- Casino Royale Review
- Carrie (1976)
- Two-Lane Blacktop (1971)
- Trainspotting (1996)
- Rain Man (1988)
- Fatal Attraction (1987)
- Targets (1968)
- An Education (2009)
- Mirror, The (1974)
- Fargo (1996)
- Fight Club (1999)
- Do The Right Thing (1989)
- Report (1967)
- Is "The Sting" The Best Gambling Film Ever Made?
- Pink Flamingos (1972)
- Ox-Bow Incident, The (1943), Or 28 Angry Men
- Rome, Open City (1945)
- Spring in a Small Town (1948)
- Drive (2011)
- Vinyl (1965)
- Seconds (1966)
- Rosemary's Baby (1968)
- A Hollywood Invasion of Casino Halls
- Thin Man, The (1934)
- In The Heat of the Night (1967)
- All In: The Poker Movie, Player’s Best Tricks
- Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
- 1001 Club - Skyfall (2012)
- 1001 Club - When Harry Met Sally... (1988)
- 1001 Club - Rain Man (1988)
Barton Fink (1991) * Hidden Gem *
Genre: Period Drama (USA, UK)
Starring: John Turturro (The Big Lebowski; O Brother, Where Art Thou?), John Goodman ("Roseanne"; Storytelling)
Directed By: Joel Coen (Fargo; Miller's Crossing)
Overview: A playwright takes a job in Hollywood. What should be a simple assignment writing a wrestling picture turns into a complex realization about himself and the Hollywood world around him.
The Coen brothers are quirky, there's no doubt about that. When casting especially gitchy-looking everymen like John Turturro and Steve Buscemi, you know that alone adds a feel all its own to a film. Mix in Coen film staples like John Goodman and you've got yourself a recipe for good times of whacked out characters.
DoP Roger Deakins is no stranger to the Coen brothers. His work can be seen in ten of their eighteen films including such epics for the eye as The Hudsucker Proxy and quirky oddities like Fargo. When the hotel room our character is staying in has a life of it's own, that's a good thing. From leaking wallpaper off sweating walls to a little picture of a woman on a beach, we have a visual style common for the Coens, combined with a strong streak of the dark tan 30s colour scheme found in Naked Lunch.
I run this dump, and I don't know the technical mumbo-jumbo. Why do I run it? Cause I got horse sense goddamit, SHOWMANSHIP! And also I hope Lou told you this, I am bigger and meaner and louder than any other kike in this town. Did you tell him that Lou? And I don't mean my dick is bigger than yours, it's not a sexual thing. You're a writer, you know more about that. Coffee? - Jack Lipnick
Ripe with character building monologues, the only other thing that can top this theatrical style of the spoken word is the quick-witted gang-ups. When there's a scene where a couple of people team up against Barton, it's gold. Whether it's two cops asking him routine questions or a producer and his assistant digging into him, the Coen brothers have long ago proved they can write odd comedies that are both so relevant and so stingingly funny at the same time.
Barton Fink is a playwright for the everyman, championing the fishmongers and other 'simple folk', and with success comes an offer to write for Hollywood. He reluctantly accepts, but rather than staying in a posh hotel or a king-sized guesthouse, he chooses a common frugal hotel as he writes his first assignment, a B-Grade wrestling picture. Writer's block quickly sets in, leaving Barton plenty of time to contemplate. His adventures take him through the ins and outs of Hollywood's fat cats and L.A.'s average Joes alike, allowing him to be overwhelmed with life lessons about the industry and himself.
When asked what this is about I tell people simply, 'this is a coming of age story for a man, but more than that, it's a coming of the soul'.
As tales go, Barton Fink is first and foremost about the characters. They're out there, they're unique and they're all worthy of exploration. Add the 30s period piece feel and you get a mildly decadent, mildly foreign, mildly ethereal film. Moments that often focus on the stillness around him, whether peaceful, contemplative or horrific, these are the things that set this picture apart from the others. Barton Fink takes its time to let it all sink in before moving on.
Overall Rating: 88% (Let it Show You 'The Life Of The Mind')
So here I am just about to check this off the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die list and what the Hell do I see but that the film is not there on the list.
Raising Arizona (einh), Fargo (at LEAST), and O Brother, Where Art Thou? (hated it... both times) are the only Coen films on it. Yeah, no Hudsucker, no Lebowski. Sometimes I really, really wonder what hat these guys pulled this list out of. One more for the disillusion bucket.
Don't worry kids, one day, I'll make my own 1001 list, you'll see!