I didn't hear of The Coen Brothers until Fargo came out, and I didn't like Fargo, so I assumed I didn't like The Coen Brothers.
Not liking Fargo was an interesting experience. I watched it with a bunch of people, and assumed they were all as bored as I was by the film. But no, they all ranted and raved about how good it was. I wasn't sure why the brothers made the film, much less why everyone enjoyed it so; eventually I concluded it was supposed to be a comedy (right?), but I just didn't get the joke.
Of course, my not liking The Coen Brothers was largly based on ignorance, since at that point they'd made two of my favorite films (The Hudsucker Proxy and Miller's Crossing). Not knowing this, however, I persisted in not espicially liking 'em, or at least not liking them as much as everyone else. Raising Arizona and The Big Lebowski did not impress me enough to change my mind (though I found them far more amusing then Fargo). I persisted in my ignorance until I saw O Brother, Where Art Thou?, which did impress me at least enough to do an imdb search and find out what else they'd done.
Anyway, all this is really just prelude to last night, when I watched Barton Fink
I dunno how I feel about the film. I mean, it was obviously an excellent peice of cinima. It had good acting, good direction, very good sound; it was quite clever and had very interesting things to say about both art and artists. I'm just not sure I enjoyed it.
It was a very ambitious, which might be part of the problem. I could tell (I think) what they were trying to do, but it just didn't work for me. The title character (Barton Fink) was interesting, but was too intellectualized to write the sort of script he wanted, hence he had writers block and was unable to progress. Thus was paralleled by the first half of the film, which was also interesting but unable to progress past a simple intellectualize excercise.
In both cases, the delemma was solved by the introduction of a shotgun weilding maniac. It shocked Barton into looking at his script in a new light, and it was supposed to shock the reader into looking at the film in a new light. The problem was, I wasn't in the least bit shocked. The DVD starts with an image of John Goodman running through a burning hallway, carrying a shotgun. From the moment I saw him, I was expecting foul play.
What I'm curious is..
(A)...did the theatrical version have a similar beginning and (if not)...
(B)...did people who saw it in a theater then not see his turn of character comming, and so were shocked into enjoying the film more?