Recommend me more films by & similar to the Coen brothers

I saw Fargo last weekend, and I thought it was truly inspired, particularly Frances McDormand’s acting as Marge Gunderson.

I saw Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? this week and while I utterly despise John Goodman loved it. The scene with the KKK made me shudder and my SO flinch.

I didn’t much like the Big Liebowski. (Blasphemy, I know!) This was mostly because John Goodman is a jackass. But I loved Raising Arizona.

I looked on imdb to see their films, but out of the above three I’ve already disliked one so I don’t want to start picking at random. What movies of theirs are good? What does everyone recommend?

Also, are there other movies out there of this caliber? Recommendations?

My favorite Coen Brothers film is Barton Fink. However, John Goodman has a really big role in that, so you may not like it. You might want to try Blood Simple, then. It also stars Frances McDormand, so you’ll probably like it.

I’d advise you to stay away from The Hudsucker Proxy. It’s got Tim Robbins and Jennifer Jason Leigh, both of whom I adore, and one of the most quotable lines in all of the Coen films (“You know. For kids!”) but I really didn’t like it. It’s in the style of a Frank Capra film, and it gets old quick. Plus, Jennifer Jason Leigh puts on the most obnoxious Katharine Hepburn accent ever. It’s my least favorite Coen Brothers film, and I’ve seen all of them.

I’ll second “Blood Simple” and I enjoyed “Hudsucker” but wouldn’t rank it among their best.

A tip, when watching Coen brothers films, especially the earlier ones - see if you can spot Bruce Campbell. He’s in most of them (even Blood Simple, though you’ll never spot him…)

I’d say Miller’s Crossing is in the CB Top 3. I’d go with Blood Simple after that.

I hope that this isn’t too much of a hijack, but what is the issue with John Goodman?


He just strikes me as a deep breath

arrogant, no-good, sonofabitch, stuck-up, bad actor, assholish, idiotic person.

Or in other words, a candidate for “Celebrities you hold unreasoning hate for”. :slight_smile:

You have therefore seen the two best Coen movies, and recognized the most overrated.

I enjoyed Hudsucker Proxy quite a bit, although I don’t think it stands up to repeated viewing as well as O Brother and Raising Arizona. I may be the only person who will respond to this thread who actually liked Jennifer Jason Leigh’s affected delivery.

Stay away from Intolerable Cruelty. I would highly recommend Raising Arizona, but there is that John Goodman thing you got going on so maybe not.


Miller’s Crossing and Barton Fink are the two Coen brothers movies you most need to see next. They’re “serious” Coen, like Fargo, not “wacky hijinx” Coen like O Brother and Raising Arizona. Wonderful films, both. Gabriel Byrne in MC rocks my world, hard.

Blood Simple is good, but I’ve never been able to fully get into it. Probably just need to watch it more. All the Coen brother movies benefit immeasurably from repeated viewing. (Especially The Big Lebowski, btw. I firmly believe that anyone who says they don’t like it simply hasn’t seen it enough.) If you get the DVD, be sure to check out the commentary track. Hilarious.

Intolerable Cruelty, Hudsucker Proxy, and The Ladykillers are all inferior works. IC is probably the worst of the lot, but even it has its moments. HP exemplifies the most common criticism of Joel and Ethan, which is that their movies are all flash and no substance. I don’t buy that in general, but it very much applies to this movie. Still, it’s got gobs and gobs of style, and is enjoyable on that level alone. Ladykillers is a remake, and like most remakes, you’re better off just seeing the original. Although Tom Hanks is a hoot in this one.

Lastly, can you expand on why you view John Goodman so negatively? I can understand not liking The Big Lebowski, but not liking John Goodman is like not liking puppies and sunshine. It makes no sense, and I get dizzy if I try to think about it too much.

I would say “Shallow Grave” is Coen-like (rays of light like in “Blood Simple” I believe) but it may be too derivative, and it’s not quite as quirky as the Coens. But it does have a similar vibe.

Apparently there is a scene in “Cool Hand Luke” where the warden keeps listing the bad behavior that make “you go to the box”. I finally realized that “The Hudsucker Proxy” uses the same set-up when the boss is listing all the things that will result in “you get docked”. I guess Paul Newman is the missing link. I was working a job at the time I saw HP where there were all kinds of things that could get you docked, so I identified with that, but never made the connection to Cool Hand Luke.

I seemed to be in a minority: The Hudsucker Proxy is the film by them I liked the best.

Barton Fink was awful.
Raising Arizona was funny in a dumb hick way.
My wife loves Fargo, I liked it once but would watch it a second time.

I really recommend The Hudsucker Proxy as an all time great movie.

Miller’s Crossing is my favorite film, period.

The cream of the crop of the other Coen brothers films, in my opinion, are O Brother, Raising Arizona, and Fargo.

I also feel Lebowski is overrated. It has a lot of great bits, but they don’t add up to much.

I have somehow never managed to see Blood Simple, though I keep meaning to.

Always really liked the Hudsucker proxy. Raising Arizona is always a great movie and I’ve got a soft spot for “The Man who wasn’t there”

What is a Gangster Octopus anyway? I guess he could hold a lot of guns, at least. I liked Raising Arizona, actually…not astounding but a cute funny film with a lot of character.

I thought you and I were quits since I didn’t like Leibowski? :slight_smile: John Goodman does not remotely resemble puppies & sunshine! I think he’s a no-account hack, personally, and I think the Big L would have been 100x better without him in it. It might have even been funny then.

Really? Is he in Raising Arizona, or Fargo? (Films which I’ve seen several times, but can’t remember any Bruce Campbell in.)

Could you point him out?

It’s a fairly obscure reference from The Simpsons.

Heh. Yeah, I gathered that much. I just meant, based on what specific performances do you think so poorly of him? He’s done a lot of bad movies, but I think that he’s always been somewhat limited in what’s available to him because of what he looks like. When given a good role, such as in Barton Fink or O Brother (or especially Lebowski) he’s one of the best character actors working today.

I enjoy most of the Coen ouevre, except Raising Arizona, which sets my teeth on edge. Still want to see Crimewave, if it ever makes it to DVD…

I loved The Hudsucker Proxy but I think you have to be familar with the kind of films of the 30’s and 40’s that it pays homage to in order to enjoy it.

Barton Fink and Miller’s Crossing are great.
I think films that not by the Coens that are like the Coens may be the films of Terry Gilliam. The ‘laugh parts’ are played with a completly straight face. So check out Brazil, Time Bandits, The Adventures of Baron Von Muchausen and The Life of Brian.