This afternoon, with strike storm clouds looming on the horizon, Christine and I ventured into the heart of Hollywood to see a WGA screening of Joel and Ethan Coen’s latest film, “No Country For Old Men” at the Chinese Theatre. And all I can say is, wow!
Violent, beautiful and often downright poetic, “No Country…” — adapted from the novel by Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Cormac McCarthy — blends the best elements of “Fargo” and “Blood Simple” with the dark, offbeat humor of “Raising Arizona” and the result is probably one of their finest films to date.
Anchored by the amazing, Oscar-worthy performances of Josh Brolin, Tommy Lee Jones and a superb Kelly MacDonald (who we have loved since her fressh-faced feature debut in “Trainspotting”) the movie is probably going to be best remembered for the towering, iconic performance of Oscar-nominee (“Before Night Falls”) Javier Bardem.
Bardem’s hired killed is seriously dangerous and truly captivating, trust me, there hasn’t been a movie villain like this since Dennis Hopper donned an oxygen mask in “Blue Velvet”! Rocking a freaky pageboy doo, Bardem’s character is so hard to nail down — not to mention so totally bizarre! — that you never know what he’ll do next, and that is part of what makes the movie so bleeping awesome!
Playing with our ideas of how a gritty genre story like this should play out, the movie twists and turns in so many truly unexpected directions that you finally give up trying to figure it out and just enjoy the long, strange ride through the stunning, west Texas vistas.
Talking about it too much might give some of the surprises away, but if you are in any way a fan of the Coen brothers, I urge you to check this movie out immediately, it really is up there with their best work!
But even better than the movie was the discussion that followed it. Moderated by another one of my favorite writer/directors, Noah Baumbach (an Oscar nominee himself for the screenplay for “The Squid And The Whale”) the panel discussion included Joel and Ethan Coen, Kelly MacDonald, Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem and in a surprise late-arrival, Tommy Lee Jones! Wow, talk about star wattage!
They talked for a bit about the making of the movie, took some seriously lame questions from the crowd — “Why would you make such a violent film in times like these?” Um, hello? Have you seen their movies? Violent, hilarious flicks are kind of what they do best! — and then ducked across the street to the red carpet outside the El Capitan for the Hollywood premiere of the movie.
We didn’t stay to watch the celebs arriving, as we were starving, but Christine and I did get to rub shoulders with Tommy Lee Jones (who is a GIANT in real life! I’m serious, he’s huge!) on the way out.
But the highlight for me was when I ran into Ethan Coen on the way into the discussion! Tapping him on the shoulder, I told him the movie was fantastic and gave him a big old nerdy thumbs up. I know…lame! But these guys are like, my cinematic heroes…seriously, I’m surprised I could speak at all!
My new best friend Ethan was very cool, smiled and said, “Oh, hey, thanks a lot. Glad you liked it.” Liked it? We loved it, dude! Can’t wait to see it again to memorize the best lines!