Joel and Ethan Coen have made eleven very different films since 1984. From a film noir set in rural Texas to a Homer's "Odyssey"-inspired convict film, their films jump from genre to genre. Each one, however, is imbued with the Coens' authorial signature. Their heroes are flawed, their villains are attractive and often more powerful than their heroes. In the worlds they create for each film their characters must battle the lowest of humanity: murder, theft, death, robberies, kidnapping, and gang wars. The Coens' very dark sense of humor is created in two ways: the juxtaposition of these three elements at a rapidly changing pace, and by making light of serious or macabre situations that are readily available in each of their films.Pure white snow as far as the eye can see. This is the landscape of "Fargo," set in Minnesota, where the Coen brothers grew up.
[...] This normal action of watching the Johnny Carson Show is only funny in the context of Carl and Gaear. It is a common tool of the Coens to show villains in a normal setting, creating a certain level of discomfort. The kidnapping itself is the Coens' first exploration in the film of humor in an incredibly terrible context. Jean is knitting while watching a morning television show when a man, Carl, walks up to the sliding glass door of the living room. [...]
[...] Big Lebowski” is one of the Coen brothers' most popular films, gaining a large cult following, and it is one of the best examples of their dark sense of humor. In it the main character, the Dude, is by anyone's standards a He drives a beat-up car, he is behind on his rent, and he is first shown in the film standing at the dairy case in a grocery store, in his bathrobe, drinking milk from the carton, which he writes a check for. [...]
[...] In the same way, comic moments at key times throughout the Coens' films function as safety valves, releasing tension and diffusing the oftentimes intense violence and terrible crimes depicted. The destruction of the Dude's carpet through urination when he returns to his apartment sets off and running the storyline that will catapult the Dude into a strange world of kidnapping, adult film actors, Nihilists, a cripple, and a man named Jesus (pronounced normally as Jesus, as in one- third of the Christian Trinity). [...]
[...] The Dude's landlord is an example of comedy at the expense of one the more minor characters in the film. He is a short, fat, shy man who awkwardly broaches the subject of his late rent to the Dude after inviting him to see his “dance cycle.” The Dude goes to see it with Donny and Walter later in the film. It is an odd and hilarious scene for two reasons: his dance is ridiculous, and Walter does not stop talking throughout the entire scene. [...]
[...] When Jerry goes to him with a real estate deal that could return huge profits, but only after an initial investment of 750,000 dollars, he says, “This could turn out real good for me and Jean and Scotty.” Gustafson responds, without turning his gaze from the hockey game on television, “Jean and Scotty never have to worry.” Later, when Gustafson and his business partner Stan Grossman realize the potential in Jerry's deal is worth the investment, they invite him to their office to close the deal. [...]
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