Movie Reviews

Fargo (1996) – Film & Wine Club

fargo-movie-review-1996-posterDirector: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller

Runtime: 98 Minutes

Main Cast: William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare, Kristin Rudrüd, Harve Presnell, Tony Denman, Steve Reevis, Larry Brandenburg

Plot: Jerry Lundegaard is in a lot of financial trouble and is running out of options. Asking his wealthy father in law is out of the question so he hires two henchmen to kidnap his wife, with the aim of targeting her father for a hefty ransom fee.

My Thoughts: Mine and my parents’ Film & Wine Club had to take an extended break thanks to a COVID-related false alarm and a holiday (not mine) but we’re back watching great movies, eating tasty snacks and drinking fine red wine. Last week was one of my picks, the classic crime-gone-wrong movie Fargo. I first watched it years ago just before the TV series started, but here’s something strange. I remember loving it, hence me picking it for the club but I went back to my old blog to find my review in case I’d written anything smart or funny I could shamelessly reuse (I hadn’t) and I only gave it a 7/10. I guess it grew on me with time!

Fargo is just such a crazy story, it’s really hard not to enjoy it. From the conception of this awful idea of Jerry’s to him trying to cancel the whole thing, to the string of bodies left in the wake, it’s a wild ride from start to finish. We have no idea whether to feel sorry for Jerry or to hate him, and then there’s Marge (Frances McDormand), my favourite cop ever, possibly. Anything you can do, Marge can do better. Whilst heavily pregnant.

It’s the dark humour that does it for me most of all. When else can you laugh about such tragic events and have it not feel strange to feel that way? Steve Buscemi plays the character that brings the most laughs, I think. Him forever bickering with his partner in crime who barely says a word, driving through a car park as fast as possible holding his wounded face that’s bleeding everywhere, and finally being far too greedy for his own good, he just plays a really interesting character! Definitely a movie you have to watch if you haven’t already.

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Best Bit: Let’s face it, is it possible to watch this movie without endearingly using the word ‘yah’ in excess afterwards? Because it wasn’t for us, and I just love the Minnesotan accent.

Worst Bit: It bugged me the first time, and it bugged me the second time too, I’m just not a fan of the dinner scene with Marge and Mike. I get that it served a purpose to show us how Marge thinks, but it’s the only scene that feels out of place in my opinion.

Fun Trivia: When Carl Showalter (Steve Buscemi) character calls Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy) for the deal to be done, he tells him, “Thirty minutes, and we’ll wrap this up.” From that moment, the film’s running time left is exactly 30 minutes.

My Rating: 4 and a half wood chippers, that you’d be surprised to learn can shred a lot more than wood…

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I should point out that I’m a little behind on my Film & Wine Club posts, we’ve already watched another of my picks, The Nice Guys (2016) AND picked the next movie out of the hat which also happened to be another of my picks! It was Little Miss Sunshine (2006).

Lists

Thursday Movie Picks: Bookish Movies

England has just entered what is being called ‘Lockdown 2’ so I completely forgot it was Thursday today until I was checking my blog feed. I just feel like all new things should start on a Monday, you know? More on the lockdown later this week though, I have something fun for you all this Sunday. So – this Thursday Wandering Through the Shelves is asking us to share some of our favourite ‘bookish’ movies.

It’ll be a really interesting week as there are many ways to interpret the theme, but all of my choices are movies I’ve loved for years now, and their main characters all love books.

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Beauty and the Beast (1991)

Everyone in Belle’s town finds her odd because her favourite pastime is reading a book. Maybe it’s because it was my most watched Disney movie as a child but as a pre-teen who loved nothing more than reading, I saw myself in Belle, and she’ll always be my favourite Disney princess because of that.

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Matilda (1996)

What is it with childhood movies and their hatred of children who like to read?! Belle might have alienated her town for her hobby but Matilda was scorned by her very own parents for it! Seriously though, Matilda is just such a classic, I’m terrified it’s going to be re-made within the next few years and as much as I’d hate that to happen, I’d still be super interested in the casting choices.

