I almost thought June was going to pass me by without something for me to blog about, and now I finally have something.
So last night I sat down in front of the TV to watch Fargo, a film by the critically acclaimed Coen brothers. These guys are known for making really quirky films that have dark and different interpretations to them. I have to tell you, this is the kind of thing I dislike the most about them, because it makes it harder to see their point of view. But critics in the US love them because of that quirky style.
Anyway, I only knew two things about Fargo: One, it's by these two brothers, and Two, it gave Frances McDormand her Best Actress Oscar. And like any movie freak out there, I was curious as to why. I figured, there had to be something worth seeing here.
No. There isn't.
It may have only been about 90 minutes long, but it was the worst way to spend 90 minutes, I can tell you that. Those are 90 minutes I'll never get back.
So let me fill you in on the plot. Fargo takes place in Minnesota, where a car salesman who needs money for some reason that is never explained, hires two dimwits to kidnap his wife so that they can get ransom money from his rich father in-law and split it half later. Being the dimwits that they are, they screw it up and end up killing three people, but they kidnap her successfully. The local police chief, Marge (who is pregnant) is on the case. She eventually solves the whole thing and arrests whoever involved that isn't dead by the end of it.
And that's it.
Now, this story could have worked. Really. I've seen films made out of plots even worse than this, and executed badly. So this doesn't sound too bad. But good God, this film was awful. Here's why:
- Other than Marge, there isn't a single redeemable character here. Nearly all of them are virtually unlikeable. The salesman, played by William H. Macy (who excels in playing characters like this one, and actually got an Oscar nomination for this) is basically a loser who has no balls to stand up to his asshole of a father in-law. If he had done so, his plan may have worked. Or better yet, get the two dimwits to kill the old man instead, maybe make it look like an accident, and his wife can pick up some inheritance. That seems more logical. Then there are the two dimwits (why do they always have to be stupid?), one talkative, the other looking too stoned to care. Why can't there ever be competent criminals in comedies? I don't get that. Even the salesman's wife is annoying, but not more than her asshole dad, which I would personally shoot in the head for torturing me in every scene he was in.
- Irrelevant scenes. The top one on the list is Marge meeting up with this Japanese guy who's an old friend. The guy still has feelings for her, and is embarrassing himself trying to get it on with her, then he breaks down when it doesn't work. WHY IN GOD'S NAME IS THIS SCENE HERE??? This bears absolutely no consequence to the main plot at all. This is the kind of scene that could have ended up on the cutting room floor, but here it is. Why? To make us laugh? I wasn't laughing, in fact deep down I wanted to punch somebody, anybody that looked like this man. Then there are the scenes between Marge and her husband, which only serves to make this look like some family drama made for TV, and again, does not serve the plot. And why does she have to be pregnant? If she wasn't, the film still ends the same way, I assure you.
- Accents. Apparently in Minnesota, they have a certain way of talking, which involves saying 'yah' a lot. Like someone asks Marge a question, she says 'Yah' and asks a question back, and she gets a 'Yah' too. This goes on and on and on. And worse, it doesn't even sound natural. It sounds ridiculous.
- Stupid lines. Like when Marge asks these two hookers on how a suspect looks like. One of them answers "he's weird looking." When Marge asks in what way, the hooker says "just the general weird." Marge asks the specifics, the hooker goes "can't really say...". Again, do you find this funny? Really? Listening to stupid people act even more stupid than they really are is funny?
As for Frances herself, I don't know why she won the Oscar. I really don't. I don't mean to say she's a bad actress, not at all. Her acting is fine. But there certainly wasn't anything outstanding about it. Nothing to indicate she went out of her way to be convincing as a police chief. Nothing to indicate she becomes the main reason to see this film. Not even a scene where she owns the screen is remotely present here.
I don't know, maybe I'll never understand the Coens (though I loved True Grit) or why the US film critics actually dig this stuff. This film was a damn waste of my time. I was supposed to laugh during this film, but I didn't, not even once. I can't believe I skipped the Hawaii Five-0 season finale to catch this piece of crap. Good thing that show has reruns.
I'm giving Fargo 2 out of 5 stars, just for Frances' sake. If any of you reading this ever consider seeing this flick, take my advice and go do something else.