January 15, 2014

Re-ranking my favorite Coen Brothers movies


I saw "Inside Llewyn Davis" last night and it was good and interesting and funny and charming and weird, just like you'd expect from the Coen Brothers. I was out too late and drank too many Old Fashioneds to write a proper batch of mid-week Twins notes for today, so instead here's an updated ranking of my 10 favorite movies directed by the Coen Brothers:

1. "No Country For Old Men"
2. "The Big Lebowski"
3. "Fargo"
4. "True Grit"
5. "Inside Llewyn Davis"
6. "Barton Fink"
7. "Raising Arizona"
8. "Miller's Crossing"
9. "A Serious Man"
10. "Blood Simple"

I kind of want to see "Inside Llewyn Davis" again to think about it rather than just enjoy it. Oscar Isaac was exceptionally good in the leading role, singing his ass off and also somehow remaining likeable against all odds, and John Goodman stole the show in a supporting role. Go see it.

Also: Old Fashioneds are much better with bourbon than rye. I'll listen to arguments regarding the above movie rankings, but will not budge on that being a fact.


  1. Umm… where’s O Brother Where Art Thou?

    Comment by HT — January 15, 2014 @ 5:42 am

  2. If this omission was a conscious decision then this list is a waste.

    Comment by LT — January 16, 2014 @ 7:43 am

  3. and the Hudsucker Proxy?

    Comment by nathan — January 15, 2014 @ 8:45 am

  4. Won’t quibble with your Coen collection, nor will I quibble over the old fashioned predilection. Rye prefers no company other than a cube or two, thank you.

    Comment by Allan Marquart — January 15, 2014 @ 8:59 am

  5. Just an FYI: If a Coen Brothers movie isn’t listed in the above ranking of my 10 favorite Coen Brothers movies that means the movie isn’t one of my 10 favorite Coen Brothers movies.

    Comment by Aaron Gleeman — January 15, 2014 @ 9:15 am

  6. You’ve got Blood Simple too low. It’s kind of amazing. It’s a very tight film. Only really has 4 characters. It’s like the Coens’ Reservoir Dogs.

    Comment by blindeke — January 15, 2014 @ 9:15 am

  7. And without the unbelievable plot holes. Just one: Cops with a building under surveillance allowing one of their own to be tortured to death?

    Comment by bob — January 17, 2014 @ 6:10 pm

  8. I think you could take your list, add Proxy, Brother & Raising Arizona, shake it up on different days and though you’d have a different ranking, the list would basically be the same in terms of craft and excellence. Doesn’t really matter, as they are all wonderful. What I want to know is what you thought about Llewyn Davis and the mystery that swirls around the plotless plot. Is Davis caught in an infinite loop of purgatory, forced to re-live one week over and over, or does the ending/beginning simply meet up again with the ending? Is Turner (Goodman) truly maleficious or, worse, Lucifer? This film requires repeated viewings for clues that might not be evident at first or second glance.

    Comment by DoonMan — January 15, 2014 @ 9:48 am

  9. Call me weird, but I’ve never had an old fashioned in my 35 years of life. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I prefer scotch over other whiskeys…. I’ll have to try one at some point just to say that I did.

    Comment by D-Luxxx — January 15, 2014 @ 9:59 am

  10. I thought I was the only person who like A Serious Man. Not having O Brother, Where Art Thou is a mistake though.

    Comment by G-Money — January 15, 2014 @ 10:28 am

  11. The Somebody to Love bit in A Serious Man was hi-fucking-larious.

    Comment by Nate — January 15, 2014 @ 2:15 pm

  12. I love watching this site’s not-so-slow evolution from a highly principled Minnesota Twins analysis site to a diary about a 32 year old discovering being 23.

    Comment by haplito — January 15, 2014 @ 2:23 pm

  13. Haha… you have put into words what I have been thinking for a few years now.

    Comment by LT — January 16, 2014 @ 7:41 am

  14. Nah. You must have been skipping frivolous Fridays. And his personal stuff has just gotten even more extroverted and compelling.

    Comment by bob — January 17, 2014 @ 6:15 pm

  15. Sure, but have you had a Rye Manhattan? Nothing better than that!

    Comment by David Zeller — January 16, 2014 @ 12:02 am

  16. My favorite movie didn’t even make the list: “Hudsucker Proxy!”

    Comment by eric hankin — January 16, 2014 @ 9:03 am

  17. Depends on the movie’s first time value or repeated watching value. There’s nothing like the impact of a Barton Fink (remade quite well into a Serious Man) the first time you see it. Or at the other end, there’s nothing more resilient than repeated watching of a Big Lebowski.

    Comment by bob — January 17, 2014 @ 6:22 pm

  18. Agree that a bourbon old-fashioned is best, but like the poster above I think a rye (Canadian whisky in this house) Manhattan is better than one made with bourbon. Love all Coen movies except Raising Arizona…never found it funny.

    Comment by aries — January 22, 2014 @ 10:57 am

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