Art thou in the Canon?
Needed to hold off until I saw Hail Casesar, as this episode definitely discussed a movie that had been out for less than 24 hours when the episode came out.
To sum it up, I think O, Brother should be in The Canon, but I disagree that it wasn't one of their more middling efforts. But even their middling stuff is worth watching. To that point, I think Intolerable Cruelty is better than its reputation. A different target audience, for sure, but a quality picture on par with O, Brother, for my money.
No, but it was better than I recall after re-watching. It's not just that this isn't the Coen's best work (they deserve more than one film in the Canon), I just don't think it stands out uniquely. Perhaps my standards for entry are high but I think this is a very good movie, just not so great to make it in. Sorry I can't provide a lot of analysis on why this isn't worthy, I just have high standards.
I'm a soft yes. While a pretty good movie, I don't think it's the best the Coen's have done. But this movie has enough great things about it, that I think it should be in the Canon, hence my yes vote. Hopefully there'll be other Coen Brother's movies up in the future.
NO. While I am a big fan of the Coen brothers, I think the Canon is becoming too inclusive and "O Brother.." just misses out for me. I also have an objection to this being the first (and probably only, at least for the near future) Coen brothers movie in the Canon. While I agree that the soundtrack clearly had a cultural impact I feel thats not a good enough reason to vote a movie in. In my opinion if you had to pitch Coen brothers movies against each other 'O Brother..' does not crack their top 5 and in that case I cannot vote YES.
Its a yes even though it's in the middle of the coen pack but what a pack. I have to say that Hail Caesar, though not a bad film, certainly doesn't live up to the praise that Amy and Devin have heaped upon
Damn! We're in a tight spot!
Been mulling this over all week, and cultural significance puts it into the YES column for me.
Yes! This is my favorite Coen Brothers movie
100% YES. It's a perfect film top to bottom. All the performances are great and Clooney is magical.
Damn, we're in a tight spot!
For all the reasons listed in the show, although there are other Coen brothers films I would much rather see in the Canon - I feel Miller's Crossing is the slammest of dunks, as is Raising Arizona, Fargo and No Country for old Men.
I remember an interview with the brothers (the "CoBros" - come on, let's make that one happen!) back when the movie came out, and they acknowledged it as a very silly film. About the only thing they approached seriously was the music, but on the other hand they really wanted to do that music justice. Now, i recognize that there is a lot more going on than just plain silliness in the film, especially in terms of politics and race, and they were basically being a little facetious when they said that, but that silliness helps the film feel breezy and approachable.
And I appreciate that. As someone who has been a fan since they made Raising Arizona, and who has been at times frustrated at the fact that they can't seem to find mainstream success despite their films being so entertaining (the hell is wrong with people?), I appreciate this film's broadness and crossover appeal.
I should also say, I recently rewatched Burn after reading, and it was so incredibly funny. Very silly and slight, but there is something about Malkovich playing really really frustrated with people around him being idiots that I just love. and on a DVD Extra the Brothers describe the film "It's about the Central Intelligence Agency and physical fitness and what happens when those two worlds collide" - and who wouldn't like that? I also feel like it's the closest to what would have been the result if the Coens had made Pain & Gain instead of Michael Bay (because to me it seems like he clearly making a homage to the Coens, but failing to find the humanity in the story, and it just feels mean spirited and cruel).
The Coens are my favourite filmmakers and this might be one of my top five favourites of theirs.
Did you know the soundtrack is the last of three films that won the Grammy award for Album of the Year (the other two being Saturday Night Fever and The Bodyguard)? That's pretty neat.
'O Brother' is this enigma of a Coen Brothers movie that plays well for people who love movies as well as (and I get that this is purely anecdotal) bonehead family members who don't. I've watched this movie repeatedly with people who don't give a sh*t and they love it. And look, I'm not suggesting that canonicity should be coterminous with accessibility, but the fact that 'O Brother' is a Coen Brothers movie through and through--beautifully shot, thematically rich, and hilariously written with outstanding performances (particularly Tim Blake Nelson he's soooo good)--and also plays well for a wide audience, that just <p><b>screams</b>.</p> canon to me.
