Friday, September 12, 2008

At The Movies: Burn After Reading

Anytime I go to see a Coen brother's comedy, I have mixed expectations. I mean, these are the dudes who brought us Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? and Raising Arizona and The Big Lebowski...basically, some of the funniest movies ever made. However, they also made The Ladykillers and Intolerable Cruelty and The Hudsucker Proxy, which all, in a word, suck. Really, their comedies are a mixed bag. Burn After Reading falls somewhere in between...somewhere in the Barton Fink Grey Zone, if you will.

Burn After Reading
is about one big group of morons and their collective misunderstandings. Brad Pitt (as I'm sure you've seen in the previews) plays a gym trainer who tries to make a little money when some government information falls into his lap. Francis McDormand plays Pitt's co-worker and cohort in crime, who needs a bit of excitement from life and some cash for a complete physical makeover. John Malkovich is very Malkovich-y as a former CIA man with a bit of a drinking problem. Tilda Swinton shows up as Malkovich's unhappy wife while George Clooney ties all the pieces together, making his patented wide-eyed Clooney face all the while (the face he only seems to make in Coen brother movies). It's difficult to discuss plot points without giving too much away or blabbering on for 3 more paragraphs. Just know, there are misunderstandings aplenty...kinda like when the Chinaman peed on The Dude's rug.

Burn After Reading
isn't bad...or even necessarily disappointing (I laughed most of the way through). I just think with the Coens, so much is expected that anything less than a movie full of quotable lines like, "You two're just dumber'n a bag of hammers" and "You don't f*ck with the Jesus" leaves me wanting. I didn’t like Burn After Reading nearly as much as I hoped I would. Maybe it's just me, though. Why don't you go see it and tell me if I'm wrong?

Besides, all you really need to know is George Clooney and Brad Pitt make out...

Just kidding.

10 comments:

words words words said...

I thought The Ladykillers and Intolerable Cruelty were funny, so I hope that means my bar is lower and I will love this one. Besides, there are only 2 Coens movies I've out and out disliked.

Kudos on making "Malkovich-y" an adjective! It should catch on. Nice use of the hyphen, too.

BeckEye said...

I'm so over Clooney and Pitt. Not that I was ever under either one, but whatever.

Dr Zibbs said...

I thought it was pretty good but not great. Brad Pitt was hyesterical.

Mathdude said...

Barton Fink is the 3rd least watchable movie behind Eraserhead and Passage to India.

McGone said...

I feel that I must make a stand in defense of "Hudsucker Proxy." If for no other reason than the fact that I find myself saying "You know... for kids!" nearly as much as the "bag of hammers" line.

Come to think of it, half of my conversations on any given day are strung together almost entirely on Coen Bros. dialogue.

Garney said...

Hudsucker Proxy is better than Burn After Reading. Burn After Reading felt a lot longer than it really was, and it really bothered me that there was such an absence of heart in the movie. Brad Pitt is the best part and his role ends up being about as big as Woody Harrelson's in No Country For Old Men.

I'm betting I'll like it a lot more when I watch it again on DVD. I was even disappointed with Lebowski the first time I saw it (which after Fargo is the best Coen brothers movie yet).

Grant Miller said...

The sexual tension between Clooney and Brad Pitt made the "Oceans" movies.

tkf said...

Please do not put O Brother in the same sentence as Raising Arizona and The Big Lebowski. O Brother was a little bit better than The Ladykillers. Whoopty shit!

Have you ever met someone who choses O Brother as their favorite movie? Those people will burn you a copy of Britney's last album and try to sell you Amway.

God, I hate that movie almost as much as the refs from the Chargers game yesterday. Shit don't work?

pistols at dawn said...

I have such faith in the Coens that when they make a misstep like Intolerable Cruelty, I keep thinking I must have missed something, and need to watch it again. Still, it takes a lot to get me to spend two hours outside the house, and I don't think this one's going to do it.

Falwless said...

I'm sorry but that's not something to kid about. Ever.