Time to fire the Coen Brothers. I think it was "The Big Lebowski" that did it. I had so many chances to see it, but never felt like it. I am now halfway through "A Serious Man", and I get the joke. No need to finish it, not even the slightest urge. Life is too short.
Their best film is still "Miller's Crossing", an underrated mob picture that never seems to get shown anywhere. "Barton Fink" turned a few heads when it was first released, but to liken it to "Citizen Kane", come on...
Even in the films that don't feature John Goodman, they've still got his shadow hanging over them - that man looms large in the filmography, with his broad humor and burly stature.
For that is what the Coens are about. They usually work in broad caricature, with a forced naivete and a heightened sense of reality, in the hope that some kind of chemical reaction will happen when they shake things up that way.
But Todd Solondz does forced naivete so much better. His films hit a raw nerve with the audience, making them shift in their seats. Both Coens and Solondz are cynical, but Solondz is not afraid to probe the human soul in a fit of nihilism.
Solondz doesn't offer any hope, but at least he faces the deepest, most painful recesses of the human mind without pity, he is not overbearing.
Coens, on the other hand, it's so obvious how they go "ha ha, look at the losers". While Solondz forces the audience to examine themselves in a "how do you feel now" sort of way, the Coens are downright condescending, playing the whole thing for cheap laughs dressed up as ironic arthouse.
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