YES! Not my favourite Coen work but some of their best.
I vote yes for O Brother. It's one of my favourites, watching it just warms me up every time.
I ALSO vote yes for the idea of a Big Lebowski Fight Club vs.
If we can come up with a third movie Devin hates the fans of, a triple threat match would be delicious.
YES, even though it's not in my top five favorite Coen films. This might be our first canon entry of a "Pedagogical Film", it's seems best shown to high schoolers that are studying the Odyssey, otherwise to regular people all the random references just seem aimless and disconnected.
Coincidentally did anyone have flashbacks to Fantastic Mr Fox while watching this movie? Clooney is too iconic
Yes! And I recently watched The Ladykillers, not even knowing it was a Coen Bros movie, and I think Devin is too hard on it. It's very clearly a warm-up to O Brother, the way Southern culture is portrayed, the musical numbers, the outrageous clowning and buffoonery. I was incredibly disappointed in the ending, but there was a lot of classic Coen on view throughout.
Yes. My favorite Coen flick. I think they did go full musical with it, it is one of my favorite musicals as well.
Definite Yes. Love this movie, loved the discussion, would be happy to hear more Coen Bros movies up for The Canon (and not in a vs. format either).
I initially posted about this being mid to high-mid Coen (which Devin had a problem with) and I stand by that assertion even after the excellent episode. The movie hits all of the notes that were described, but I keep coming back to the idea that they seemed to go on a journey, but didn't really go anywhere. I know it's the "point" but that ends up being what holds it back for me as being among their best. The heightened realism of Raising Arizona is similar, but the journey that HI goes on just seemed to amount to more than what we get here (by degrees only).
It's not their best comedy (Raising Arizona, Fargo, Big Lebowski) it's not even their best almost-musical (Inside Llewyn Davis) and it doesn't have the extra level of darkness that I associate with their best work (Miller's Crossing, Fargo, No Country for Old Men, A Serious Man, Blood Simple, Inside Llewyn Davis). I feel like it's more nihilism-adjacent. So, I stand by the assertion that it is mid-level, but still great.
Mid-level Coen brothers is still better than 95% of all other movies. I would also rate Hail, Ceasar as mid-level, but again, still great.
What makes O Brother canon-worthy for me are the other elements that Devin and Amy discussed. It is the most beautiful movie in their filmography and it revolutionized cinematography and digital color correction (for good or ill). It is George Clooney at his best and funniest. And it actually led to a musical revolution of sorts (again, for good or bad it made its mark).
Interestingly, it is also probably their most diverse film.
I just watched so I could vote... And it's an OK movie, not their best, but an OK Coen Bros. movie is better a lot of other directors best movies, so YES.
Yes! One of the strangest theater-going experiences of my life. In a full theater, my wife and I were the only people laughing. It was crickets, man. Every time we laughed, the people around would grumble, like we were disturbing them. The same thing happened during Burn After Reading and Llewynn Davis. I need to find a better class of audience.
Yes of course. Also I want to say thanks because as a Coen die hard I reacted to the announcement of the induction with an eye roll, "Of all the movies" etc. and I'm really happy this spurred several revisits this week. It really is up there with their best work.
But I just want to say in response to the conversation that I don't really see the optimism in the ending that you guys do. You're absolutely right in saying that Pappy O'Daniel is far from a decent or honest candidate, and I don't think that's a minor detail. He's a do and say anything type crony, just as he is cast by Homer Stokes. The exact sort of politician that will usher in the racially charged darkness of the 40s, 50s and 60s in the South.
I think there's a reading of Everett's final speech that is tongue and cheek. He's the know it all fool who is never right about anything lecturing how this flood and ensuing dam will usher in an age of enlightenment and modernity in the South. In a movie that is frank about race, everything we know about how history actually unfolded seems to undercut everything he's telling us as he floats on a casket.
