Ponders the Guardian’s Joe Queenan using the fact that the Coens are yet to make a tear-jerker as evidence that they are not fit to be so highly regarded. Once again a journalist bemoaning the fact that the Coens have gone from making a serious, Oscar-winning movie (No Country For Old Men) to a light, knock about comedy (Burn After Reading). Like that’s a bad thing! His comment that “the Coen brothers revert to being smart-alecks making films for snarky college students” is so boring, so well-trodden and so wrong that I almost stopped reading the article right there. And again the line about the Coen brothers “creative slump” is regurgitated, only this time, to fit the theme of his article, Queenan, has decided to make that slump a lot longer than the period in which the much maligned (unfairly, or at least overly harshly, in my opinion) Intolerable Cruelty (“a real horror”) and The Ladykillers (“a gabby, klutzy reworking of the 1955 British classic of the same name”). He extends it to include the period 1998-2006, a period in which he claims the Coen brothers “hit the skids”, conveniently beginning after most people’s favourite Coen movie, The Big Lebowski to the aforementioned serious, worthy movie, No Country For Old Men. This merely gives him the [false] evidence to back up his claims and overlooks two truly tremendous movie offerings in O Brother, Where Art Thou? ,which, in his esteemed opinion, has nothing to recommend it but (you guessed it) the multi-million selling, award winning soundtrack, and The Man Who Wasn’t There.
He also contends that- “Everything the Coen brothers do is clever, eye-opening, and stylish. That puts them in a class with Salvador Dalí. It doesn’t put them in a class with Rembrandt”. Suits me, I much prefer the work of the surrealist master over that of Rembrandt.
In my opinion it is Queenan’s article that is a “recycling – more like a regurgitation” displaying for all to see how easy it is to write from a grumpy stand point. Of course, much like this post, his article is merely one man’s opinion to which he is entitled, however wrong it may be.