The Wisdom of the Coen Brothers

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Joe Queenan on weird one-offs and the directors who make them Directed by the Coen brothers — or David Lynch? Beleaguered on all fronts — conjugally, professionally, medically — Larry Gopnik, a dorky physics professor who may be about to lose his job and is very likely to lose his family, is a bright, principled Jewish man whose children have begged him to fix the antenna so they can watch F Troop, an idiotic s comedy. With his khakis, his short-sleeved shirts, his nerdy glasses, and his stereotypically inconsequential name, Gopnik is clearly not a Surrealistic Pillow kind of guy. Once on the roof, Gopnik spies a sultry, mysterious, not terribly classy next-door neighbour sunbathing nude in the privacy of her fenced-in backyard. She is a stoner and looks nothing like his wife, who is about to divorce him. The architecture, the locale, the attire, and the way the scene is shot capture majestically the mood of spiritual desolation and endemic weirdness that defined suburban US life in the 60s. It evokes the opening scenes from The Straight Story, the film about a year-old man who drives a lawn mower miles across Iowa to see his dying brother, with whom he fell out decades earlier. As I took in the amazing rooftop sequence in this troubling but rewarding movie, I forgot who had really made it and thought: Gee, I never knew David Lynch was Jewish.

We have that well of tradition en route for draw on, to help us absorb. When we're puzzled we have altogether the stories that have been handed down from people who had the same problems. In the whole film he doesn't do anything. Not a good deal of anything, anyway. He just wants to understand what is happening en route for him. So, every time he protests that he didn't do anything, he's really asking a related question: Can you repeat that? did I do to deserve this? It's a reference to another be in charge of, Sy Ableman Fred Melamed , who is passive-aggressively taking over Larry's companion life. To add insult to damage, it seems to be a fait accompli -- just came at Larry out of the blue. And Larry, remember, hasn't done anything.

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All product was carefully curated by an Esquire editor. We may earn a commission from these links. The Acumen of the Coen Brothers Why A Serious Man is the smartest film since The Big Lebowski — astute, funny, and containing an extremely advantageous philosophy for a man's life Oct 1, Gluekit Listen, I know there's a temptation to overanalyze the Coen brothers' movies. In the course of researching this article, I found a paper that argued — with altogether apparent sincerity — that the bowling ball in The Big Lebowski was meant to represent Sisyphus' boulder. The Coen brothers' cerebral and allusion-packed adapt invites such folly. So let me take a risk and dive all the rage. Things are not going well designed for him.

Able-bodied, we were both right. So the real question is: if they are out there, how do you achieve the good ones? Isaac, take it away. In fact, some of the most seemingly innocuous places are additionally the best places: the grocery accumulate, the coffee shop, the library, you name it. The real formula designed for success?