Last week Slate.com ran a survey on its website asking readers to vote for the best and worst Coen Brothers films ever made. I missed the initial promotion and consequently didn't get to vote, but that minor technicality will not keep me for airing an opinion or three on the topic!
A respectable 2,497 readers stepped up and named their favorite film by the amazingly versatile Coen's. Their top four selections, all movies that I have seen and enjoyed, took in over 70% of the votes. Number one was "The Big Lebowski," a film that helped to revive Jeff Bridges career, which netted over a quarter of all votes cast. Second place went to "Fargo" which took in over a fifth of all votes. (I loved "Fargo." It gave me a new respect for wood chippers!) Third place went to "O Brother Where Art Thou?," with 13.75 %, and fourth was "No Country for Old Men," which brought in 11.74% of the votes.
The remaining eleven favorite Coen Brothers films, in descending order, were: "Miller's Crossing," "Raising Arizona," "True Grit," "A Serious Man," "Barton Fink," "Hudsucker Proxy," "Blood Simple," "Burn After Reading," "The Man Who Wasn't There," "Intolerable Cruelty," and "The Ladykillers."
Only 1,692 votes were cast for the worst film of the Coen Brothers. "The Ladykillers," ranked at the top of that list with 35% of the vote. Second and third places, with approximately 12% of the vote each, went respectively to "Intolerable Cruelty" and "Burn After Reading."
Rounding out the "worst" list were, in descending order: "Barton Fink," "The Man Who Wasn't There," "A Serious Man," "Hudsucker Proxy," "Raising Arizona," "O Brother Where Art Thou?," "No Country for Old Men," "The Big Lebowski," "Blood Simple," "True Grit," "Miller's Crossing," and "Fargo."
My favorite movie by this quirky pair of filmmakers is "O Brother Where Art Thou," Homer's Odyssey retold in the backwater world of Huey P. Long - or some of his cousins. The acting was meticulous, the humor flawless and perfectly timed , the music was great, and George Clooney's character made me want to rush out and buy a couple of jars of pomade!
I discovered through the article at Salon.com that I am way behind on viewing Coen Brother's films. Of the fifteen mentioned, I have only seen seven - and of those seven, there were none that I didn't like. That's my testimony, and I'm sticking to it!