Fargo (1996)


The Little Guy Was Kinda Funny-Lookin’

Acting as both a review request and a movie I should’ve seen earlier comes today’s movie. Requested by Sam, today’s movie is a dark comedy, something that generally turns me off. I don’t like my comedies to be demented, with lots of death and sadness to them. On the other hand, this movie is by the Coen Brothers, and they gave me True Grit. On top of that, it’s a classic. How could I not watch it? This is how! This review is over! … Oh, you’re still here. Okay, I’ll review it. Today’s movie is Fargo, written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, and starring William H. Macy, Kristin Rudrud, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare, Harve Presnell, Frances McDormand, John Carroll Lynch, Steve Reevis, Steve Park, and Bruce Campbell.

Car salesman Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy) has gotten himself into a bit of a financial pickle. The most obvious solution to his (and, let’s face it, ANYONE’s) problem is to hire two guys to kidnap your wife for the ransom. Through a Native American ex-con named Shep Proudfoot (Steve Reevis), Jerry is introduced to the two men who will do the deed, Carl Showalter (Steve Buscemi) and Gaear Grimsrud (Peter Stormare). They kidnap Jerry’s wife, Jean (Kristin Rudrud), but things start to go sour for them as they drive to their safe house. First, they get pulled over for not having tags, then Jean’s bitching from the backseat gets the cop killed. Then, Carl’s lack of upper body strength gets them seen as he tries to drag the cop’s body off the street, making Gaear kill two more people. This gets the local police chief, Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand), involved. From here, the plan hits a few speed bumps.

I’m sure it comes as no surprise to the greater majority of you, but this is a good ass movie. Hell, it didn’t even come as a surprise to me. I don’t know why it took me so long to watch this thing. I loved True Grit. I loved No Country for Old Men. I’ve already written of my affection for the Big Lebowski. And yet, foolishly, I refrained from this movie. But that problem is now solved. Dark comedies have never really worked for me in the past, but this movie combines a few solid laughs with all their dark subject matter, and ties it all together with an excellent story. I found that the accents wore on me in this movie, though. I was already a little bit prepared for them, having tolerated Sam’s accent for so long, but Jesus they say “Oh yeah” a lot. It kind of gave me the impression that the Coen’s did not care for the people of Minnesota that much, as most of them came off as not that bright. The story of the movie made up for it though. Shit just kept getting worse and worse in this movie. It’s like the Shield or something. You would be saying “Alright, give us a break and let something go right for a change” were the story not so well done. Instead you just sit back and enjoy. I don’t know if I’d call it a negative, but one part I had a bit of an issue with was the part between McDormand and Steve Park in the restaurant. This scene served no purpose whatsoever as far as I could tell, but it was a good scene, so I don’t know if I can say I’d want it gone. The story is put on pause by it, but the performances in the scene were good and it was interesting watching it be funny, then plunge into depressing, and back up again.

The performances in this movie were even better than the story somehow. I started wondering as I started listing the cast about who the hero was in this movie. William H. Macy is the driving force of the movie because he sets everything moving. Buscemi did the majority of the legwork in the movie while Stormare spent his time watching TV’s. Frances McDormand would probably have to be the hero of the movie because she was the only one that was a good person, she solved the thing, but she also didn’t have that much to do with the overall story until the very end. She did make me laugh the most, though. That accent amused me no matter who’s mouth it was coming out of, but it was even funnier when she was saying intelligent things and working out exactly what happened from very little evidence, but all of it was being said with that accent that would make me not take it seriously. Then again, she didn’t seem able to see through William H. Macy’s horrible poker face in their first interview, so who’s to say how bright she is? I did laugh at the joke she told about the personalized license plates, but only because the other cop’s response was “Oh yeah, that’s a good one”. But easily the most awesome thing about this movie is that Bruce Campbell was in it. Sure, he was only in about a minute of the movie, and that minute was on the soap opera Stormare was watching with horrible reception, but I recognized him! That dude rules.

I couldn’t really find a lot to say about this movie. Sometimes, movie’s are just great and I can’t make fun of them. I have let you all down and will now perform ritualistic suicide to punish myself, while simultaneously saving my honor. Probably the only dark comedy that has ever worked for me, the film delivers plenty of dark, plenty of comedy, and a fantastic story, all supported by great acting. No complaints. Go watch this movie and enjoy it, even if you have already. Fargo gets “You’re darned tootin’!” out of “So, I called it in. …End o’ story…”

Hey, peeps. Why not rate and comment on this as a favor to good ole Robert, eh? And tell your friends! Let’s make me famous!

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