna is interested in Tom, Tom is not interested in her. Any physical intimacy – if there is any – apparently occurs only when Tom is dead drunk. Finally, the closing scenes in the movie show that Tom is devastated and bereft after giving Leo back control of the town. Leo’s marriage to Verna shouldn’t affect Tom as strongly as it does unless Tom has some very powerful feelings towards Leo that he now has to give up. Tom has no interest in Verna but Verna has shut Tom out of Leo’s life in an irreparable way. It is her final revenge on Tom for Bernie’s death. The fade away from the utterly bereft Tom at the end of Miller’s Crossing is one of trhe movie’s most powerful images.

    It is beyond me how such obvious elements of the movie seem to have escaped the notice of so many critics and fans.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Miller's Crossing is very James M. Cain inspired. Cain tried hard to be straight, but the great tragedy of his life was that he was obsessed with his mother's profession, opera singer, but didn't quite have the talent to make it so he had to go into journalism, novels, and screenwriting.
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  • @Kevin O'Keeffe
    "He’s connected to every homosexual in the movie and knows all details of the seething homosexual ferment in Millers Crossing to which most of the straights in the movie seem oblivious."

    You can put me down as a straight man who never had any idea there was any "seething homosexual ferment" in Miller's Crossing. Frankly, I'm a bit skeptical of your assertion, but if you want to back it up with some examples, I'm all ears.

    Okay: The war between Leo and Johnny Caspar starts because someone is learning what the fix is in Caspar’s boxing matches and betting accordingly thus cutting into Caspar’s profits. (This is the irony behind Caspar’s opening lecture on “ethics”.) We learn much later that Mink and Bernie Bernbaum are homosexual lovers and this is their racket. Mink is the insider in Caspar’s gang and Bernie is making the bets. Mink is also the Dane’s lover. The Dane is Caspar’s enforcer. Bernie kills Mink and, because the Dane is unsure who did this, turns the Dane into a loose cannon. The Dane’s rant about Mink in front of Johnny Caspar is what convinces Caspar that Tom is telling him the truth and Dane is a traitor. This is what causes Caspar to kill his loyal enforcer and ultimate weapon in the war between Caspar and Leo, a war which Tom has instigated to eliminate Caspar and give his boss, Tom, control of Miller’s Crossing. With the Dane out of the way Caspar is doomed. All of this is laid out clearly in various dialogues within the movie. If you’ve missed this I can’t help you.

    Tom’s homosexuality and his hopeless infatuation with Leo is more subtle. But it’s Tom’s only reasonable motive for doing what he does. Although Verna is chasing Tom, Tom shows no interest in her. He has to be dead drunk to even share a bed with her. If you missed the other stuff, you’ll never get this.

    An amusing wink at the audience is when Albert Finney (not his Leo character) goes in drag for the scene where Tom is beaten by a woman in a women’s bathroom.

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  • @Jus' Sayin'...
    A misinterpretation. Its more of a generic roaring twenties mob movie with a special twist that the mobs in question are seething with homosexual intrigues. I invite you to consider the following: The plot appears to be driven -- and in fact is entirely driven -- by homosexual liaisons of one sort or another, e.g., Bernie and Mink, Mink and the Dane and, as the astute viewer eventually realizes, Tom's unrequited fixation on Leo. Is Tom a homosexual? The clues are pretty obvious. He's connected to every homosexual in the movie and knows all details of the seething homosexual ferment in Millers Crossing to which most of the straights in the movie seem oblivious. He never actually gets it on with Verna except maybe when he's drunk out of his mind and he certainly never acts from any tenderness towards her. The last scene in the movie is a fade on the crushed Tom as Leo walks away from him and into his new marriage.

    BTW, I'm firmly heterosexual and socially conservative but this is perhaps my all-time favorite movie, not least for Carter Burwell's lush and brilliant musical score. I've probably seen this movie a dozen times. The first time the homosexual content registered but didn't seem that important. Subsequent viewings have convinced me that this is an essential - maybe the essential - aspect of the movie that aside from artistic quality makes it a uniquely Coen Brothers movie.

    PS: Any discussion of Miller’s Crossing could probably benefit from acknowledging it’s undoubted debt to Dashiell Hammett (Hollywood commie!), since Miller’s Crossing is about half and half inspired by The Glass Key and Red Harvest.

