Uncle Bardie’s Movie of the Week: The Coen Brothers Have Done It Again

Once a week on Monday, Uncle Bardie shares a movie with his Readers he gives a big two thumbs up. It will simply be a short excerpt or a trailer. Uncle Bardie might even throw in a reflection on the movie. If so, it will make an appearance below the video. So pop some popcorn and give yourself a treat. This week’s movie is “Hail, Caesar!” (2016).

Once upon a time, I was a real fan of Coen Brothers movies. After I saw their masterly first film, “Blood Simple” and took a gander at “Raising Arizona”, I was hooked. As soon as a new Coen Brothers movie appeared on the marquee of my local cinema, I was in line. And they never seemed to disappoint.

Each reached into a part of the American consciousness and gave us a particular region. “Blood Simple” was in Texas. Guess you know where “Raising Arizona” took place. Each not only settled on a region of the country but a certain type of film. “Blood Simple” was a film noir murder mystery. “The Hudsucker Proxy” satirized American business. “Barton Fink” settled on Hollywood writers.

With “O Brother Where Art Thou”, they had themselves a big star. Somebody bigger than God in Hollywood. They had George Clooney. After that, Hollywood threw so much money at them that they seemed to have lost their way like Moses and the Children of Israel in the Wilderness. it seemed that they had lost the creative cojones that it took to make a decent movie. With “Fargo”, they had made a perfect movie. When you do that, where do you go from there? Only “No Country for Old Men” and “Burn After Reading” were decent films but nowhere near the creative spark they once had. Even Tom Hanks and Jeff Bridges couldn’t save them from re-make hell.

Now they give us “Hail, Caesar!” and it just might be the best thing they’ve done since “Burn After Reading”. Here’s the thing about this one. This is the Coen Brothers send-up of the Hollywood studio system in the fifties. It gives us the star system, the black list, the Cecil B. DeMille epic without Cecil B. DeMille, the Esther Williams swimming movie, the English drawing room drama, the Gene Autry/Roy Rogers singing cowboy Western, and a good impression of Gene Kelly in a dancing film.

This is a behind-the-scenes tour of the movie business back in the days when Hollywood knew how to make movies. They even show us the editing room. So if you love movies, this is one you’ll want to see. And by the way, it’s a comedy, folks.