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

The Dead Don’t Die (2019)

the-dead-don't-die-movie-poster-2019Director: Jim Jarmusch

Genre: Comedy, Horror

Runtime: 104 Minutes

Main Cast: Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Tilda Swinton, Tom Waits, Chloë Sevigny, Steve Buscemi, Danny Glover, Carol Kane, Caleb Landry Jones, Selena Gomez

Plot: Something’s going wrong in Centerville. It isn’t getting dark at night, phone and TV signal is becoming dodgy at best, there’s a crazy Scottish lady working at the funeral parlour…and the dead are coming back to life.

My Thoughts: The last Jim Jarmusch movie I saw was Patterson, and I dragged my friend Jenna with me to see it. She…fell asleep. I think movie fans can agree Jarmusch’s movies are very different to most mainstream movies. I liked Patterson just fine, but that’s about it. My local wasn’t even showing The Dead Don’t Die, so I started my hunt for a movie date. Jenna was a firm no, but my bestie Steph who also loves Adam Driver was up for it! I’m not sure I’ll have company for the next movie though…

What can I say? I think I loved it. The tone is set straight away. It’s quiet, it’s slow, the humour is deadpan and the lines are all delivered in monotone. It certainly isn’t a movie that will appeal to many! In fact, I think Steph summed it up perfectly when the credits rolled and she turned to me and said ‘What the f**k did I just watch?!’. I mean, it comes to something when painting the faces of two corpses who keep waking up is the least weird thing that Tilda Swinton did.

In fact, I know I loved it. I loved Hermit Bob not giving a toss about the cops, I loved Steve Buscemi being an absolute jerk, and I loved watching Adam Driver rock up to a crime scene in a Smart car with the roof down because it’s the only way he could possibly fit in! I like my movies to be a bit weird, out there and different from anything else I’ve seen before, and this just ticked all of my boxes. Besides, I can’t turn down the opportunity to see Adam Driver in not only thick-rimmed glasses but in uniform!

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Best Bit: Apart from the Smart car, and the conversation between Adam Driver and Bill Murray about ‘the script’, I loved the diner scene when each of them entered slowly, looked at both corpses, walked back out, and came up with the exact same theory. It even got repeated word for word on the radio later on. I also need that song in my car!

Worst Bit: I’ve watched a fair few horrors recently, Midsommar, It, Brightburn, Us…none of them made me feel so ill as when that guy scooped his cat’s food onto a plate and then PUT THE FORK IN HIS MOUTH. I just gagged even thinking about it.

Fun Trivia: When the three cops are driving down the road toward the cemetery, Adam Driver’s character leans out the window with a machete to cut off the head of one particular zombie. This zombie is dressed in the same clothes and with the same hair as Bill Murray’s character in the 2009 zom-com Zombieland.

My Rating: 4 and a half UFOs, because…honestly, I don’t know!

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Movie Reviews

Review: Reservoir Dogs (1992)

reservoir-dogs-movie-review-1992Right, so I got myself back into watching movies with a couple of comedies, and I felt ready for something a little…meatier, for lack of a better word. It was when I was watching a quiz show with dinner one evening and a Quentin Tarantino related question popped up that I realised I still had a good few of his movies to get into, and my husband had been recommending Reservoir Dogs to me for years.

All I really knew going in was the movie was about a diamond heist gone wrong, and I’d say that’s all anyone really needs to know before giving this movie a go. After an introduction to each of the characters at a diner, the movie kicks in right after the heist when the team are making their way back to the meeting point, after the crime went horribly wrong. It’s suspected that one of the gang is in fact a police informant.

A highly regarded mystery movie that I haven’t seen yet?! How did this escape me for so long? You had me at suspect. I live for this kind of story – I’ll be blogging about my first Agatha Christie novel soon, but that’s another story for another post.

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So each of our suspects is known by a code name to do with a colour, which brings on an amusing scene whereby Steve Buscemi’s character is given the name Mr Pink. No guy wants to be pink, huh?

The pacing is super speedy, as we go from present day and the mystery unfolding to back in time when we as the viewer get to learn more about each of the team and how they got themselves into the heist. I won’t go into too much detail about the story or the outcome because you either know it like the back of your hand or you’ve never seen the movie – in which case you should hunt down a copy immediately!

What I found funny was how in my mind I kept comparing Reservoir Dogs to The Departed. Bare with me! I know they have little similarities – but in my mind, they ended similarly, in the sense that *spoiler* pretty much everyone died in the end *spoiler*. The funny part is that I really could not STAND the ending to The Departed, but thought the ending to Reservoir Dogs was clever, and most importantly, satisfying. I guess I just really hate Martin Scorsese movies without meaning to, or even having a good reason.

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All in all, I really enjoyed my latest Tarantino movie. I still have a few to go, and either Jackie Brown or Inglourious Basterds is next on my list. Anyone have a favourite out of those two?

For now – Reservoir Dogs gets 4 out of 5 decapitated ears from me. Urgh.

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