Coen Brothers Fest #8: "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"

I am fairly sure that the Coen brothers made this film solely for the opportunity to make the accompanying soundtrack. Soundtrack aside, the film is a super fun romp through Depression Mississippi which celebrates all things old timey. Loosely based on Homer’s “Odyssey”, we follow the adventures of Ulysses Everet McGill, perfectly played by George Clooney, as he overcomes trials and tribulations on a quest to re-unite with his wife who is fixing to marry another suitor; who is bonafied.

As this film is set in the deep south, many of the actors are sporting hillbilly dentures including John Turturro, which is strange because Turturro already has an asymmetrically odd jaw to begin with. Also very funny is Stephen Root as the cock-eyed radio station operator.

One thing I can never get past in this movie is The Devil/Sheriff Cooley played by Daniel von Bargen. Every time he comes on the screen all I can see is George’s Boss “Kruger” from Seinfeld. If you check out von Bargen’s list of credits you will find that he may be the most typecast actor ever in the history of stage and screen. Of the 54 credits I found on him (dating back to 1979), 25 of those are Agent So-and-so, Officer Doe, Lt. Smith and so on. If he is in a movie, the smart money is on him playing either a policeman or a serviceman. He is not the Devil; Jerry Lundergaard is.

Thanks to this movie, we are all now Dapper Dan men.

Next Episode: “The Man Who Wasn’t There”

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