On a Real Coen Brothers, and a Wannabe: "A Serious Man" & "Public Enemies"

Watching Public Enemies it was hard to shake the feeling that I was watching a poor man’s Coen Brothers film. Perhaps first I should admit I’m an unabashed Johnny Depp fan. He’s the one pretty-boy actor (well, maybe Leo DiCaprio included) who consistently makes good films, even such Disney charms as that Pirates series. But he couldn’t save the clumsiness of Public Enemies. Somehow it just didn’t make Dillinger interesting or dramatic. Even though his life was legend.
On the other hand,  A Serious Man is vintage Coen Brothers. (And just released on DVD.) I won’t give it away, but the Second Rabbi scene has its hilarious, absurd moments. I like when Larry asks the Rabbi, “What about the Goy?” And the Rabbi says, “Who cares?” It’s not a tremendously flattering picture of Jewish life, or Goyim, for that matter. But that’s what makes it so good. The pot smoking scene with the sultry neighbor woman is also worth the watch. I’ve heard they are currently doing a remake of True Grit starring Jeff Bridges, which should be fun. The original is semi-awful, a good reason to remake.

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