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No Country for Old Men

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message 1: by Zan (last edited Jan 05, 2008 09:24PM) (new)

Zan | 4 comments I just got back from seeing "No Country for Old Men" a little while ago and my mind is beyond blown.
Here's what I wrote on my Myspace blog

The Best Movie of 2007

If you have not yet seen it, please do not deny yourself "No Country for Old Men." The Coen brothers have made great crime movies before (Fargo, Blood Simple) but this is a step beyond, even for them.

You may not like the ending at first -- many people don't, judging from Internet chat -- but I think it is as close to perfect as I am ever likely to see. The more I reflect on it (and this is truly a film that leads to great reflection), the more perfect it seems.

Please do not go into this expecting a fast-paced shoot-'em-up (although there is plenty of shooting) with everything neatly tied into a tidy little package at the end. This is not that simple kind of movie.

Instead, it is the kind of movie that gets lodged so deeply in your mind that you come out of the theater *thinking* in the same cadence that Tommy Lee Jones' character spoke. You spend a half hour planning where you would have gone if you had been in the situation that Josh Brolin's character was in. You spend another half hour imagining what you would have said differently to Javier Bardem's character.

You realize that this film does not just get into your brain; it gets into your blood and becomes part of you.

God help us.

message 2: by Robert (new)

Robert | 51 comments Good observations, Zan. This is a strong film and, as you say, it requires falling into the mind of the Tommy Lee Jones character (and the others as well) to truly understand the things the film is saying about violence and fate.
And I'll take this opportunity to invite you to a Goodreads group called "Literature and Film" that has already had a bit of discussion on this , mainly in comparison to the Mccarthy novel.

message 3: by Missy (new)

Missy A wonderful and chilling film, and I liked that some of the violence from the book was only implied in the film.

message 4: by Ed (new)

Ed | 218 comments Mod
Great comments. I wish I had seen it...hope it's still out.

message 5: by Vanessa (last edited Feb 02, 2008 10:50PM) (new)

Vanessa I would agree that this was the best film I saw in 2007. Better than "There Will Be Blood" - think because "No Country" has a very strong cast all around, whereas "There Will Be Blood" seems to rely heavily on the strength of Daniel Day Lewis's performance.

message 6: by Pat (new)

Pat | 24 comments Just saw "No Country..." and found it to be much better than I'd thought; and was immediately seeking out someone else who had seen it to discuss it. Thank goodness for sites such as this. I'm currently reading the novel. It will be hard to beat at the Oscars. The message here will get into your brain deeply; as if implanted there via Anton's unusual weapon of choice.

message 7: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Tellez-Carson | 2 comments This movie is fantastic. Menacing, and truly a nail bitter. Awesome performances all around. My favorite movie of the year. It should get best picture at the Oscars. I bet it will...

message 8: by lilias (new)

lilias I saw it for the second time tonight. It's really becoming one of my all-time favorites. I think it's beautiful. The decision to let the wind be the soundtrack set the tone of the entire movie. I was afraid that because it's so full of suspense it would weaken with a second viewing. But it didn't. In fact I liked it even more.

message 9: by Kate (new)

Kate (kay8jay) | 23 comments I just finished the book of this last week - it was strange reading it, because I felt like I was watching the movie... EXACTLY (up to a point). So about the book - it's all right, and only 300 pages but does not sate the need to find out more about the characters, or their motives or any of that good stuff.

Don't worry, Ed - this should be out in theaters a while yet - esp. because of the Oscars. And Lillias! I'm so glad you mentioned seeing it for a second time, because I REALLY want my dad to see it, and I'm going home next weekend and hoping we can go see it together.

Oh, and Zan! I ALSO loved the ending! It reminded me of the ending of some Raymond Carver stories, like "Cathedral." It's so incredible when movies get the endings just spot-on perfect. I was trying to remember the last movie where I felt this. Perhaps, "The Truman Show"?

