Thoughts On Hail Caesar

by thoughtsonthedead

  • Let’s get this out of the way: Joel and Ethan Coen spell their name wrong, and I don’t even think they’re Jews.
  • Cohen.
  • Maybe Cohn.
  • There’s an “h.”
  • Or maybe the lack of an “h” symbolizes something, because everything’s gotta symbolize something with these two mumblers.
  • I’ve never seen either man speak, but I can only assume they do it directly into their chests.
  • I’m ahead of myself.
  • Barton Fink is one of my favorite films of all time: I know just about every line by heart, but even still, I lean forward in anticipation of every line; if there’s a better closing shot than Barton sitting on the beach with that cursed box, then I’ll lick John Goodman in August.
  • O Brother was a masterpiece (that I’m in), Raising Arizona is brilliant (but not as brilliant as everyone seems to think), and Lebowski, of course.
  • Walked out of Blood Simple, and I know how many people love that film deeply, and if–in your view–this disqualifies me from having an opinion on film, so be it.
  • (I would totally get where you’re coming from; if you professed to hating the Man With No Name Trilogy, then I wouldn’t take your cinematic thoughts seriously, either. Aesthetics are personal. We can all agree, though, that anyone who didn’t like Casablanca is just human garbage and should be put in a concentration camp.)
  • My first–and what, if I had anything other to do than this, would be my final–thought on Hail Caesar: the best thing about this film was that both the Highlander AND the Kurgan were in it.
  • Which is odd, since we were informed quite plainly that there could be only one.
  • And, you know: the film-within-a-film was a Roman thing, so there were swords all over the place, so that would have been a great scene – the two of them trying to chop each others’ heads off while Queen songs blast and George Clooney wanders around in the background.
  • Actually, it may not have been the most entertaining scene: Clancy Brown is still a big, healthy bohunk of a dude, and Christopher Lambert looks like he died in 2007, and not from anything that leaves a good-looking corpse.
  • So, there was neither sword-fighting, nor Queen.
  • There were two production numbers, but I would rather have sword-fighting and Queen.
  • I would tell you what the story was, but there wasn’t one.
  • Here’s how I think it went:
  • “Joel?”
  • “Yes, Ethan?”
  • “Which one of us is married to Frances McDormand?”
  • “I thought we both were.”
  • “Oh, right. Anyway, we should write a movie about 50’s Hollywood.”
  • “Good idea. And faith.”
  • “Sure, sure, faith. What about the Blacklist and Communism?”
  • “Of course, why not?”
  • And then they didn’t get around to it, but the sets had already been built and they only had Clooney for three weeks, so they cobbled together a loose and half-assed sketch about a movie studio fixer on the way to work in the morning.
  • Josh Brolin plays the lead, and he’s as masculine and solid as he always is, wisely letting his acre-wide lapels and hat do most of the acting.
  • None of the actors (save one we’ll discuss) was bad at all, though George Clooney was given nothing to do, and one performance was star-making.
  • The kid playing The Kid is named Alden Ehrenreich and he’s going to be an enormous movie star.
  • Charming, beautiful, funny, and he even did rope tricks: there was one shot–perhaps the most entertaining in the whole film–when, out of boredom, he grabs his lasso and goes through the whole litany of ropin’ tricks.
  • He stepped in the thing, and then out.
  • He was twirling it around his feet, and now it’s in the air.
  • The whole shmear.
  • No cuts, just a minute or so of a schmuck with a rope.
  • Best thing in the movie.
  • Scarlet Johannsen was in the film as a mermaid and she did her Tough Gal voice.
  • Jonah Hill was in the movie as a fat Jew; seriously, they might as well have named the character Fatty Abramowitz.
  • (The Coens like casting their Jews Jewy: there are some rampantly Semitic men in this film. If you didn’t know the Coens were Jewish, you would assume they were anti-Semites: the Communist group looks like the graphic novelization of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.)
  • (On the other hand, I might rightly be accused of being hyper-sensitive to–and made uncomfortable by–any outward displays of Judaism.)
  • (But on the other, other hand: name one period of Jewish history that was improved by acting Jewish in front of the white people. When does that end well? Never. It has not once in 5000 years ended with a W for the Jews. Blend the fuck in.)
  • As we are now free of parentheses and sub-Rothian corned beef-tinged self-loathing, we may discuss Tilda Swinton.
  • Tilda Swinton is an acclaimed actress who was won many things that pretty people compete for, but she cannot do light comedy.
  • I don’t know if Tilda Swinton can do “light” anything.
  • She was playing twin gossip columnists, based on Louella Parsons and her sister, Twoella.
  • Any other Dead blogs making Louella Parsons jokes lately?
  • Just saying.
  • Anyway, they had her in terrible makeup and she was trying to do the fast-talking screwball comedy thing, but A: the movie was set in the Fifties, which means screwball comedy was ten years dead; and B: she simply couldn’t do it.
  • Plus, she was playing an ostensibly normal, if ambitious, human being, whereas Tilda Swinton is not a human being.
  • Allow me to make my argument.
  • Think of all the human beings you know.
  • Do even of them look like Tilda Swinton?
  • Even a little?
  • Q.E.D.
  • Hail, Caesar drew some negative attention for its lily-white cast, and I have to say that–once again–the race-baiters and SJWs have their panties in a twist.
  • There were American AND British white people, plus whatever the fuck Christopher Lambert is.
  • Belgian?
  • Swiss?
  • There were two non-white character, a Chinese guy and a Mexican gal.
  • He owned a Chinese restaurant and she was Carmen Miranda.
  • Hand to God.
  • She wasn’t actually Carmen Miranda, just a pastiche, but she did get to demonstrate how one dances with fruit on one’s head.
  • Hand to God.
  • I’m going to watch Highlander tonight.
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