November 5, 2009

"A Serious Man."



After finally getting around to watching "Burn After Reading" — the Coen Brothers movie that my sister and I stumbled onto the set of back when I was living in Brooklyn Heights — and having loved it, we decided to take in this year's Coen Brothers movie, "A Serious Man," and we loved that too. Hyperreal closeups of disturbing faces, inane advice intoned as if it were profound, struggles with God and pop culture, the year 1967, Jews, Jews, Jews.... I loved everything about it.

Don't you want some movie to love?

When the movie was over, we went across the street to the sleek new Café Porta Alba, where they cook pizza in 90 seconds in a 900 degree oven. Fun! Earlier in the day, also fun, was a walk in the woods and where we savored the subtle colors of late fall....

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26 comments:

Stephen Snell said...

You have to know how to do that--you can't have people shoving their arms into a 600-degree oven!

Fargo is my all-time #1, so thanks for the tip--I'd heard nary a word about this Serious Man film.

Henry said...

I loved Julie and Julia. We saw it in the theater which makes all the difference.

I thought at first that I would have preferred a movie called Julia and Paul, but there's something about the Julie-and-her-husband scenes that make the Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci scenes even better.

The beautiful and unexpected thing that lurks behind the relentless parallelism that Nora Ephron employs to make the two-story conceit worthwhile is the fact that Julia Child really was (seemingly) effortlessly wonderful -- as is Meryl Streep.

Harsh Pencil said...

"Burn After Reading" had some enormously funny parts, but overall, it just didn't seem to [i] work. [/i] It just didn't hang together.

Lem said...

..but overall, it just didn't seem to [i] work. [/i] It just didn't hang together.

Brad Pit sucked. Other than that, I believe the high expectations of a Coen Brothers film can be their worst enemy.

They are only human.

gmk said...

I agree, Burn After Reading is not the Coen brothers' finest effort. Fargo gets all the accolades, and it's a good movie; but my favorites are Barton Fink, The Big Lebowski ("that rug really tied the room together"), and even The Hudsucker Proxy.

Titus said...

First of all loved A Serious Man-very jewish-loved that even more.

Fargo is still my all time fav.

Burning Man was ok.

And, hello, go Madison, all excited about you Neopolitan Pizza Place, went to the website and will def be going there for Christmas with my British/Indian husband. The pizza looks divine. I will order just the plain Marg., natch.

blake said...

Was that on my advice? Hell, I'm gonna pretend it is.

It may be the year's best. But I predict it won't get the accolades of No Country For Old Men.

The inane advice—it ended up creating a real profound feeling in the movie, I think, as Larry tries to make sense out of it.

ricpic said...

Took me back to my yute: all those big eared big nosed hair coming out of their ears and noses elders. Was the kid supposed to be stoned at his bar mitzvah? Anyway, it rang true to my experience. Total terror. Especially that part where he's surrounded by those same elders and he goes into brain freeze before the months of hebrew school kick in and he's able to read that day's passage of torah.

grapp said...

Did you all watch the Coen Brothers' Miller's Crossing? For years, I spent a lot of time with that movie. The idea of a crook upset about the ETHICS of a thrown fight appealed to me tremendously. It was a very clever film with lots of little subtleties to it. I didn't even have to "look into [my] heart" to remember that.

kentuckyliz said...

900 degrees!!! Do they have to wear welding helmets to open the oven door?

WV unterys
I don't have one of those any more, after my surgery this summer.

EnigmatiCore said...

Don't you want some movie to love?

Don't you need some movie to love?

Wouldn't you love some movie to love?

You better find some movie to love.

Roger J. said...

Thaks for the review Ann. have seen every Coen Bros movie made and look forward to this--understand it is really a retelling of the soty of Job. Sure the CB produce some clinkers, but they do manage to produce interesting films all the time. Was waiting for the WSJ review, but hasnt come yet, so Kay and I will go with yours.

bearbee said...

Yeah, well, I'ii wait for Mead's review.

Paul Zrimsek said...

"In this picture there are 23 people. None of them can be seen."

Sheepman said...

I'll pay to see anything by the Coen brothers.

I thought "Burn After Reading" was well below par, but I have high expectations for "A Serious Man".

Widmerpool said...

Right on gmk!

"Donny, you're out of your element!"

k*thy said...

Yeah, "Burn After Reading" was ok. There were others of the Coens', I thought better. But yes, I do want a movie to love, and it's that time of year. Finally.

And thanks for the tip on the pizza place...

Henry said...

Raising Arizona. That was the best.

victoria said...

Loved this movie. We saw it last week while my husband was on vacation. Also go see "An Education" Absolutely the best film of the year.

miller said...

I focused on the picture of the wilds around Madison - a beautiful tone poem.

I've seen some Coen brothers pix, but they are very uneven. Some are good, some are terrible. (I walked out of Raising Arizona.)

Absolutely loved Julie & Julia. I used to watch Julia when she was on [WGBH?], and Meryl Streep captured the loopiness and charm of that fussy, droll lady.

Angst said...

A number of years ago, the beautiful Ms Angst and I would regularly go to our local Art House theater to watch WHATEVER that they were showing (believe me, we remember and laugh about some of those flicks for years!)

One particular night, we didn't know anything about the movie or the brothers who produced it.

Fargo

Needless to say, we loved it and have seen all of their movies since.

Roger von Oech said...

I saw "Serious Man" on Wednesday and have thinking about its meaning ever since. For me, that's the sign of a good movie.

Have seen all their movies. My favorite "unheralded" one is "The Man Who Wasn't There" (2001) with Billy Bob Thornton and James Gandolfini. A dark gem.

GT said...

Here's a site by a fan of true neopolitan pizza, who looks for less than 2 minutes in the oven: http://www.varasanos.com/PizzaRecipe.htm

blake said...

Roger,

Yeah, this movie has really stuck with me, too. And it reminds me of The Man Who Wasn't There, except that Thornton's barber is ultimately only vaguely sympathetic compared to Larry Gopnick.

As for Burn After Reading, I think while it's not one of their greatest movies, it's a nice contrast to the lengthy, serious No Country For Old Men. Funny, short, surprising, and plotted in their usual biting style.

I think Ladykillers and Intolerable Cruelty are under-rated as well, even though it's clear the Coens are more comfortable outside the studio system.

Sheepman said...

Have seen all their movies. My favorite "unheralded" one is "The Man Who Wasn't There" (2001) with Billy Bob Thornton and James Gandolfini. A dark gem.

Agree. I think it's one of their best films and I'd rank it right under, Fargo, Barton Fink, Miller's Crossing and the Big Lebowski.

frum single female said...

i loved big lebowski and hudsucker proxy. i didnt get all the fanfare over no country for old men. i recently saw a serious man and thought it was the funniest movie of the year. it also happens to be one of the most jewish movies of the year as well. it has so many inside jewish jokes that i laughed hysterically at but the rest of the audience did not seem to get. even if you dont get all of the jokes, its worth seeing.