What I Watched, What You Watched: Installment #11

This week, after reading over Laremy’s list of Top Ten Coen Bros. Films I figured it was about time to watch the four remaining films of theirs I had not yet seen. On top of that I continued my viewing of the new 13 film Paul Newman DVD Collection with a film I loved that ultimately ended up inspiring me to watch another 1958 Newman film. It was a relatively slow week for me, but there’s enough to make for a conversation.

As always, remember you can keep tabs on my personal Netflix queue right here. I now have 50 friends on the movie rental site and would love to have a few more if those of you out there with accounts are interested. Now, here’s the recap of my week in movies…

The Hudsucker Proxy (1994)
QUICK THOUGHTS: The Hudsucker Proxy was the first of two Coen films I caught this past week, both of which are available on Netflix Instant Play, but unfortunately are not of the best quality as both appeared very, very dark on my TV screen. However, that didn’t affect the film all that much, even if this wasn’t exactly a winner in my book. There are a few great moments throughout (such as the one in the clip below), but overall if it hadn’t been for the solid ending I would hardly remember this film outside of Jennifer Jason Leigh’s extraordinary over-the-top performance. She was a joy to watch and like Laremy said in his top ten, Tim Robbins is “a guy who seems like he’s built for Coen films.”

Barton Fink (1991)
QUICK THOUGHTS: After Barton Fink, I am now two films away from seeing all of the Coen brothers’ pictures with Raising Arizona and The Man Who Wasn’t There as the two lone outcasts. Barton Fink certainly appealed to me far more than did The Hudsucker Proxy, but I think it’s another Coen film that needs more than one viewing to get a full grasp on. There are some great lines of dialogue in this film, many of which I am sure need a second listen.

As for the clip below, it’s not my favorite moment in the picture, as that would be the entire John Goodman kick ass ending, but this is the one Laremy included in his top ten so I felt I would just give it a second go.

The Long, Hot Summer (1958)
QUICK THOUGHTS: I enjoyed every minute of this fantastic film and feel it is a definite must buy and one that adds plenty of reason to purchase the aforementioned Paul Newman DVD Collection.

On top of all the typical ballyhoo, this film just so happens to be the first time Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward collaborated in a film and were ultimately married just after the completion of the picture and stayed together ever since, up until Newman’s passing on September 26, 2008. Check out a great scene with the two of them below. Unfortunately there isn’t a solid clip with Orson Welles playing Will Varner, but he is just as good as ever in this one, especially in his playful relationship with Angela Lansbury peppered throughout the film.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)
QUICK THOUGHTS: About midway through The Long, Hot Summer I instantly began thinking about the Tennessee Williams adaptation Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, which stars Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor. The two stories aren’t exactly alike, but there are plenty of similarities such as the hefty older father, sibling rivalries, the search for self validation and the fact they both take place in Mississippi. I could drill down further, but I will leave a little of the work for you.

Just as Summer inspired me to watch my third Newman film* of the week in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Tin Roof had me instantly wanting to watch Giant or even more Liz Taylor in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf?, a film that just at the mere mention of it also makes me want to plug in my personal favorite Mike Nichols film, Carnal Knowledge (with Closer a “close” second).

All that said, I will leave you with a favorite clip of mine from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof that goes from deadly serious to bang-bang comical. I would also say Tin Roof may have one of the best uses of the phrase “Shut up!” as Gooper yells at Mae toward the end of the film. At that moment the audience has had enough of that shrill woman played to perfection by Madeleine Sherwood and it’s a sentiment we all shared. This film is definitely a personal favorite, but I actually think The Long, Hot Summer may trump it… Give ’em both a shot and see what you think. Hopefully this clip gives you a good idea of what you’re in for.

* By the way, the third Newman film may not be as clear to some… Paul Newman also stars in The Hudsucker Proxy.

There you have it. Now share your weekly recaps and weigh in with any thoughts you may have on the films I saw. And remember to connect with my Netflix queue by clicking here, I have already added several titles from those that have already linked up.


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