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Created Jan 15, 2011 12:12AM PST • Updated Jan 15, 2011 12:21AM PST

One man’s ranking and rating of the Coen Canon, most of it anyway.

Average

  • Really Great
  •  
  • 86 Points
Title Released Trust Weighted Summary Viewable
1st The Big Lebowski
1998 Really Great 127 Points
_100

Chronic fun for Dudes, Duders and El Duderinos, this post-modern classic sits high in the Coen Brothers’ comedy canon. A treasured treat for legions of mild hedonists, it features Jeff Bridges and John Goodman’s comic buddies for the ages. The huge cast also includes big names delivering perfect little bits: the Ice Queen, the submissive buddy, the obsequious functionary and the ultimate hottie.

It starts with a classic case of mistaken identity. In the end “The Dude abides.”

Full Review »
Added Jan 15, 2011 12:13AM PST • Updated May 13, 2016 11:20AM PST
2nd Inside Llewyn Davis
2013 Perfect 66 Points
_100

The Coen Brothers latest is one of their best, strong praise indeed for the creators of classics that include The Big Lebowski, Intolerable Cruelty and Miller’s Crossing. Yet their evocation of a fictionalized early Sixties folk scene is pitch perfect. Star turns, outstanding songs and more than a few laughs elevate Inside Llewyn Davis into their pantheon and easily make it one of the great movies of 2013.

Hear the whistle blow 500 miles, Inside Llewyn Davis is in the pantheon now, away from home no more.

Oscar Isaac cut…

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Added Dec 27, 2013 02:56PM PST • Updated May 13, 2016 11:20AM PST
3rd Intolerable Cruelty
2003 Really Great 83 Points
_100

I’d turned up my nose at the Coen Brothers’ Intolerable Cruelty: too brightly lit, too obvious, too fake. Bad call on my part back in the day — Intolerable Cruelty is a really great movie.

Too fake it’s not. Instead it’s wonderfully glib. Gorgeous too.

Gorgeous George Clooney paired with stunning Catherine Zeta-Jones see to the latter.

Joel & Ethan’s sublime writing sees to the former. “You want tact, call a tactician.” :-]]

Mostly it’s LOL funny, as BrianSez. I sure needed funny one night last week and…

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Added May 13, 2016 01:19AM PST • Updated May 13, 2016 11:20AM PST
4th O Brother, Where...
2000 Really Great 72 Points
_100

O Brother, Where Art Thou? looks stupid but is actually brilliant and brilliantly funny. Classic Coen Brothers is also what it is, a movie only their fertile minds and clever craft could conceive and consummate. For instance, George Clooney’s escaped con clambers aboard a box car and begins his patter to a bunch of hobos riding the rails. We know he’s chained to two compatriots running alongside the train, so see the joke coming, making it all the funnier when he gets yanked out of the car feet-first.

The title stems from Sullivan’s Travels

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Added Feb 18, 2017 02:09PM PST • Updated Feb 18, 2017 02:09PM PST
5th Miller's Crossing
1990 Really Great 79 Points
_100

This highly stylized production by the Brothers Coen has great fun with the cinematic staples of old time gangster movies. Certainly one of the best movies the Brothers C have made, Miller’s Crossing features scene stealing performances by Jon Polito and others.

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Added Jan 15, 2011 12:15AM PST • Updated Feb 18, 2017 02:09PM PST
6th No Country for O...
2007 Really Great 135 Points
_100

Yet another idiosyncratic masterpiece from the Brothers Coen, this time a fairly modern yet characteristically outlandish tale of woe about a scrappy hunter who stumbles across a fortune in drug money, thus stirring up the unfortunate attention of some very bad men. Be warned though that the Coens have chosen to make an art of anti-climax in No Country of Old Men: while the movie doesn’t lack for violent confrontations, several happen off camera or fail to materialize at all.

The acting and dialogue are first rate, starting with Javier Bardem’s implacable killer, continuing with Josh …

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Added Jan 15, 2011 12:13AM PST • Updated Feb 18, 2017 02:09PM PST
7th Barton Fink
1991 Great 66 Points
_100

The Coen Brothers are writers as much as directors, making Barton Fink – a satiric tribute to tortured writers and the demonic pull of Hollywood – more than a little self-reverential. Oops, did I say reverential? Referential, self-referential.

Either way, it’s one of their best movies, notwithstanding being clankingly arch at times. It is after all a career thriller. A writer goes to Hollywood and is forced to … go Hollywood. With the Coen’s trademark ironic humor applied, the whole schmear ends up as a Borscht Belt Day of the Locust, if you catch my drift. “That’s showbiz”…

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Added Jan 15, 2011 12:12AM PST • Updated Feb 18, 2017 02:09PM PST
8th Hail, Caesar!
2016 Really Great 66 Points
_100

Seriously funny and savagely smart, Hail, Caesar! represents another triumph for the Coen Brothers and their company of retro thespians. A satire of golden age Hollywood, it uses the Studio System as a canvas to mock targets across the political spectrum. Amazingly the Lefties take the worst of it, a turn of events that is positively radical coming from today’s Hollywood, even if projected upon yesterday’s Hollywood.

Josh Brolin & George Clooney spend little screen time together, yet handsomely carry the movie in resolutely deadpan style. With strong chins and deep voices like theirs,…

Full Review »
Added Feb 07, 2016 01:14AM PST • Updated Feb 18, 2017 02:09PM PST
9th Fargo
1996 Really Great 37 Points
_100
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Added Jan 15, 2011 12:15AM PST • Updated Feb 18, 2017 02:09PM PST
10th A Serious Man
2009 Great 83 Points
_100

Dyspeptic and deeply sacrilegious, the Coen Brothers’ latest is also reliably funny and brilliantly surreal. A ludicrous fable of Biblical proportions, the movie nonetheless oozes verisimilitude, a credit to the manifold talents of the auteur brothers behind it and their virtual Yiddish theater of a cast.

A Serious Man mines misfortune for humor, like a modern Book of Job played for black comedy. Here the schlimazel of a hero finds himself surrounded by schlemiels1, schnorrers, schmucks….

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Added Jan 15, 2011 12:15AM PST • Updated Feb 18, 2017 02:09PM PST
11th True Grit
2010 Great 100 Points
_100

Darker and more realistic than the 1969 original featuring John Wayne, this 21st Century retelling of a classic Wild West retribution story succeeds in almost every respect — often funny, richly evocative, shockingly brutal, cleverly revisionist. That last comes from the clear hero – a 14 year old girl, not the flawed men she uses to bring her father’s murderer to justice.

The Coen Brothers love this sort of unconventional storytelling, especially when they can marry it to rich visuals and vivid characters.

Jeff Bridges, in yet another late-career masterclass performance,1 and y…

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Added Jan 15, 2011 12:12AM PST • Updated Feb 18, 2017 02:09PM PST
12th Blood Simple
1984 None Yet 0 Points
_100
Added Jan 15, 2011 12:15AM PST • Updated Feb 18, 2017 02:09PM PST
13th Raising Arizona
1987 None Yet 0 Points
_100
Added Jan 15, 2011 12:15AM PST • Updated Feb 18, 2017 02:09PM PST
14th Burn After Reading
2008 Good 115 Points
_100

This modern farce picks up a decent head-of-steam, but rarely becomes LOL funny, and ultimately suffers from its makers’ oddball sense of timing and irony. Bottom line: a lesser Coen Brothers comedy, worth watching but not treasuring.

Full Review »
Added Jan 15, 2011 12:15AM PST • Updated Feb 18, 2017 02:09PM PST

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