There certainly is a biblical element to the redemptive flood, and Everett does end up back with his family at the end of the film which is certainly a light note, but I think there's a lot to be said for a very Coenesque element of dark nihilism at the conclusion, the obliviousness of the protagonists to an encroaching darkness on the horizon.
YES. Easy peasy.
YES YES YES. Amazing episode guys! Amy I just read your Hail, Caesar! review and it's brilliant as always.
Honestly I'd vote in every Coen brothers movie, even Intolerable Cruelty and The Ladykillers--even in an "what not to do with your great cast" sort of way
First Coen film I ever saw and still one of my favorites. O Brother and The Hudsucker Proxy are probably their best comedies (both with pretty un-Coen endings), and Top Five Coen films. Easy yes.
As a reminder, Devin has talked about doing episodes on Birth of a Nation and Triumph of the Will, but he's too turned off by people who enjoyed The Big Lebowski to want to do an episode on it.
Dear lord Yes!
i vote YES, but I admit I'm getting a little fatigued from it running on cable TV all the time and me not being able to resist watching at least some of it. (I absolutely guarantee it is playing somewhere RIGHT F***ING NOW). The beauty of the film, its unabashed silliness combined with a slyly dark undertone and literary underpinnings, this is film making at it's finest.
No for me.
Nay. Not their best work and a shame you guys started with this
Yes, but I am surprised that if Coens swrewball is what you were gearing towards, that you didn't instead cover Raising Arizona. But, again, 15 out of 17 of their films B+ or better with O Brother Where Art Tho amongst it so whatev's.
But no, I cannot vote "O Brother" into the Canon. By no means is it a bad movie; it has plenty of merit. As a huge Coen brothers fan, I can think of several choices (Fargo, Blood Simple, Llewyn Davis, Lebowski, No Country, Barton Fink, Serious Man; pretty much all of them), which are both better films, but also cleaner, more cutting examples of their worldview.
"O Brother" is a lot of fun. If my sweet, old mother ever came over and was like, "show me a movie by these Coen brothers I keep hearing about", it'd probably be the one I'd pick. It has all their terrific aesthetic filmmaking chops on display, but lacks the bite I have come to enjoy in their more interesting work.
One of the most entertaining and watchable movies from probably my favorite film makers. Definitely a yes. Personal bonus points from me, because I think this is the movie that made me understand the Coens. Way back in the day, I remember not liking O Brother at all; the pointlessness of it all just drove me crazy. Sometime later, catching it on tv, I had a legitimate light bulb moment, and dove headfirst down the Coen Bros rabbit hole.
Glad Devin gave some props to Inside Llewyn Davis. I never understood how it didn't get more love. It might be my favorite Coens film, and its definitely in my top 3. (Side note, pretty sure there was a miscount on Clooney/Coen colabs (4), but that's just my minor OCD showing.)
I'm with Devin. For me, only The Ladykillers could be counted as a misfire by the Coens and I really adore A Serious Man. I don't consider it a slight to call O Brother middle of the pack. Middle of the pack Coen is top flight for anyone else. It's just that I value other films of theirs ahead of it. Miller's Crossing, Barton Fink, Fargo, and No Country all come ahead. So while I wouldn't have inducted it first, it's a yes.
Yes - my favourite Cohen Bros.
Yes, but this is a tough one because so many of them seem like an obvious yes -- pitting some of these movies against each other would make at least a couple hardcore versus episodes, perhaps a bracket-style tournament.
Yay, a classic.
Yes, without a doubt. I love the coens. This is their best farce. I remember when this movie came out. I was 8. We did a musical concert at my school using the soundtrack of o brother where art thou?. This movie has been with me for awhile.. And it gets better with each watch.
I'm not gonna be voting because I would be one of Devin's maligned soft votes either way.
I do just want to bring up, regarding the discussion on cheerful nihilism: this is typically referred to as absurdism, and is one of my favourite subjects.
Swept me away. Didn't even leave the heart.
Yes, absolutely. Silly, and sly and terrific performances. "Damn! We're in a tight spot." (Repeat as necessary.)
