Sunday, September 26, 2004

"We must all have waffles forthwith!"

The Ladykillers is about as bad as the critics say. I was disappointed, since Tom Hanks' over-the-top character work had me very excited about the trailer--easily one of my favorite trailers of the year. But it turns out I missed little by skipping the thing in theaters. The best lines are in the trailer, and the added context of the story only saps them of their bizarre energy.

The one laugh I got came from a scene in which Hanks, a con man posing as a professor, hides under the bed when the landlady, Irma P. Hall's character, tries to introduce him to the sheriff. After she finds him, Hanks explains that academics enjoy stuffing themselves into confined spaces--a hilariously idiotic lie which he proceeds to justify by pointing out the popularity of phone-booth stuffing on college campuses.

Aside from that, not so funny. It mostly consists of moments where you feel you're supposed to laugh, but don't really want to. The Coens are struggling lately, between this and Intolerable Cruelty. While they're known for dark humor and contemptible, unlikable characters, they might do well to avoid films where practically everyone falls into that category. Since they lean in that direction to begin with, it helps to have someone likable to temper it. Also, the broader comedy in this and Cruelty doesn't gel so well with their black comic sensibilities. O Brother was broad, but somehow had much more command over its tone.

5 comments:

matt said...

i've heard nothing but bad things about ladykillers, but i thoroughly enjoyed intolerable cruelty. maybe it's just because i'm of the legal persuasion. the "objection!" t-shirt had me giggling for days.

lyan! said...

I liked O Brother, but it wasn't my favorite movie. I even liked The man that wasn't there for it's wonderfully rich Noir look. My favorite though is the Hudsucker Proxy. I dunno, i feel like that's the Coens' Citizen Kane, but they still pulled out the always wonderful Big Lebowski too. But i have no desire to see Ladykillers or Intollerable Cruelty, I don't know what it is, but they dont have anything to grab me. I'm going to consider them 'had' and 'crap' until they get their shit together again.

Kenny said...

The Big Lebowski was quite good, all the more so considering that I still thought it was quite good even though I heard it after hearing so many people rave about it. It's my other favorite Coen Bros. movie. (Fargo, for instance, was a movie that I was disappointed by partly because it had been built up by others into something special when it was just okay.)

The Man Who Wasn't There didn't really do it for me. It looked great, sure, but it didn't seem to go anywhere. I still haven't seen Hudsucker.

Kenny said...

Sorry, that's meant to say "'saw' it after I heard so many people..." etc.

lyan! said...

i think, regardless of whether you like hudsucker or not, you should still watch it. It's truly a piece of art from the cinematography angle if nothing else. It is my belief that they took the era's art deco style and applied it to everything so flawlessly, that, well, i dunno. But watching it, well, under the intoxication of illict substances, you get consumed by the sheer geometry and symetery of every shot. Though, i do get off a little too much on cinematography, so if it ain't yo' thang, it's coo'...