Days to Go: 365
Films to Go: 149
Have I seen it before? – Yes
IMDB rating: 8.3 out of 10
Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
My rating: 8.75 out of 10
Next films I’ll be watching:
12 Angry Men (1957) – link is to my post for this film
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
The African Queen (1951)
All the President’s Men (1976)
See THE LIST here.
Friendly reminder: These discussions of films in the ‘Year of Classic Films Challenge’ may contain some minor spoilers. I will still try to keep it to a minimum and hopefully only those who have seen the movie will know what I’m referring to. However, there may be some discussion of plot and such.
Fargo rates an 8.75 out of 10 on my scale. The Coen Brothers (Joel and Ethan) have written, produced and directed some great films. Most of their work consists of films that you either “get” or don’t. A lot of these are films that critics have loved while some audiences didn’t really get into (A Serious Man, No Country for Old Men) or vice versa (O Brother, Where Art Thou?, The Big Lebowski). But, everyone seems to agree, Fargo rocks!
First, the reasons I gave it an 8.75. I really loved the cinematography the Coen brothers put together. This film is set in the white north during winter (or close to it) and the pure white landscapes that go on forever and the slush covered roads really make you feel like you are there. You almost need an extra blanket just from watching this film.
My two favorite performances were Steve Buscemi and Frances McDormand. Steve played one of the kidnappers (the “little fella…sorta funny lookin’…even more than most people”), and Frances played Margie, the pregnant lead investigator. I have always been a Buscemi fan, but I’d have to say this film is probably his strongest performance. He brings to life a character that is as crazy as a rabid fox on the inside, but cool and collected on the outside. And Margie is just so darn loveable with that smile and accent. Speaking of accents, Fargo is probably the best example of a cast really nailing a difficult accent across the board. Everyone had it down perfectly. I lived in northern Wisconsin for two years and talked to my share of folks who sounded just like this cast.
Probably the only things against the film are a slow, but steady and deliberate, pace that some may feel drags a little. And, not everyone will be a fan of the Coen brothers on this one either, probably due to the dark tone and deep character narratives. But, these are minor things that the majority will have no issue with.
These are some questions and observations meant to spark discussion about the film. If you have not seen it, you may want to stop reading if you don’t want to read any spoilers.
What exactly did Jerry (William H. Macy) do to get into the financial pickle he got himself into? All I gathered was something about borrowing money against cars that did not exist. This is why he was smudging VINs when sending the paperwork. Does anyone else wish there was a little more explanation about this? I mean the whole kidnapping plot was due to this trouble he was in. There would be no movie without it.
Who is your favorite character and why? I would have to say Norm (Margie’s husband played by John Carroll Lynch). I thought the scenes with him and Margie were the best in the film. They really showed that, despite this crazy crime she was investigating, they were ordinary people with regular lives. These were very touching and funny scenes.
Did you like the fact that the Margie character was pregnant? I wonder whose idea that was and if it was in the original screenplay or if it developed during the creative process. I thought it was great for the same reason I picked Norm as my favorite character: gave her a sense of realism.
Someone please count all the “Yahhhs” and “Ohhh, Yahs” and give us the count.
What’s your favorite scene or line? Mine is when Steve Buscemi is leaving the long-term parking lot and has to pay the attendant when he was only there for like 10 minutes. He rips on him about how he thinks he’s an authority figure with his uniform and booth. Classic.
I really love movies with the “snowball effect.” You know when one thing sets off a chain of events where things just keep getting worse and worse. Fargo is a great example of this. What are some of your other favorite movies with the “snowball effect?”
Do you think some random farmer found that briefcase full of money when the snow finally melted? Would not suck to be that guy!
Feel free to ask your own questions or leave your own thoughts beyond these talking points in the Comments Section below.