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The Good Girl (2002)

Back when I was a mopey teenager with a love of the TV show Friends, a discovery of movies outside my childhood favourites and a growing crush on Jake Gyllenhaal, The Good Girl came along and fulfilled all of my desires. It’s a mopey movie and I watched and re-watched my DVD (or it may even have been a VHS) so many times. I loved Gyllenhaal’s character Holden, and his obsession with the book The Catcher in the Rye.

Blogathons

Thursday Movie Picks: Super Long Titles

It’s Thursday again! It’s actually Thursday whilst I’m writing this too, because unlike last week where I was super organised with blog posts, this week is not going to plan. There was so way I could miss Wandering Through The Shelves’ weekly game this week though, the topic is too much fun. See, some weeks I’m scratching my head and trying to think of something clever, but this week’s theme is Super Long Titles, and so I’ve scoured my Letterboxd diary to see what I’ve watched that fits.

It’s annoying trying to actually talk about a movie when the title is so darn long, but I think I prefer it to super short, one-word titles. Mainly because I inevitably end up confusing movies for other ones because their names are too similar. I’ve watched Coherence (2013) and Compliance (2012) and I can’t tell which is which to save my life!

Before I give myself a headache and eventually look them both up, here are my 3 picks this week:

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Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014)

It’s a good job most people know what movie you’re on about if you simply say Birdman because I can never remember its full title! Regardless, I haven’t put together my lists for the best movies of the decade yet but Birdman would most likely be my #1 choice for 2014!

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Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (2014)

2 movies from 2014? What was going on, writers? Anyway – this movie wouldn’t make any of my Top 10 lists mainly because it was pretty ‘meh’ and forgettable. That said, I will never forget about it’s title because I use it as a joke waaaay too often. Just pick any movie character who had a rough time in their story and add it to the title, boom! Guaranteed to make me laugh.

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Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood (1996)

I saved the biggest till last, wink, wink. Fun fact, Don’t Be a Menace is probably my husband’s favourite movie of all time. When he was a lovable dork back in college he would quote it all the time, and somehow I managed to only watch it for myself 4 months ago. I mean yeah, it’s got some hilarious jokes in there but I mostly had to watch it whilst my husband watched me, waiting for me to laugh!

Movie Reviews

Mini Reviews: Office Parties, Zombies & Puppets

office-christmas-party-dusk-till-dawn-happytime-murders

I’ve been on a bit of a movie binge over the last week or so, to the point where I don’t even know where to begin with writing a post for each of them, so rather than half-write a bunch of posts that will most likely stay in draft, I thought it was better to keep up my writing rhythm and throw out a few thoughts on some of them. There’s a very mixed bag here!

What I’ve been trying to do is tick some movies off my ever-growing watchlist. I did tick one off but then got distracted by a Christmas movie I forgot existed, and a terrible movie I knew would be terrible but I watched anyway. Maybe one day I’ll learn!

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Office Christmas Party (2016)

I missed this in the cinema when it was released, and by the time it came out on DVD it was summer, and it felt totally wrong to watch it then, which is what ultimately led me to forget it’s existence! Sure it’s a stereotypical comedy to the core, but it’s got a great cast and whilst it isn’t funny all the time, I don’t think it was half as bad as the reviews I’d read said it was. Not one that’ll get a rewatch every year but you can do a lot worse with your time I think.

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From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)

This one has been sat on my watchlist for so long I can’t remember who recommended it to me or why, which led to one of the funniest viewing experiences I’ve ever had. I don’t want to say too much because of spoilers, but I can safely assume someone told me to see this after a discussion about how much I love a good plot twist. I had NO IDEA what would happen when the gang reached the Titty Twister, and although it threw me into confusion for a while, I enjoyed it for what it was. Is the TV Show worth a watch?

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The Happytime Murders (2018)

So maybe I’m just becoming an old prude, but I pretty much hated this movie. I’m a huge Muppets fan and thought the idea of an R rated movie about puppet murders was a brilliant idea – and I still think it could have been brilliant but it was ruined by the outrageously needless sex scenes which were verging on the line of being pornographic. Am I a prude? I don’t know, maybe, but I’m still too angry to really care.