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).

Movie Reviews

Review: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2018)

three-billboards-movie-review-2018Ah January, the time when cinemas around the world are filled with terrible movies…unless of course you live in the UK like me. January and February are the months when we finally get the award-nominated movies, and they’re the months that I desperately scrabble around to try and watch them all in time for the big Oscars night (and of course, fail). If there was one movie that I couldn’t miss however, it was Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

Thanks to being away from the movie world for so long, I only actually heard about this movie last week, but it’s been advertised everywhere now! From what I could tell, it looked bat-shit crazy and had one of the best casts I’ve ever seen, and I was right on the money with those assumptions.

Mildred (Frances McDormand) lost her daughter in a rape and murder case, and after 7 months with no arrests or even leads, she reaches the end of her tether and hires three billboards, outside her town of Ebbing, Missouri no less, to send a message to the Chief of Police Willoughby (Woody Harrelson). Problem is, Willoughby is very well respected within the community, and he’s also dying of cancer, which leads to a lot of public outrage against Mildred.

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Then we have Dixon (Sam Rockwell), a hotheaded cop who’s also a bit of a simpleton…and a racist. Sam Rockwell is an absolute legend here and I’m so glad he’s picking up a lot of attention in the awards season! To tell you anymore about the story here would be an injustice as there’s a lot of twists and turns along the way, but it’s a thrilling ride.

What’s so great about Three Billboards is how perfectly it crosses the line between a hard-hitting, emotional drama, and hilarious black comedy. In fact, as I was watching it all I could think about was In Bruges (2008) and lo and behold, both movies are written and directed by the same guy, Martin McDonagh! Does that make me a real movie fan, being able to pick up on similarities like that?! Just let me pretend…

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I was pretty sure I knew how it would all end, but I was still a little gutted when my suspicions were right. When the rest of the movie was so shocking, I guess I was hoping for a shocking ending too, that’s all. Regardless, this is a cracking movie that I’ll be watching again for sure, and recommending to as many friends and family as possible!

This messes up my usual ranking system of out of 5, but how could I score this movie any differently? 2 and a half billboards out of 3 from me (but really it’s a 4.5/5).

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P.S. I want to be Frances McDormand when I grow up. Lady is a badass.