Directed by Joel
Coen (2000, Buena Vista Pictures)
Starring George Clooney, John Turturro, Tim Blake Nelson, and
Three escaped convicts encounter many bizarre things while evading
the law and searching for a hidden treasure.
July 6th, 2001 on Video
For a movie that came highly recommended from a (normally) reliable friend, this movie... well, I don't know what to say. To tell the truth, I struggled through the first quarter, and barely made it to the halfway point
before finally turning it off.
Was that ever dull, and so stupid! My nickname for this movie is quite appropriate -"O Brother", because that's what I was saying through the part that I watched. And frankly, if the second half
suddenly became stellar, it wouldn't have added a star to the non-rating that the first half produced.
I just recently found out that this was made by the same people who made the movie Raising Arizona, which I hated, too. If only I had known... I guess I just don't "get" their sense of humour.
...Because I nearly fell asleep, from the very beginning. It was so dull and the characters were so uninteresting that I looked to Joanne for advice, and found a blank stare right back at me. We couldn't figure out how anybody could find this funny.
I don't normally like physical humour. But at least I understand how some people could find
it funny. I do like Charlie Chaplin in the right mood, but I don't normally care for Jim
Carey or Mike Meyers. And I surely did enjoy There's
Something About Mary, which was quite silly. But if this was physical humour (which it might have been), it was way to subtle for me to recognize
it, and it wasn't silliness. I did give a chuckle when two of the escaped convicts get on the train, only to have the third fellow (to whom they are chained) trip, pulling them all out and making their escape more difficult. But when they were running for the train, I predicted the fall way too early.
Was I supposed to laugh when George Clooney, playing Ulysses, spouts sophisticated dialog when he is in tattered rags? Probably. Was I supposed to laugh when he made a strange face after delivering his lines? Probably. But it looked to me like he was
telling me to laugh; all that was missing was a sign with a dozen arrows pointed at his face, saying "funny!!!". It was not. Especially when he was singing into the microphone. I was screaming in my head "just go away!".
I did recognize some of Ulysses' travails from The Odyssey along the way, including the
Cyclops (a one-eyed salesman played by John Goodman), and the sirens (who were not really seductive). And I did wonder what happened to the frog in the end, but I couldn't be bothered, because I didn't want to go through the effort.
The movie is set in Mississippi during the Great Depression, so the colors are fairly muted. I thought they were drab. It turns out that it was done this way on purpose! To remove the lush green filmed today. I was still not impressed.
For me, there is nothing more worth saying about this movie. It is not one that I want to remember at all, except to
remind me why I should not even try to rent this movie again.