Maybe my head's been in the sand, but I've never heard of "Blood Simple." I think the last Coen brothers' movie I saw was that one with Billy Bob Thornton, which had a play on the title series, "The Man Who..." Something like that. I didn't like it much, and I'm not even a particular fan of "Fargo."

But "No Country" was great. Truly great.

message 10: by John (new)

John | 14 comments No Country For Old Men was without question the best movie I've seen in the past year. A masterpiece.

message 11: by Claudine (new)

Claudine (cmmparks) | 4 comments Just saw it was a movie that was watched like a book...if that makes any sense at all. Awesome, powerful and scared me to death!

I can't read the book because it would ruin the movie. Normally, it's the other way around with me, but this movie really was perfect.

I noticed NO MUSIC, which is a risky but intelligent move by the Cohen Brothers - the only music was during the end credits.

I hate it when they use music to 'set you up' emotionally. We're adults, we get it, thanks.

No wonder the Coen brothers won the Academy Directing Award. They sure deserved it for this masterpiece.

message 12: by Reny (new)

Reny (renny3108yahoocom) | 7 comments A lot of 'good' words for this movie, i must see this soon!

message 13: by Serena (new)

Serena | 44 comments We'd read the book what seems like ages ago. So, every once in a while - a sense of dejavu, but not enough to spoil it.

Really thought that Bardem's character was done well - so menacing, but in a possible way. I am so fed up with every villain being like some sort of ridiculous super-powered video game enemy.

message 14: by Angie (new)

Angie Very good movie. Sad for Tommy Lee Jones character. I think he just realized that man was pure evil and there was nothing to do about. I also thought it was sad for him to have to retire without catching the villain which I think truly made Jone's character human where the villain almost seemed non-human.

message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

This is one of the only movies I've ever seen that truly approaches perfection. I would not change a single thing about the film, if given the chance.

I completely agree with you about the music Claudine. The complete lack of music really opens up the emotional connections to scenes, letting them emerge naturally, instead of being cued by sweeping strings and all that bullshit.

message 16: by Connie (new)

Connie | 12 comments i pretty much agree with the comments by Zan and others who liked this movie.
For me it was depressing and I didn't like the ending. But after I thought about it, the ending was perfect, just perfect. Tommy Lee Jones was excellent in this part. It has got to be one of my favorite parts for him. He was the antithesis to the Xavier character, his humanity was real and beautiful regardless of the actual outcome of the events.
I really liked the wind, the cinematography, the minimalist sets and lack of pretension. Pure reality.
I hated the events and the situations, but still there was something good there, in the midst of the evil. Or maybe I am just a hopeless romantic in love with Tommy Lee.

message 17: by Tressa (new)

Tressa  (moanalisa) I was too busy biting my nails to notice that there was no music.

I haven't seen Josh Brolin in much, but he was wonderful in this role. Very authentic as a blue collar worker living in a trailer. I was shocked to learn on the extra features that the woman who played his wife is Scottish with the accent to prove it. She really nailed the southern dialect and character.

I appreciated how the movie wasn't tied up neatly at the end or that only the good characters survived.

I recognized the title of the movie as a line from the poem "Sailing to Byzantium." After re-reading the poem I can see how the title, movie, and poem fit together.

message 18: by Lara (new)

Lara Messersmith-Glavin (knifemaker) I can tell I'm going to get devoured for this, but I actually wasn't all that blown away by it.

I read the book a couple of years back, and loved it. The film was as best an adaptation as I suppose I could have hoped for - I almost didn't see it, for fear they'd screw it up, and I don't think they did; I'd trust the Coen brothers with the story of my life...I just didn't get nearly the same impact out of it, thought the details that were retained through the scene-for-scene approach were insufficient to capture the brutality that the novel conveys, and also felt it left a little more unsaid somehow. Bardem was very good, as were both Jones and Brolin.

