Rant of the Week! – Week 2

6 08 2009


Last Thursday, I posted the trailer for the new film by my favorite filmmakers: The Coen Brother’s A Serious Man. As I pointed out in the post, unlike the Coen’s most recent movie, which starred the likes of George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Tilda Swinton, John Malkovich, and Francis McDormand, their next release sports Richard Kind as the most notable name. Why would this make me mad enough to use up the Rant of the Week? It doesn’t; it is the film’s constricted release that has me up in arms.

Following its premiere during the upcoming Toronto Film Festival in September, A Serious Man will receive a limited release stateside on October 2nd. May I remind everyone here that this is a film making pair that has won four academy awards, three of which came in 2007.

What this is doing is sending a very clear message: you can be the greatest filmmakers in the world, making terrific film after terrific film, but if you don’t make a movie with a face to put on the poster, you will not get a proper release.

A Serious Man is a film that the Coens are hoping will succeed on the clout that they have built on since Blood Simple in 1984. Every film that they have made over the last 25 years has had a notable name attached, be it Nicolas Cage in Raising Arizona (who had just earned his stripes with Peggy Sue Got Married), Tim Robbins in The Hudsucker Proxy, or George Clooney in O Brother, Where Art Thou, Intolerable Cruelty and the above mentioned Burn After Reading. But despite the success that the Coens have had year after year, looking past their small rut in the first few years of this decade, the studio will not give A Serious Man a wide release.

But while I point the finger at the studio, in reality, I must also try and reason with the average movie going public that has become obsessed with celebrity. The reason that Working Title won’t give A Serious Man a wide release is because they sense, probably correctly, that the average audience wants to see a recognizable face on screen. And they will probably be proven right. As the release date gets closer, I think that District 9, despite internet anticipation, will under perform at the box office because the lead actor is some guy named Sharlto Copley.

So this is my plead to Mr. and Mrs. Average Movie Goer – look past the stars and past the camera for a moment. Look at the writers and the directors that are responsible for some of the most beautiful, fun, and wonderful stories that you will see on the silver screen. Go see a film that is not 100% based on a pretty face, but, perhaps this face:

Michael Stuhlbarg




2 responses

9 09 2009
Poster: A Serious Man « Geek on Film

[…] Poster: A Serious Man 10 08 2009 A poster for The Coen Brothers’ A Serious Man has arrived online and, much like its cast, it sticks to the less is more approach. I simply like that I know exactly why he is standing on the roof and what he is gazing at (check out the plot description to find out). Check out the sized-down poster after the jump (click it for full resolution) and check out the trailer here and my rant about the film here. […]

28 09 2009
Photo Dump: A Serious Man « Geek on Film

[…] quickly finds both his professional and private life falling apart, is set for a limited release (grrr) this weekend, but hopefully the positive buzz coming out of the Toronto Film Festival and success […]

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