Song of the Day #4,556: ‘Shoals of Herring’ – Oscar Isaac

Continuing my countdown of every Coen Brothers movie…

#2. Miller’s Crossing (1990)
(down one spot from previous ranking)

I think it was the Coen Brothers’ third film, 1990’s Miller’s Crossing, that cemented them as my favorite filmmakers. I was a college freshman, interested in film as a career, when I sat in the theater and let this gorgeous, funny, dark, poetic film wash over me.

That same fall, Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas came out. I’m not sure which I saw first, but I remember being amazed at how such completely different gangster films could both work so well. A couple of years later, I wrote a paper on mob movies for a film class, focusing on those two extraordinary achievements.

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Song of the Day #4,555: ‘Dead Flowers’ – Townes Van Zandt

Continuing my countdown of every Coen Brothers movie…

#4. The Big Lebowski (1998)
(up one spot from previous ranking)

The Big Lebowski opened in 1998 to mixed critical reviews and mediocre box office returns. Following the Coens’ Oscar-winning Fargo, it was viewed by many as an uneven, infantile misstep.

Today, it is arguably the duo’s most beloved film, with devotees attending annual Lebowski Fests both in America and abroad.

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Song of the Day #4,554: ‘Somebody to Love’ – Jefferson Airplane

Continuing my countdown of every Coen Brothers movie…

#6. A Serious Man (2009)
(up one spot from previous ranking)

This is the Coen Brothers’ densest text, but it’s still an easy watch. Leave it to them to explore the existence of God and the purgatory of uncertainty and still deliver a film this funny.

A Serious Man asks if we’re victims of an indifferent god (as the next film on my list suggests), or if our moral actions have consequences. And can we ever know, or is the trick to let it pass, like a toothache?

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Song of the Day #4,553: ‘Way Out There’ – Carter Burwell

Continuing my countdown of every Coen Brothers movie…

#8. Fargo (1996)
(down two spots from previous ranking)

The ugly true crime sensibility of Blood Simple moved from sweaty Texas to frigid Minnesota, and the Coens enjoyed their best reviews yet, eventually taking home a Best Original Screenplay award and another Best Director prize at Cannes.

Fargo might be the best encapsulation of the Coens’unique sensibility, as it alternates between chilling violence, nail-biting suspense and big laughs, defying any attempt at simple categorization.

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Song of the Day #4,550: ‘Typing Montage’ – Carter Burwell

Continuing my countdown of every Coen Brothers movie…

#10. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)
(down two spots from previous ranking)

I’ve given five stars on Letterboxd to every film in my Coen Brothers top ten, which puts them in a category all to themselves. No other director whose work I’ve rated has scored more than four 5-star movies.

I’ve written a whole lot about The Ballad of Buster Scruggs on this blog already so I don’t have much to add here.

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