I remain underwhelmed.

message 19: by Tama (new)

Tama (anperneecate) I appreciated the ending enormously, as well as the candy-bar wrapper, cracker-jack character actors,smart dialogue, and the "gettin" store." Brilliant.

message 20: by Terri (new)

Terri (terrilovescrows) | 135 comments I LIKED the movie. The acting was great and some scenes very interestingly played out. Sometimes it was over the top in a Coen brothers way and I have to say they did a great job. But I still like Fargo better.

message 21: by Miss Kim (new)

Miss Kim (thatsmisskimtoyou) I agre with Terri. I 'liked' it, not loved it. I am huge Cohen bros fan, and I think Fargo is one of the best movies ever made.

message 22: by Terri (new)

Terri (terrilovescrows) | 135 comments O, Brother gets better with more viewings too! At first I was kinda turned off a little by the similarity to Down by Law (a brilliant film) but now I love this film too!

message 23: by Miss Kim (new)

Miss Kim (thatsmisskimtoyou) O, Brothers is good, too.

The Big Labowski - not so much. All I remember is The Dude is pissed that someone pissed on his rug.

I've not seen Miller's Crossing--or if I have it's been too long... I just looked it up, and I'll have to order it from Netfix.

message 24: by George (new)

George | 951 comments I'd say this is certainly one of the Coen Brothers' very best, but it is a very somber effort. I'd have to say I enjoyed Fargo much more on an emotional level, not least for its various comic aspects, but No Country is the antithesis of that movie. People constantly have to deal with evil in various Coen Brothers movies, but while in Fargo, the pregnant sherrif, Francis McDormand, triumphs, there is no victory for Tommy Lee Jones. At the end of the film, all he manages to do is survive and by withdrawing the fight, try to stay out of the way of evil.

While most of the people who fall to evil in the film put themselves in harm's way and are evil themselves, it's not true for all by any means. Some folks die by simply trying to do good, like the fellow who stops to help someone on the side of the road. And the prime villain's weapon of choice is the stun gun, used to kill cattle, which for him is all his victims really are. People live or die by random luck, literally the flip of a coin. And no one really gains by evil for any length of time, but are instead consumed, one after another. It's an exceedingly bleak view, by any standard.

Of the various Coen efforts, this comes closest to Blood Simple, with Powers Booth, in tone, an early film which no one has mentioned so far.

message 25: by Ceci (new)

Ceci (cecialbiceleste) | 529 comments I did love this movie but I have to say I adored Miller's Crossing... It's sheer perfection, in every way. I also liked Fargo and O, Brother a lot. The Big Lebowski, now... hmm... Not all that great, imo. But Miller's Crossig is wonderful, complex, delightful, enigmatic. :)

message 26: by George (new)

George | 951 comments Rob, I'd say, they are most certainly more entertaining when they insert humor in their films, with the exception of The Lady Killers, which was pretty awful, not to mention, quite possibly the worst performance out of Tom Hanks in the 21st century, including all future performances. Actually, I really liked Blood Simple when it was released, although I'm not nearly as fond of it now. Don't know why the folks are sooooo down on the Big Lebowski either. I guess nobody admits to liking bowling anymore.

message 27: by [deleted user] (new)

I've only seen Blood Simple once but I really liked it a lot. I definitely think No Country for Old Men is the closest it in tone.

I'm with you on Big Lebowski (in case you couldn't tell by the fact that 'I'm a Lebowski, You're a Lebowski' is on my read list). Not only by far their funniest movie, but one of the funniest movies period. As well as one of the most absurd and (fantastically) pointless.

I disregard both Ladykillers and Intolerable Cruelty when I think about the Coens' work.

And I cant believe no one has mentioned Barton Fink yet! That's one of my favorite Coen films and it's completely unlike most other films I've ever come across. Its also (according to John Goodman) the only film that they seriously want to do a sequel of, entitled: Old Fink.

message 28: by George (new)

George | 951 comments Rob, sure am glad you put that line in quotes, not that I'm not broad-minded and all. I liked Barton Fink quite a bit as well. and, yes, I will admit I even liked the Big Lebowski, although that confession should fall into one of our other film categories.

message 29: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie Why should liking The Big Lebowski be a huge confession or admittance? It's a brilliant film, even if "the plot is ludicrous."

