March 26, 2004
On the Big Board
||Coen Brothers, I'm begging you, start writing your own scripts again.
||Not funny. Not interesting. Not quirky. Though it did give about a day's enjoyment out of the phrase "hippity hop".
||Even the lesser Coen Brothers films are entertaining.
In the past, the Coen brothers haven’t exactly been synonymous with big box office. While many of their films have either debuted to critical acclaim or eventually find cult followings, they generally are far too quirky for the average moviegoer, with ultra-dark humor and love-it-or-hate-it results. A simple look at their titles is proof of their independent nature, with Blood Simple, Raising Arizona, Miller’s Crossing, Barton Fink, The Hudsucker Proxy, Fargo, The Big Lebowski, O Brother Where Art Thou?, and The Man Who Wasn’t There numbering among their titles. Up ‘til O Brother, there were no bona fide hits, with even that film winding up with a rather slight $45.5 million at the end of its theatrical run. Even the promising George Clooney/Catherine Zeta-Jones star vehicle Intolerable Cruelty only racked up about $35 million in total box office.
Having struck out (or at least hit foul) in their last attempt to court box office glory, the Coens are hoping for better results from their upcoming remake of the 1955 British Ealing comedy, The Ladykillers. That original film was set in London and starred two wonderful British icons in Sir Alec Guinness and Peter Sellers. For this update, written from scratch by the Coens despite previous attempts at drafts by other scripters, the action will be moved to New Orleans and instilled Tom Hanks in the Guinness role.
The Ladykillers tells the story of an off-center professor who has turned criminal genius to commit an enormous heist of a New Orleans riverboat casino. He and his three accomplices are renting rooms from a sweet little old woman named Mrs. Munson and determine that they can pull off the robbery by digging a tunnel from the house to where the casino’s money is kept. Mrs. