O Brother, Where Art Thou?
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Disenchanted with the daily drudge of crushing rocks on a prison farm in Mississippi, the dapper, silver-tongued Ulysses Everett McGill (George Clooney, THE PERFECT STORM) busts loose. Except he's still shackled to his own chain-mates from the chain gang -- bad-tempered Pete (John Turturro, SUMMER OF SAM), and sweet, dimwitted Delmar (Tim Blake Nelson, HAMLET). With nothing to lose and buried loot to regain -- before it's lost forever in a flood -- the three embark on the adventure of a lifetime in this hilarious offbeat road picture. Populated with strange characters, including a blind prophet, sexy sirens, and a one-eyed Bible salesman (John Goodman, COYOTE UGLY), it's an odyssey filled with chases, close calls, near misses, and betrayal that will leave you laughing at every outrageous and surprising twist and turn.
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Top Customer Reviews
If this had been written and directed by anyone else, it would have been a mess. But with the Coen brothers, it's a musical comedy disguised as a screwball period piece. It helps that the casting is perfect. From the three principal actors to the major secondary characters (like John Goodman's Big Dan Teague/Cyclops) to the smaller parts (like the governor's two dim-bulb campaign managers and the radio station owner) every actor is funny and perfectly in sync with the tone of the film.
The Coens added quite a bit of computer effects and all of it works. The obvious example is the color-grading. The short documentary on the DVD shows how computers were used to wash out colors and tint different scenes. Then there are small parts, such as the underwater shot of Dapper Dan cans and a dog floating by. Those cans are computer-generated, and the dog was composited into the shot. You don't notice this stuff until the third or fourth time you see it. Once you notice, it makes the movie even better.
This is one of the best Coen brothers movies, and one of the best movies of the last 10 years. The music is so good, you'll be humming every tune the day after you see it. It's very funny and beautifully designed, as well.
Loosely based on Homer's "The Odyssey," earning an Oscar nomination for best adapted screenplay even though the Coens' admitted to reading only the Cliff Notes, "O Brother" is the Coens' tribute to American bluegrass music. For some reason, this movie was shamefully snubbed at the Oscars, but George Clooney earned his Golden Globe award for best actor.
Clooney plays the fast-talking Clark Gable wannabe, Ulysses Everett MacGill. Unfortunately for Ulysses, his mouth runs about five steps ahead of his brain, and his delight in the clever, hyper-articulate use of the English language cannot mask his delightful naivete. In a performance of sly self-mockery (can you think of another major film star who would so earnestly ask for a hair net to sleep in or speak movingly about being a "Dapper Dan Man"?), Clooney steals one heck of a show.
Ulysses escapes from a chain gang in Depression-era Mississippi with his sidekicks, the hot-blooded Pete (John Turturro) and easy-going Delmar (Tim Blake Nelson). Allegedly going to find some treasure before a river gets dammed, sinking the treasure beneath a deep lake, this trio begins a bizarre journey across the Deep South.
Along the way they meet guitarist Tommy Johnson, who followed an American musical legend by selling his soul to the devil at a crossroads in exchange for the ability to play the guitar, Big Jim Teague (the Cyclops), three Sirens, a blind seer, Baby Face Nelson, a spelling-challenged rifle-toting youngster, and Governor Pappy O'Daniel (conveniently relocated from Texas to Mississippi).Read more ›
And let's not forget the music! "Land sakes alive... them Soggybottom Boys shore can sing"! All of this is tied together in a most appealing way with Homer's Oddyssey- the blind oracle on the railroad tracks, the Sirens singing in the river... This movie is really different! Nostalgia for the Old South brought back full force, leaving you feeling guilty for liking it, just the same.
Some of the scenes are just classic, such as the Baby Face Nelson gettaway with the cows, the KKK "dance of the sugar plum fairies," (as I call it), the scene with the "river sirens," and the scene at the concert where the Soggy Bottom Boys finally sing their hit song to the entralled crowd, which the guys can't figure out.
I recognized the actor who played George Nelson from The Practice TV show but hadn't seen any of his other work before, and I thought his over-the-top portrayal was really amazing considering he plays a stolid, respectable lawyer and very different character in the TV show.
I was also amazed at how well George Clooney pulled off the dancing and high-stepping at the concert and political rally. He proved himself to be a pretty competent hoofer in the great tradition of hoofer actors (like Bob Hope, James Cagney, and Gregory Hines, etc., although of a different style).
So overall, another very funny, wacky movie from the Cohn bros. that certainly won't disappoint the fans, and with a classic Blue Grass sound track that really fit the movie well.
Most recent customer reviews
WE have seen this before and sure nice to sit back and have that laugh or two three on this movie.... Nice to sit back and eat popcorn..Published 3 months ago by Elaine Burton Brown
Arrived in excellent condition and worked perfectly in our players.
This is a movie my husband could watch repeatedly, he loves it! Read more
A Cohen brothers movie that fires on all cylinders. Great story, great cast, great music. It's worth owning just to revisit from time to time.Published 7 months ago by Rick Lalonde
It's absolutely a classic! Superb acting, amazing songs & score!
Beautiful faded color & a story you'll never forget!
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