I loved both movies, and so this post – triggered by today’s NYTimes
is really not a compare-contrast between the two movies, but simply an excuse to talk about certain movies, actors, TV shows and celebrate the work of Coen Brothers.
Ray Liotta dazzles in Goodfellas. If you want to see him in a super intense role, of an aging corrupt cop (with principles of loyalty!), I recommend Shades of Blue, yes, with Jennifer Lopez (JLo), who is superbly credible, and even more so than Ray Liotta, carries the series. One bit of warning though; the final season gets a little bizarre, in the sense, that I almost felt that Quentin Tarantino was a script consultant (he was not). I think you get my point.
Miller’s Crossing was when I really started liking Coen Brothers, having previously seen Raising Arizona (in 1987, while PhD student at Cornell), where I saw Nicholas Cage and Holly Hunter for the first time.
Frances McDormand was also in the cast, but it was not until Fargo that I became a fan of hers. Although Blood Simple was made earlier (and Frances McDormand was in the cast), in 1984, I actually saw it after Raising Arizona and Miller’s Crossing. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri was also fun, thanks to Frances McDormand, who picked up her second Academy Award for Best Actress (Fargo, her first), while Sam Rockwell does a fine job here (as well as in Vice). She was also in Lone Star, an enjoyable movie directed by John Sayles, where I likely saw Chris Cooper for the first time, having seen Matthew McConaughey earlier in A Time to Kill.
Gabriel Byrne’s other movie I remember is The Usual Suspects, where I saw Benicio Del Toro for the first time (later in Traffic, 21 Grams, and he was awesome in Sicario), and remember seeing Chazz Palminteri previously in Bullets over Broadway (and later in guest appearances in Rizzoli & Isles and Blue Bloods).
Del Toro was also in Snatch, where I saw Jason Statham for the first time, and he exploded into fame through Transporter, The Italian Job – with Charlize Theron, who I had seen before in The Devil’s Advocate, which has Keanu Reeves, who I had previously seen in Speed (with Sandra Bullock) and stars in The Matrix and John Wick — and of course, Fast & Furious franchise.
Oh, I could go on and on, and certainly will in a future post, but for now, let me recommend three other Coen Brothers movies:
The Hudsucker Proxy; O Brother, where Art Thou?; No Country for Old Men.