Oy Vey

Roderick Jaynes: Real Oscar nominee, fictitious film editor.

Leaving behind Dorothy Hamill haircuts that netted them Oscar gold, the Coen Brothers have returned to the awards fray with A Serious Man, typing and helming by Joel and Ethan Coen (editing by them as well, as ever, under the pseudonym Roderick Jaynes, who one day, I hope, will become the first fictious person to win an Oscar!), and distributed by Focus Features, a division of NBC Universal, which is a division of Comcast.

Everyone admires the Coens, of course, because when they’re good, they’re very, very good (No Country For Old Men, Fargo, The Big Lebowski, Raising Arizona) and when they’re bad, they fail big and interestingly (Barton Fink, Intolerable Cruelty, The Lady Killers).  A Serious Man (one of my father’s very favorites of the year) falls distinctly into the good category:  Funny, literate, engaging, unpredictable, and, yes, very, very Jewish–  halfway through the flick I was dying for a nice, juicy pastrami sandwich.  Things gets started with a parable featuring the legendary Fyvush Finkel, and go heavier on the Jewish quotient from there, so…

Give me my Oscar. Now.

The flick features excellent turns from some terrific character actors– the criminally underrated Richard Kind, George Wyner, Adam Arkin and the scene-stealing Fred Melamed–but really, it’s Michael Stuhlbarg‘s movie, and he excels as the always-put-upon Lawrence Gopnik.  Here’s high praise, indeed:  He is the Jewish Jason Bateman.  The fact he didn’t snag a Best Actor nomination is testimony to how tremendous this year’s performances are; he deserves it in much the manner the great Richard Jenkins got one for The Visitor; you can’t really imagine there being a next time.

I’m not so sure it’s one of the 10 best of the year, but it’s worth seeing, as all the Coen Brothers flicks are.  To watch them is to be reminded how good good directing can really be.

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One Response to “Oy Vey”

  1. Moo Jameson Says:

    I vote for Peter Andrews.

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