Fargo (1996)

A car salesman, Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy) is in a place where he is extremely desperate for money. What does he do? Hire two thug criminals by the names of Carl and Gaear (Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare) to kidnap his wife for ransom and then collect the money from his extremely wealthy father-in-law, Wade Gustafson (Harve Presnell). Paying the thugs a small portion and keeping the rest in order to satisfy his debts. Everything seems to be going according to plan until deaths start occurring from this. This is when pregnant police officer, Marge (Frances McDormand) shows up and is trying to figure out exactly what is going on.

After flipping through channels I noticed that this was on and decided to write a review about it. Fargo is the type of movie that has an enormous following from people. It’s essentially a cult classic from the 90’s. Fargo is not only funny, but it is all around a nearly perfect movie. Even though the movie is as gruesome as it is, the Coen brothers keep you laughing throughout the entire film. You would think this movie would be a comedy, but it’s actually a crime-thriller that works both ways. Fargo is the type of movie where as soon as you turn it on, it’s nearly impossible to not get sucked in and be stuck watching it. A good thing about that though is that it not only means it’s a great movie, but the film is also relatively short, so it’s an easy watch.

The Coen brothers have a great way of displaying the Minnesota world for us, and they do it by adding humor that not only works, but excels with how dark this movie actually is. This is without-a-doubt the best work I have personally seen from the Coen’s and it was deserving of every award it has won. The writing, the scenery, and not to mention the acting is just nothing short of pure excellence. Frances McDormand has given the role of her lifetime in Fargo and she was without-a-doubt deserving of the Oscar she won. The character development that the Coen bros. give us as well as the climax just fall into a perfect balance that exceeds any type of expectation one would have. Fargo just somehow gets better every time you watch it. This black comedy is like no other and will probably go down as one of my favorite films of all time.

Joel and Ethan Coen have this mentality with movies where they like to throw everything out there and hope that things start to stick together. Fargo is a movie where this not only worked for them, but worked wonders for them as directors. It seems like from this point forward their careers really started taking off and they’ve made movies that are memorable just like this one. Another thing that makes Fargo so exciting and enjoyable is that it has scenes that are so tense and suspenseful. I promise you are going to laugh throughout the entire film, but you will also be on the edge of your seat while watching this. What the Coen bros. crafted here is a beautiful piece of dialogue with acting and writing that will instantly make you fall in love with it. Now it is understood why we have seen great films from them after the release of Fargo.

Overall, Fargo is the masterpiece that is arguably one of the best films of all time. It’s strange, suspenseful, humorous, and incredibly dark at times, but it all comes together and works incredibly well. With outstanding writing, directing, acting, and dialogue, Fargo is a movie that has to be on the list of movies to see.

Grade: A

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Almost Famous (2000)

Here’s a movie that I watched the other day that is one of my favorite movies ever. We first see William (Michael Angarano) at a young age. William is living at home with his mother, Elaine (Frances McDormand) and his sister Anita (Zoey Deschanel). Anita is kind of a crazy girl who’s mother is trying to keep her under control. One day she brings home a copy of Simon and Garfunkel’s Bookends. Her mother is not one bit happy about this because she is under the impression that everything is just about sex and drugs. Anita decides to move out of the house, but she leaves something very important to William, her record collection. While looking through the albums that were left for him he comes upon a note that Anita wrote in The Who’s album Tommy. She tells him to listen to this with a candle lit and he will see his future. Time has passed and now William is 15 and interested in rock music and Journalism. He becomes an excellent writer and is hired to conduct an interview with the rock band Stillwater. William follows them around the country on their tour bus.

Almost Famous is an excellent film that if you are a fan of music you will love it. The soundtrack is absolutely dynamite and the acting is superb. William begins to fall in love with a girl who he meets on the tour bus. Stillwater is teaching William what rock and roll is all about. This is such a joyous film that you can not help but fall in love with. It keeps you very entertained throughout and makes you want to live this lifestyle.

Being a rock and roll fan myself, I can’t help but sing every time a song is played in this movie. We hear music from Elton John to The WHO. This movie is absolutely perfect. All the actors were incredible in their roles as musicians, journalists, groupies, you name it! I would absolutely love to live one day in the reality of this movie. This is a movie that I always get excited while watching.

Almost Famous is directed by Cameron Crowe. This is by far his best movie he has ever directed. He has a very impressive list of movies he has directed as well. This is an excellent adaptation that really captures the true spirit of rock and roll. There is a scene on the bus where the whole cast sings Elton John’s, “Tiny Dancer.” This is probably one of the best scenes I have ever seen in a movie. It’s a lot of fun and you just can’t help but sing along.

Overall, Almost Famous is a movie that keeps you happy and entertained throughout. William is definitely living the dream here. This is a film that I could watch over and over again and still never be tired of it.

Grade= A (Excellent! A Must See!)