Nah. I love me some Coens, but I'd rank this behind Raising Arizona, Barton Fink, Fargo, Lebowski, Burn After Reading, No Country, hell even True Grit and Hudsucker Proxy.
Yes. There's nothing wrong with something contributing to the future popularity of Mumford and Sons. Mumford and Sons is great.
Yes. I got the chance to watch is in a theatre last year and it was an incredible experience. The movie would be worth adding for the soundtrack alone. I think it's easily in the Coen's top 5 movies.
YES. I was on the fence with this one, so I am basing this decision off of what 15 year old me would have said in 2002. In my 9th grade English class we watched two movies: O Brother Where Art Thou after we read The Odyssey and Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet after the Shakespeare unit. O Brother wins, because I wasn't bored and actually watched the movie as opposed to R&J, which my teacher fast-forwarded through the nudity.
Absolute YES! I was unsure how I was going to vote on this one. The Coens are my all-time favourite directors and I don't think of this one as even being in their Top 5. But, I'm so glad that I rewatched the movie before this episode, because it's so much better than I remembered. So, because of the filmmaking accomplishments, the terrific performances, and just how much fun it is, I happily vote for O Brother to be the first of many Coen films in the canon.
Devin, please let us all know which people can like what movies and for what reasons.
"But let's do three episodes about Star Wars. That's really groundbreaking stuff."
They did ONE episode on Star Wars (in which they both took an unpopular position, arguing against the one typically considered the best), and then another episode due to fan voting. Which lost, due to trickery most foul!
What can Devin and Amy say about Big Lebowski? Good film. Filmmakers who deserve to be in The Canon (oh look, they practically are), a massive cult hit that is POSSIBLY their most popular film these days. It'd get in, surely, but...what's the point of spending 50 minutes talking about it? Unless one of them doesn't like it and wants to try to convince The Internet not to love it.
Total yes. Even putting aside that it was my first Coen Brothers film, it's a blast to watch and it has great themes. And my God the music is great.
"Though you're right about Lebowski, Devin, we really don't need to go there, it's a very good film, it's awesome that it's so popular, but there's so very little that needs to be said about it anymore, since it's all been said and keeps getting said constantly, almost twenty years later)."
But let's do three episodes about Star Wars. That's really groundbreaking stuff.
Oh, and since I just re-listened to the "Do the Right Thing" episode yesterday, John Turturro. Seriously, that guy.
O Brother is one of the most fun Coens, and one of the most artistically....popping. Yeah, popping.
But it's still mid-range to me. Yeah, it does feel fluffy. It makes lots of references to history, politics, music, literature, but all of it comes off as pretty superficial. At least it seems gleefully aware of how fluffy it is. But...eh, as much as I love Raising Arizona (one of my favorite comedies ever), I still prefer their more serious films.
That said, pff....yeah! Even mid-range Coens is pretty good. It has to go in The Canon. I'd still love to see Barton Fink given its day. Though you're right about Lebowski, Devin, we really don't need to go there, it's a very good film, it's awesome that it's so popular, but there's so very little that needs to be said about it anymore, since it's all been said and keeps getting said constantly, almost twenty years later).
Yessir, I do declare that O'Brother is Canon-worthy. Jokes aside, it's a great movie and I like the fact that you guys are looking at the Coen comedies and seeing them as equal in content and depth (although the Coens would perhaps laugh at the thought of their movies having depth) as their more grim movies.
I do think a Coen Brothers versus episode would be great. Maybe pit Fargo against Barton Fink or No Country, I don't know, whichever pairing hurts more. Anyway, it's a YAY for O'Brother.
Even before listening to this episode, I've signed up to this forum simply to give this movie a big fat yes. It's one of my favourite films and my favourite Coen film. It's such a wonderfully optimistic joy that I cannot fathom people that don't enjoy it. I also think Delmar is one of the Coens' most underappreciated characters - for someone "dumber than a bag of hammers", he's got a heart of pure gold.
