#085–What Makes Fargo Such a Good Movie?

I think this is the third time I’ve watched this flick this week, after not seeing it for at least a decade. I’m not sure what it is about this flick, but it’s on again, starting over in the living room.

And no, before you ask, I haven’t seen the FX series that’s come out. Not a single episode.

I just wonder what makes this such a classic film to everyone. What strikes me most about this story is the characters. The way they’re so different than any other characters I’ve seen in films yet. And I don’t just mean the accents, which are fun to listen to in their own right.

I mean how the dialogue isn’t slick and totally plot driven. I love how these people sound real. When suspects, friends, or witnesses are talking to Chief Margie, they aren’t all particularly sharp, and aren’t ready and over-rehearsed with their answers. They sound like she just went in there to ask questions as the camera started rolling. They sound off-kilter because there are quite a few people who wouldn’t know how to talk to cops.

I think that’s what makes it work so well, and why I’m drawn to watching it.

I think about the scene with her talking to the prostitutes and they have short answers or little moments that have nothing to do with what’s there (remember “go bears”?)

Yeah, go bears.

As much as I’m a fan of Taranino’s awesome dialogue, I have to say this is another breath of fresh air. It’s a bit odd, like eavesdropping on someone’s conversations, but sounds right.

And then there’s the story itself. I’m sure most of you know it’s really not based on a true story, though the beginning says it is. It’s just something to go with the style. I suppose the Coen brothers wanted us to take this more seriously, and then be surprised at how we were going to laugh at the events that followed.

This movie’s the definition of a dark comedy, with a hefty emphasis on dark. I think it works because there’s incredible violence that’s also believable–it’s not a horror movie with an unstoppable monster. It’s a movie about mediocre plans spinning out of control, and a real idiot in the middle of it all.

I swear, I love William H. Macy in this movie. His Jerry Lundegaard has got to be the most inept planner in the history of film, but he thinks if he just has more money he can do anything. From the first moment you hear about the plan, you wonder “is this guy for real?”

Any other heist or kidnapping movie and you’d have people starting a drinking game–take a shot when you spot the plot holes.

In this case, though, it works, because we realize Jerry is an idiot. He’s not some knockoff-Bond villain, but a little man desperate for more money and not very bright.

I’m sure there can be entire books written on each of these characters.

Sheesh, I never thought I’d get beyond just asking the question, but here I’ve gone for more than 500 words analyzing this flick already.

At least I might’ve figured out what I liked after all.

Are any of you Fargo movie fans? What is it you loved/hated about Fargo? And why is this oddball flick considered so damned good?

Floor’s yours….

Related image

I can’t help it–those girls crack me up. Very 80s.

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