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    • Replies: @Jus' Sayin'...
    I'll admit that I was unaware of this when I first saw the movie but learned of it later. I now appreciate that this is another important dimension of the movie. Thanks for reminding me. Like most good art, this movie has many layersw of meaning and interest.
    , @syonredux

    PS: Any discussion of Miller’s Crossing could probably benefit from acknowledging it’s undoubted debt to Dashiell Hammett (Hollywood commie!), since Miller’s Crossing is about half and half inspired by The Glass Key and Red Harvest.
     
    Yeah. An important theme in The Glass Key is the friendship between Ned Beaumont (the model for Tom) and Paul Madvig(the model for Leo). I certainly don't recall noticing any homosexual aspects to Ned. Plus, Ned is the novel's protagonist. Hammett reserved homosexuality for his villains (cf how Casper Gutman, Joel Cairo, and Wilmer in The Maltese Falcon are all Gay).

    Now, that doesn't mean that the Coens didn't add a homosexual dimension to Tom. Miller's Crossing is far from an exact adaptation of The Glass Key, after all. However, it certainly doesn't add support to the theory...

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  • @Jus' Sayin'...
    A misinterpretation. Its more of a generic roaring twenties mob movie with a special twist that the mobs in question are seething with homosexual intrigues. I invite you to consider the following: The plot appears to be driven -- and in fact is entirely driven -- by homosexual liaisons of one sort or another, e.g., Bernie and Mink, Mink and the Dane and, as the astute viewer eventually realizes, Tom's unrequited fixation on Leo. Is Tom a homosexual? The clues are pretty obvious. He's connected to every homosexual in the movie and knows all details of the seething homosexual ferment in Millers Crossing to which most of the straights in the movie seem oblivious. He never actually gets it on with Verna except maybe when he's drunk out of his mind and he certainly never acts from any tenderness towards her. The last scene in the movie is a fade on the crushed Tom as Leo walks away from him and into his new marriage.

    BTW, I'm firmly heterosexual and socially conservative but this is perhaps my all-time favorite movie, not least for Carter Burwell's lush and brilliant musical score. I've probably seen this movie a dozen times. The first time the homosexual content registered but didn't seem that important. Subsequent viewings have convinced me that this is an essential - maybe the essential - aspect of the movie that aside from artistic quality makes it a uniquely Coen Brothers movie.

    You don’t mention Leo’s obvious love and affection for Tom? Dude, not all manly love is sexual. Tom and Leo loved each other, admittedly, and without reservation. Was it a sexual love? A romantic love? Or just the love of men who’d worked and built something great together, men from different generations? Kind of a father-son or uncle-nephew thing?

    I’m certainly willing to consider the idea, but it’s not one that I’m willing to initially accept. Miller’s Crossing is on the very short list of my very favoritest of films, and also on the short list of what I’d consider great films (the two lists don’t always overlap, I won’t pretend “Big Trouble in Little China” is a great film).

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    • Replies: @Jus' Sayin'...
    I'm not saying Leo is homosexual or even aware of Tom's crush on him. One of the ironies of the movie is how oblivious both Caspar and Leo are to so much of what is going on around them.

    The suggestions that Tom is a homosexual are subtle. One is that he is an associate and acquaintance of all the homosexual characters in the movie and knows all their hidden intrigues. Another is his relationship with Verna. Scenes in the movie make it pretty clear that although Verna is interested in Tom, Tom is not interested in her. Any physical intimacy - if there is any - apparently occurs only when Tom is dead drunk. Finally, the closing scenes in the movie show that Tom is devastated and bereft after giving Leo back control of the town. Leo's marriage to Verna shouldn't affect Tom as strongly as it does unless Tom has some very powerful feelings towards Leo that he now has to give up. Tom has no interest in Verna but Verna has shut Tom out of Leo's life in an irreparable way. It is her final revenge on Tom for Bernie's death. The fade away from the utterly bereft Tom at the end of Miller's Crossing is one of trhe movie's most powerful images.

