Song of the Day #4,549: ‘Big Rock Candy Mountain’ – Harry McClintock

Continuing my countdown of every Coen Brothers movie…

#12. The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001)
(up three spots from previous ranking)

This is the Coen Brothers movie I was most looking forward to revisiting, because I’m pretty sure I’d seen it only once before. As with all Coen movies, additional viewings are required, and this one shot way up in my estimation the second(?) time around.

This might be the brothers’ most beautiful film, with Roger Deakins’ creamy black-and-white photography making every shot worthy of framing. It’s also one of their most tonally consistent, never dropping the poker face of its noir classicism.

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Song of the Day #4,548: ‘No Dames’ – Channing Tatum

Continuing my countdown of every Coen Brothers movie…

#14. Blood Simple (1984)
(down four spots from previous ranking)

What an incredible debut! Right out of the gate, you could tell these young newcomers had an innate gift for crafting indelible sequences, and an impeccable command of sound and images. Even on a tiny budget, the Coens proved they were natural-born filmmakers.

Blood Simple is a vicious film noir in which nobody trusts anybody enough to stop and figure out what’s really going on. Instead, they wriggle in a web of infidelity and murder with little hope of escape.

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Song of the Day #4,547: ‘Norville Suite’ – Carter Burwell

Continuing my countdown of every Coen Brothers movie…

#16. The Hudsucker Proxy (1994)
(no change from previous ranking)

The Coens’ fifth film is a mash-up of their influences from 1940s Hollywood, including Preston Sturges, Howard Hawks and Frank Capra. It follows naive mailroom clerk Norville Barnes (winningly played by Tim Robbins) who is given the top job at massive Hudsucker Industries in a plot by the board of directors to tank the stock so they can buy it back cheap.

Rather than sinking the company, however, the nincompoop makes it even more successful when his idea for the hula hoop (“you know, for kids”) strikes a nerve. The hilarious sequence dramatizing the birth and popularization of the hula hoop is one of the most inspired in the Coens’ canon.

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Song of the Day #4,546: ‘Trouble of This World’ – Rose Stone and The Abbot Kinney Lighthouse Choir

So far, in this pandemic year, I’ve taken advantage of the extended quarantine to watch all 25 of AFI’s Essential Musicals and rewatch and rank all of Pixar’s films.

For my next trick, I have rewatched all 18 feature films written and directed by the Coen Brothers, the duo I have officially labelled my favorite filmmakers.

Joel and Ethan Coen have been releasing movies for 36 years now, which really ages me — I clearly remember watching their second film in the theater when I was 15.

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