YES easily top-tier Coen Bros. + iconic soundtrack is the cherry on top
Big Yay for me. I hadn't watched it in 10 years but ended up watching it twice in preparation for the episode, and I really forgot how much I loved it, and how well done it is.
I like this movie, but fans of it like Devin turn me off of it so much that I'm voting No.
The thing that makes the Coens so amazing is that they hold such complex opinions about their stories and characters; they so skillfully criticize the portions of American culture they dislike while simultaneously showing us what they love. This film is about nostalgia and liberalism and corruption and folk myths and music and the South and American opportunism and family and stubbornness and human brutality and deprivation. All with a mesmerizing soundtrack and in less than 2 hours! Should be mandatory viewing for anyone even tangentially interesting in American culture.
YES. This will always be top tier Coen Brothers for me. It was the movie that introduced me to their brilliance.
YES. I've always felt that this was an underrated Coens classic.
Hell yes, this should be canon.
Of course. A thousand times , 'yes'.
Also: don't punish Lebowski for being embraced by the socks and flip flop set.
yes this is my favorite Coen movie
Yes. I thought it was an odd pick as there are quite a few I would have expected to pick first. You know them. No need to list them. The podcast sold me on it. Also, I'm glad Burn After Reading got props. That one is so underrated. I have to say there are definitely Coen Brothers films I don't like, as they seem to drift between genres. Sorry, but I didn't like Inside Llewyn Davis and A Serious Man in addition to the obvious not-so-good ones mentioned on the podcast.
God, no. Was the Canon always a podcast that nominated middle films in directors oeuvres or is this a new phenomenon? I mean this is a canon film only if your canon admittance is so easy/wide as to deserve, like 10 Coen films. Even then, I'm not sure this gets in. lol
Man, it IS ok to watch a movie with subtitles...
No. I don't like many Coen Brothers movies at all and I think this is their least deserving film to get in there. A good soundtrack doesn't make a good movie.
This is an easy YES.
Now. I've never been a cool kid. I've had to read a lot of classics in my High School years.... I was a big nerd, so I learned a lot of weird stuff, like old languages, and mythologies and stuff... uh. I knew parts of the Illiad and the Odessey by heart. That was the time, when I first came across this film. And man, this film is a lot of fun if you get these allusions (I wouldn't get all of them, of corse. But together with my nerdy friends we would get a kinda nearly complete picture, I guess...)... There are so many names, story elements and stuff like that recycled in this film, it comes to be pecuriarly close to a Wayans spoof film, like Scary Movie. If they say that they've never read the Odessey, I don't quite believe them, honestly. The Coens know what they are doing. So, that's why this film might arguably not be their best movie, but certainly my favorite. So there you go.... this was a great show, as always, and I hope, Amy is feeling better.
Hard YES. I usually put this among my top five Coen films. It's definitely one of their funniest and most compulsively watchable. It's also indicative of one of my favorite trademarks of their work: a rich sense of period detail and dialogue.
Yes yes YES a million times YES. A certifiable classic from top to bottom. Perhaps Clooney's best performance yet... so arch and over-the-top, and yet oddly genuine and affecting. The cast, the music, the humor... it's a winner.
Just wanted to point out what a legendary prop that "Dapper Dan Pomade" immediately became. Not sure if it was an existing product they resurrected or if they created it from scratch, but a great example of how a simple prop can speak volumes in cinematic language. IMDB has Ritchie Kremer listed as the prop master and while there's no way to know if he was responsible for it (although feel free to prove me wrong), prop masters never get any recognition so let's just give him this one.
My brother stole a digital projector from his university. We hung a sheet in out living room and projected it at Christmas time off my laptop. It's a great movie and canon worthy.
Definite YES. I'd only ever watched this before on my iPad while dinking around on my phone. This time I put it on the big screen and it was one of the most beautiful movies I've ever watched. I can't stop thinking about the aesthetic, the themes, the storytelling, and wow the music. The podcast just added to its goodness for me.
I agree that this is a very atypical optimistic ending for a Coen Bros movie, and I loved it. A good choice for the Canon.