I haven’t seen Hail, Caesar! yet, but I look forward to it. So naturally it is time to rethink the Coen Brothers work. Bilge Ebiri ranks their films. I love his writing, but I can’t agree with this ranking. So I’m trying my own.
1. The Big Lebowski–I know it’s not their most sophisticated film, but it might be the funniest movie of my lifetime. It’s basically a perfect film.
2. Fargo. Also a near perfect film.
3. No County for Old Men. Really the only decent adaptation of anything Cormac McCarthy has written. Partly that’s because it was a cinematic book to begin with, but partly it’s certainly the excellent scrip, casting, and direction.
4. Miller’s Crossing. I really love this film. I love the language, the ethnic politics, and Albert Finney blowing away his assassins to “Danny Boy.”
5. Raising Arizona. I never loved this as much as other people, but obviously it’s a good film.
6. Blood Simple. Not my very favorite, but obviously a very fine first film.
7. A Serious Man. This is a pretty underrated film. It feels minor at first, but it’s a pretty profound meditation. Great ending too.
8 True Grit. Just a very solid film. The original made a better choice in not including the ending of the book, but that’s a minor mistake by the Coens. Plus who can dislike Jeff Bridges as Rooster Cogburn?
9. O Brother Where Art Thou. It’s not truly great but I like almost everything about it, including of course the great soundtrack.
10. Intolerable Cruelty. This is also an underrated film. It’s slapstick and silly, but in a very good way.
11. Barton Fink. I know some people love this film. I do not. It is a completely decent work. But I do not love it.
12. Inside Llewyn Davis. A fairly disappointing film, outside of the cat.
13. The Hudsucker Proxy. Meh. I like the Coen Brothers silly side, but I just didn’t feel this worked that well.
14. Burn After Reading. God, this was disappointing. So much potential. Utterly forgettable.
15. The Man Who Wasn’t There. Sometimes people really defend this film, including Ebiri. I don’t get it. I thought it was just nothingness. I was bored throughout.
16. The Ladykillers. Ugh.