Anyway, about Old Country, I loved it. I saw it twice in theaters and will buy the DVD soon. I wonder if it's sort of a film for Coen Brothers fans though? You can see so much of them in it (and a lot of Hitchcock influence) that if you didn't know their films well I wonder if you'd get as much out of the film.

My husband told me the reason the movie was set in the 80s is because the casting director accidentally cast Josh Brolin instead of his father and it was more important for the Coens to keep the character a Vietnam vet rather than worry about what decade the movie was set in. Has anyone else heard that? When does the book take place? (It's on my to-read list.)

message 30: by Miss Kim (new)

Miss Kim (thatsmisskimtoyou) Ok, now I'm wondering if I need see The Big Labowski again. It's been number of years since I've seen it. Sometimes I have a different opinion the 2nd time around. Barton Fink doesn't ring a bell to me.

message 31: by George (new)

George | 951 comments Stephanie,

The true confession line was just for Rob's benefit, who has seen fit to take me to task (in jest) numerous times over other films I admitted to enjoying, so it's something of a running joke. I actually enjoyed Intolerable Cruelty as well. I wouldn't say it was among their best, but that's ok. But I was very disappointed with the Ladykillers. I really liked the original with Alex Guiness and Peter Sellers.

message 32: by Ceci (new)

Ceci (cecialbiceleste) | 529 comments Barton Fink is brilliant, I did enjoy that one. Wonderfully dark and weird. :) And agreed, Ladykillers was a huge disappointment. The original is wonderful, this one's just not funny at all. Btw, has anyone read this one short story collection by one of the Coens? I forget which one, but that book was a major letdown as well. I read it while working in Israel quite a few years back and it was just not a very interesting or enjoyable book at all.

message 33: by Miss Kim (new)

Miss Kim (thatsmisskimtoyou) Just wanted to add Raising Arizona to the Cohen list. Hilarious!

message 34: by Miss Kim (new)

Miss Kim (thatsmisskimtoyou) I'll have to remember that the next time I see it. All the characters are dim bulbs -

message 35: by George (new)

George | 951 comments Interesting that the Coen Brothers' primary
go-to guy in the movies is John Goodman,and what interesting performances they've pulled from him.

message 36: by [deleted user] (new)

I can't remember the actor's name, but I think the guy who plays the private eye in Big Lebowski ("special lady" / "lady friend" argument) is actually in the most Coen films. All those other dudes are right up there too though.

message 37: by [deleted user] (last edited May 28, 2008 09:15PM) (new)

Um....Jon Polito! (just found him on imdb) You'll recognize him when you see the picture.

Been in Miller's Crossing, Barton Fink, Hudsucker Proxy, Big Lebowski and The Man Who Wasn't There. As well as such classics as M. Night Shyamalan's Stuart Little, Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco, and Bushwacked with Daniel Stern!

According to the trivia here he "appears in five of the Coen Brothers movies, more than by any other actor except Steve Buscemi."

message 38: by Tom (new)

Tom | 5277 comments I thought the film was entirely adequate in every way, but just wildly bizarrely over-rated. There's so much less here than meets the eye.

message 39: by Sheryl (new)

Sheryl (shashee71) | 71 comments Love: The Big Lebowski "The Dude", Fargo, Raising Arizona, O' Brother, Intolerable Cruelty

Didn't care for: No Country for Old Men or The Lady Killers

Rob... You're right, ton's of Lebowski "haters" on here. Great movie! Here's Polito's character bio from Wikipedia:

Jon Polito as Da Fino, a private investigator hired by Bunny Lebowski's parents, the Knutsens, to entice their daughter back to their farm in Moorhead, Minnesota. Da Fino, who drives a battered blue Volkswagen Beetle (in reference to the Coen Brothers' first film, Blood Simple), mistakes the Dude for a "brother shamus" (a fellow P.I.), and offends the Dude by referring to Maude as his "special lady" and not the Dude's preferred term, "my fucking lady friend".

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