    It is beyond me how such obvious elements of the movie seem to have escaped the notice of so many critics and fans.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • There’s a really good podcast about old Hollywood called “You Must Remember This” that recently did an episode about Mannix. Heck of a character. Worth checking out.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Mannix was played by the late Bob Hoskins in the George Reeves' biopic "Hollywoodland."
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  • @syonredux

    Fortunately, two anti-Communist patriots, a young cowboy star and the studio’s conservative Catholic fixer (Josh Brolin), team up to defeat the Commies, although not before the Soviet clique’s gay leader makes a theatrical escape to Moscow.
     
    Brolin's Eddie Mannix is based on the actual Eddie Mannix:

    Joseph Edgar Allen John "Eddie" Mannix (February 25, 1891 – August 30, 1963) was an American film studio executive and producer. He is remembered for his work protecting Hollywood stars as a "fixer", a person paid to disguise details of the stars often colorful private lives to maintain their public image.[1] Among his most lasting contributions to Hollywood was a ledger he maintained that lists the costs and revenues of every MGM film produced between 1924 and 1948, an important reference for film historians.
     
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddie_Mannix

    The Coens sanitized their protagonist, Eddie Mannix, and made him more of a straight arrow.

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  • Fortunately, two anti-Communist patriots, a young cowboy star and the studio’s conservative Catholic fixer (Josh Brolin), team up to defeat the Commies, although not before the Soviet clique’s gay leader makes a theatrical escape to Moscow.

    Brolin’s Eddie Mannix is based on the actual Eddie Mannix:

    Joseph Edgar Allen John “Eddie” Mannix (February 25, 1891 – August 30, 1963) was an American film studio executive and producer. He is remembered for his work protecting Hollywood stars as a “fixer”, a person paid to disguise details of the stars often colorful private lives to maintain their public image.[1] Among his most lasting contributions to Hollywood was a ledger he maintained that lists the costs and revenues of every MGM film produced between 1924 and 1948, an important reference for film historians.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddie_Mannix

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    The Coens sanitized their protagonist, Eddie Mannix, and made him more of a straight arrow.
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  • @Jus' Sayin'...
    A misinterpretation. Its more of a generic roaring twenties mob movie with a special twist that the mobs in question are seething with homosexual intrigues. I invite you to consider the following: The plot appears to be driven -- and in fact is entirely driven -- by homosexual liaisons of one sort or another, e.g., Bernie and Mink, Mink and the Dane and, as the astute viewer eventually realizes, Tom's unrequited fixation on Leo. Is Tom a homosexual? The clues are pretty obvious. He's connected to every homosexual in the movie and knows all details of the seething homosexual ferment in Millers Crossing to which most of the straights in the movie seem oblivious. He never actually gets it on with Verna except maybe when he's drunk out of his mind and he certainly never acts from any tenderness towards her. The last scene in the movie is a fade on the crushed Tom as Leo walks away from him and into his new marriage.

    BTW, I'm firmly heterosexual and socially conservative but this is perhaps my all-time favorite movie, not least for Carter Burwell's lush and brilliant musical score. I've probably seen this movie a dozen times. The first time the homosexual content registered but didn't seem that important. Subsequent viewings have convinced me that this is an essential - maybe the essential - aspect of the movie that aside from artistic quality makes it a uniquely Coen Brothers movie.

    He’s connected to every homosexual in the movie and knows all details of the seething homosexual ferment in Millers Crossing to which most of the straights in the movie seem oblivious.

    You can put me down as a straight man who never had any idea there was any “seething homosexual ferment” in Miller’s Crossing. Frankly, I’m a bit skeptical of your assertion, but if you want to back it up with some examples, I’m all ears.

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    • Replies: @Jus' Sayin'...
    Okay: The war between Leo and Johnny Caspar starts because someone is learning what the fix is in Caspar's boxing matches and betting accordingly thus cutting into Caspar's profits. (This is the irony behind Caspar's opening lecture on "ethics".) We learn much later that Mink and Bernie Bernbaum are homosexual lovers and this is their racket. Mink is the insider in Caspar's gang and Bernie is making the bets. Mink is also the Dane's lover. The Dane is Caspar's enforcer. Bernie kills Mink and, because the Dane is unsure who did this, turns the Dane into a loose cannon. The Dane's rant about Mink in front of Johnny Caspar is what convinces Caspar that Tom is telling him the truth and Dane is a traitor. This is what causes Caspar to kill his loyal enforcer and ultimate weapon in the war between Caspar and Leo, a war which Tom has instigated to eliminate Caspar and give his boss, Tom, control of Miller's Crossing. With the Dane out of the way Caspar is doomed. All of this is laid out clearly in various dialogues within the movie. If you've missed this I can't help you.

