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


Boogie Nights (1997)

I have a friend who doesn’t have a job, so this would really work for him.

In the San Fernando Valley in 1977, a young teenager, Eddie Adams (Mark Wahlberg) is trying to find himself in life and is hired as a busboy in a nightclub. All of a sudden, things really start to change for Eddie because he becomes discovered by porn director, Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds). Horner is not only a big shot around town, but just so happens to be the best porn director in the industry. Jack convinces Eddie to come and work for him, and then shortly turns him into adult-film sensation with the name of Dirk Diggler. Brought into a circle of friends, including fellow actors Amber Waves (Julianne Moore), Rollergirl (Heather Graham) and Reed Rothchild (John C. Reilly), Dirk really starts to fulfill all of his ambitions. The problem is, fame starts to really go to his head and drugs and an egotistic attitude start to control his life.

Here’s a movie that came out quite a long time ago, but it happens to be one I very much enjoy, so I figured why not write a review about it? Everybody know’s about Boogie Nights and the great work that Paul Thomas Anderson has doe here. This movie is what really turned me into a fan of what he does. With Boogie Nights, he pretty much just blows you away and presents you with what could easily be the best piece of work he has to offer. Almost everything about this movie is a joy to watch. Especially the writing and acting, which is then followed by a terrific soundtrack. Another great thing about this movie is that it never makes you lose interest. Nothing about this movie is boring or dull. There is always some comedy, but it never loses its strong dramatic sequences. It’s also just a real fun movie to watch.

The acting is pretty great, but how could it not be with an all-star cast like this. I mean look at the lineup. Marky Mark, Julianne Moore, Phillip Seymour Hoffman. All of these people are great at what they do and you really see it in Boogie Nights. At the time, this was probably Mark Wahlberg’s best performance to date. What he did in this movie really shocked a lot of people and I think he proved that he can do a lot more work and play these larger roles. Burt Reynolds had to be my favorite in this movie though. I just thought his character was great and I always wanted to see him. Even William H. Macy was really good. The amount of incredible actors that are in this movie is ridiculous. That is something I love to see out of a movie. When you have a good cast like this, it can only work out well for you.

Maybe I am wrong, but I feel like PT Anderson does not get the recognition he deserves as a director, especially for this movie. I think this may actually be his best work he has ever done and that guy has directed a lot of stuff I enjoy. With Boogie Nights, you may feel like you have watched movies similar to it, and you think to yourself that there was nothing special about it. I don’t feel that way at all. I think Boogie Nights tries something different, and not only does it succeed, but it becomes an instant classic of the 90s. Even the screenplay is something that needs to be talked about. With a script like that, it absolutely deserved to win the Oscar, but the Academy often likes to piss us off. If you are hesitant about watching this because of the strong, graphic material, don’t be because it really is an excellent film.

Overall, Boogie Nights delivers in ways that really impress you. With a terrific cast, fantastic directing, and a phenomenal screenplay, Boogie Nights becomes an iconic movie of the 90s.

Grade: A

Room (2015)

Holy hell, was this something else! After being held captive in a small, enclosed space, Joy (Brie Larson) and her five-year-old son, Jack (Jacob Tremblay) are finally able to get out and be back in the world, which Jack has never been able to see, except for outside the window. Joy was kidnapped by a man seven years ago and finally came up with an idea of how she and her son Jack can escape this nightmare they are living in. The room that they are unable to leave is a small woodshed in the backyard of a man’s home that is completely sound-proof.

I don’t even know where to begin with this one because it may be my favorite I have seen all year. I was absolutely speechless as I left the theater. This movie is just flat-out amazing. I feel as if Room may be the most impressive film that we see all year and it will absolutely make a hell of a lot of noise come Oscar time. The whole movie your heart will be racing, but that it ok because of how inspiring and powerful this film actually is. After you first see Room, you almost do not even know what to think about it, even though you realize how terrific of a film it actually was. This is without-a-doubt one of the most exceptionally crafted work of film that I have seen in the past decade.

The acting from this film is some of the best you will see all year and if Brie Larson does not receive this Oscar, I will have absolutely no faith left in the Academy. But, as always, let’s not get into a discussion about the Academy. We’ve come to realize what they do and we just accept it. Now that the Oscar rant is over, I think Brie Larson gave what was not only a phenomenal performance, but she absolutely took the world by surprise with this. And possibly for the first time, the world will see an eight-year old win an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Jacob Tremblay gave the best performance I have ever seen a child give. And the fact that he was better than almost 100% of the possible nominations, that is just incredible. This young actor is really on the road to success.

With Room, you recognize a whole different kind of beauty that you did not know movies were capable of showing us. The story we have here with this movie is something that deserves to be told and seen. You learn to appreciate life more than you normally do. Throughout the whole entire film, you are absolutely glued to the screen and all you want to do is keep watching. This movie was just shy of two hours, but it certainly did not feel like it and I feel as if there was still more that could have been told about this remarkable and inspiring story. I can’t give this movie enough praise and I really hope it gets the recognition it deserves once it is time for the Oscar’s. If you appreciate good film and want to be blown away, Room is a movie that you absolutely have to see.

Overall, Room is without-a-doubt one of the most inspiring and greatest films that you will see this year and possibly for a few years to come. With breathtaking performances and a chilling, but inspiring story, Room proves to be one of the best films of the past ten years.

Grade: A