Joel and Ethan Coen, recent winners of four Academy Awards for No Country for Old Men, have established themselves as today's directing/producing powerhouse. Recently, I've begun watching their work and will provide commentary for some of their first works: Raising Arizona and Fargo.
Set in the wilderness of Arizona, Edwina "Ed" (Holly Hunter) and H.I. "Hi" McDonnough (Nicholas Cage) meet at a local jail. Ed is a police woman in charge of fingerprinting Hi after he is arrested for convenience store robbery. The two fall in love and marry, only to discover that Ed is unable to conceive. Ed and Hi embark on a journey that begins with kidnapping and ends with a bounty hunter. Will the couple survive parenthood or die trying?
My Commentary: I'm probably not the first to question Nicholas Cage's acting abilities, but my goodness, get this guy a dialect coach! His accent was extremely distracting throughout the film. Holly Hunter is the redeeming character in Raising Arizona. In one of my favorite scenes, she abandons Hi at the convenience store after watching him in mid-robbery garb (complete with hosiery and pistol). Hi is forced to outrun the authorities by foot - with a pack of stray dogs on his tail - all for a package of Huggies.
Rating: ***** (5 out of 10)
An event not based on true events, Fargo is set in winter-laden Minneapolis tundra. The film revolves around the events set in motion by Jerry, played by William H. Macy. Money problems bring out the worst in people and Jerry is the prime example of that notion come to life. He employs two men to kidnap his wife, demand a lump sum, and divvy up the cash accordingly. Of course, nothing goes to plan and people are brutally murdered by woodchippers, axes, and hand guns.
My Commentary: Like Drop Dead Gorgeous, this film was emerged in Minnesotan culture and dialect. France McDormand performed the best faux Minnesotan accent I've heard. My favorite scene went like this:
Rating: ********* (9 out of 10)