Tuesday, January 04, 2011

A Movie Mania Weekend

Jeff Bridges and the Coen Brothers. That pretty well sums up my wife's and my movie mania this past New Year's Weekend.

We began with the Coen's latest: True Grit (95% Tomatometer; IMDB). It is a well-deserved 95%, I would add. From the opening scenes to the closing credits it is a work of great quality. Jeff Bridges is still at the top of his game, perhaps even better than in last year's Academy Award winning performance. (See next.) Matt Damon maintains his credibility and Hailee Steinfeld steals the show. The work of the Coen Brothers continues to amaze and develop. For two Jewish kids from suburban Minneapolis, they have a grasp of the wilderness of the soul and of the land. Their understanding of theology continues to challenge and make me think. "The only thing free is the grace of God."

At home we went to DVDs for Bridges in Crazy Heart (91% Tomatometer; IMDB), his Academy Award winning performance. Bridges carries this movie. It is a tried and true formula but it allows Bridges to truly show his acting chops. I am not sure it is as good a performance as True Grit, but it is Award quality.

We then put in the Coen's Raising Arizona (90% Tomatometer; IMDB) with Nicholas Cage and Holly Hunter. We then jumped into our way-back machine for this second film of the Coens back in the 80s. Funny and, well, unbelievable. But that was okay. You could see many of the elements that the Coens would later use to such success. A feel-good Coen movie.

Saturday, after the sad losses by Penn State and Wisconsin we turned back to the Coens and Bridges for The Big Lebowski (79% Tomatometer; IMDB). No I had never seen this film. It is a cult classic and the Dude certainly abides in our culture. It is more overtly political than many would have believed at the time. Somehow it has to do with the first Gulf War and the need to move beyond Vietnam in our national thinking. But it was just a lot of crazy fun.

So ended our New Year's weekend. We had more Coen Brothers films to see. And we could have gone to see Tron for more Jeff Bridges. But enough was enough.

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