    Tom's homosexuality and his hopeless infatuation with Leo is more subtle. But it's Tom's only reasonable motive for doing what he does. Although Verna is chasing Tom, Tom shows no interest in her. He has to be dead drunk to even share a bed with her. If you missed the other stuff, you'll never get this.

    An amusing wink at the audience is when Albert Finney (not his Leo character) goes in drag for the scene where Tom is beaten by a woman in a women's bathroom.
    , @cthulhu
    If you go back to the source material for Miller's Crossing (Dashiell Hammett), you will find plenty of homosexuality; Hammett was a man of the world, he didn't sanitize such things.

    That being said, I find the hypothesis that Tom had a crush on Leo to be quite unconvincing.
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  • The idea that WW2 was fought to save communism is a bit odd since, at the time it began, the USSR had signed a non-aggression pact with Germany and the two assisted each other in seizing Poland.

    At the same time, I am curious why the U.S under Truman was so diligent about keeping the commies from seizing any more of Europe after the war, in contrast to China. Perhaps they cared less about it, but it was our opposition to Japan’s activities there which brought us into the war.

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  • @Jus' Sayin'...
    A misinterpretation. Its more of a generic roaring twenties mob movie with a special twist that the mobs in question are seething with homosexual intrigues. I invite you to consider the following: The plot appears to be driven -- and in fact is entirely driven -- by homosexual liaisons of one sort or another, e.g., Bernie and Mink, Mink and the Dane and, as the astute viewer eventually realizes, Tom's unrequited fixation on Leo. Is Tom a homosexual? The clues are pretty obvious. He's connected to every homosexual in the movie and knows all details of the seething homosexual ferment in Millers Crossing to which most of the straights in the movie seem oblivious. He never actually gets it on with Verna except maybe when he's drunk out of his mind and he certainly never acts from any tenderness towards her. The last scene in the movie is a fade on the crushed Tom as Leo walks away from him and into his new marriage.

    BTW, I'm firmly heterosexual and socially conservative but this is perhaps my all-time favorite movie, not least for Carter Burwell's lush and brilliant musical score. I've probably seen this movie a dozen times. The first time the homosexual content registered but didn't seem that important. Subsequent viewings have convinced me that this is an essential - maybe the essential - aspect of the movie that aside from artistic quality makes it a uniquely Coen Brothers movie.

    My favorite as well, never considered the homo angle, will have to re-watch.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Desiderius
    I don't know, The Odyssey seems pretty earnest to me, I mean it's about a man going through hell to get back to his wife and son, also the wife stays faithful for twenty years.

    Doesn't get much more Protestant than Bobbie Burns' Scotland:

    "To make a happy fireside clime
    To weans and wife,
    That's the true pathos and sublime
    Of human life."

    Their general unsentimental commitment to telling it like it is is also a sort of earnestness - the good kind.

    Odysseus is a crafty hero who relies on his wits to return home. It has a modern sensibility, which is why you can make a modern version of it starring George Clooney as a witty rogue going on an adventure. Whereas you can’t really update The Iliad except as a cheesy action movie.

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    • Replies: @Desiderius
    Moderns* only thought they invented cleverness (and everything else), they didn't actually do so. Odysseus isn't modern, he's timeless.

    Likewise, the Illiad doesn't need updated - it's timeless too.

    * - They did invent "OMG, I can't even, don't you know it's CURRENT_YEAR!?!?," so they had that going for them.
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  • @Chiron
    WWII was fought to save Communism from destruction, many people in positions of power today are "former" Communists (Putin, Merkel, the Jewish neocons,..)

    WWII was fought to save Communism from destruction

    Churchill was hardly a Communist sympathiser.

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    • Replies: @snorlax
    No, but he was certainly something of a useful idiot (albeit much less of one than anyone on the American side). And he owed his premiership to (at the time, the outright Soviet-aligned) Labour and a handful of left-leaning Tory rebels.

    Should we have fought in WWII, and why we fought, are two entirely different questions. Personally, I find the latter far more interesting than the former.
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