on January 27, 2013
I purchased this on DVD, but had previously owned it on VHS. I saw this movie for the first time on TV. At first I thought it was a serious movie, but realized as I continued to watch it that it was a comedy. The movie is about 3 prison inmates in the South who break out and go in search of a treasure, which turns out to be something totally different than 2 of them thought. George Clooney plays one of the main characters and does an awesome job. The music in this movie is one of the attractions for many people who have seen it, and there is lots of it. I would highly recommend this movie to anyone who wants to see a good comedy, packed with action and lots of good ole southern gospel music. There is a fair amount of cursing in this movie, so if you don't like movies with bad language, you may not prefer this one, but if it doesn't bother you I can guarantee you will LOVE this movie.
on January 18, 2015
We really enjoyed this movie from the beginning, the era was portrayed so authentically, and nothing but stellar performances from all the stars. The music was our favorite with catchy tunes especially I'm a man, just wanna sing along.
on May 7, 2004
While my favorite Coen brothers' film is "Miller's Crossing," "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" is my favorite comedy by these two mavericks.
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). Recalling the ultimate road story of the Odyssey, "O Brother" breezes from episode to episode with delightful ease.
As ever with Coen brothers' films, the movie looks wonderful and feels authentic. You can feel the oppressive heat of the Mississippi sunshine, you choke on dusty roads, and you glory in the greens and yellows of the languid countryside. Unlike so many films set in the Old South, characters are fully-realized (even if hilariously flawed) rather than caricatures. The minor details of daily life in the South (a mild oath from Ulysses gets a stern warning -- "Watch your mouth, young feller, this is a public shop") are delightful touches.
Of course, the true star of this movie, other than Clooney, is the soundtrack. Almost solely responsible for the recent Bluegrass explosion, "O Brother" lovingly grounds this musical genre in its appropriate time and space, and the songs form a perfect accompaniment to the rest of the movie. When the congregation sings is gospel tunes, or Pappy O'Daniel leads the Soggy Bottom Boys (what a name!) in a rendition of "You Are My Sunshine," the powerful force of music resonates throughout this delightful film.
One of the best movies of recent years, it's hard to understand why "O Brother" was so snubbed by the Academy. Like other recent snubs (e.g., "Shawshank Redemption," this movie is sure to generate more critical acclaim as it ages.
Whether it's for the wonderful acting, terrific writing, or amazing soundtrack, "O Brother" should be in your collection!
on December 10, 2003
After The Big Lebowski, the Coen brothers refined their approach to movie-making. They stuck with the idea of including any idea that was funny and slightly strange, but this time they imposed a plot that made sense. Like Fargo --- which was supposed to be based on a true story but really wasn't --- Oh Brother Where Art Thou is based on the Odyssey (a seemingly true story that they could use when it served them, or dump when it didn't). Then they added the Depression, southern politics, and lots of music.
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.
on September 9, 2013
I find myself humming this music at some point everyday, and everytime I watch the movie, I see another aspect of it, another gesture, or remark by any one of the actors that I had not paid attention to before, and I am over come with laughter again!
I ordered the soundtrack of "Down From The Mountain" so that I could listen to some of the same music in the car, etc.I also got the sountrack of the movie.
I`m seriously enthralled with this movie!
on March 12, 2004
I liked many things about this film. The stereotypes of Southern culture we've all grown up with were cleverly caricatured...the fat but good-natured politicians, the fat and ill-natured ones, the Ku Klux Klan, chain gangs and their cruelty, the simpleminded and uncultured poor. Then there is the denatured moonshine on Saturday night, and the good-natured "You-are-my-Sunshines" on Sunday morning. And that odd Southern combination of careful etiquette with downright meanness ("Well Suh, I'll thank you to get off my porch a'fore I blow you ta Kingdom Come.") Southern populism with all its racial contradictions- low culture brought to a high art.
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.
on February 29, 2004
This might be the funniest and wackiest Cohn bros. film I've seen yet. I even enjoyed the Blue Grass sound track, although I'm more of a pop, classical, and jazz kind of guy. But the music was great, too, and it really added to the overall ambience of the movie.
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.
on August 19, 2014
“So unlike the movie “the Defiant One’s” with (Tony Curtis & Sidney Poitier) shackled together as one,
we get three misfits shackled together, who’s tired of crushing rocks in a prison in Mississippi,
sweet tongued Ulysses Everett McGill, (Clooney) and bad-tempered Pete (John Turturro) with sweet,
dimwitted Delmar, my favorite (Tim Blake Nelson) (who, may I remind you, directed '”Leaves of Grass”
and starred as well with “Edward Norton” you have got to see that, Norton played two of himself, great movie)
Who burst out on a riotous odyssey with close calls and near misses,
watching Clooney doing his dance was so funny, I just love the movie, I never even give this the time of day,
when it came out, now I think I’ll watch it a couple times more in the future, T.b.Nelson is so good,
dapper-Dan George Clooney sleep with a hair net, my god that was funny,
English 5.1 DTS-HD Master audio.
Runtime 107 Min.
Subtitles. English. SDH, Spanish. French.
If You Can’t Love This, There Is No Hope.
on November 16, 2001
Music is almost never underestimated in movies today. Just look at any current movie preview, and chances are you'll see a list of artists contributing to the soundtrack, usually popular bands and / or rap groups. As appealing as these soundtracks sometimes are, especially to the "teenage demographic," few of these top-sellers actually contribute anything to the storyline and plot movement. In fact, hearing P Diddy or Smashmouth blare out some tune at a key moment in the movie is often more distracting than it is helpful.
That is what makes "O Brother" so special. The soundtrack is simply phenomenal, and it blends so effortlessly with the rest of the film. Some people refer to the movie as a musical, which it isn't; but I wouldn't mind seeing a musical with more of the same kind of music. It is important to note that none of the music I'm referring to is "background" music-- instead, it is all sung by characters in one manner or another. And the music alone would make the movie worth seeing, let alone the fabulous acting, which others have touched on nicely.
All in all, "O Brother" stands as a great flick, dedicated to entertaining us with sight AND sound. Two thumbs up for the Coens.
on November 9, 2001
Homer's Oddysey set during the Great Depression, with a trio of chain gang fugitives as the protagonists. Who woulda thunk? I don't know either, but give him credit for a fabulously enjoyable movie.
George Clooney is magnificent as Ulysses (that's really his name), an extremely witty and articulate convict who is obsessed with two things. The first is finding a hidden treasure from one of his earlier "jobs," and second is his hair. The contrast between his brilliant and often incisive repartee, and the dull witted utterances of his oafish companions, is truly a sight to behold (can I say that about the spoken word?).
The "Odyssey" theme is well developed, complete with Sirens and the Cyclops (played by none other than John Goodman, of course), and the movie loosely follows its plot line. There are some interesting allusions to the supernatural, and some blatant allegorizing of several characters, such as the ubiquitous "boss" sheriff with the fires of hell reflecting from his sunglasses. Several scenes are downright surreal, while others will have you holding your gut with laughter. Oh, and by the way, the good guys manage to "get religion" and turn the popular music world on its head as they go on about their merry way.
Literary references aside, though, you'll enjoy this movie immensely even if you've never read Homer. The language is generally unobjectionable, there's no nudity, and minimal non-gory violence, in other words, a family friendly affair. Watch this flick. You'll be glad you did.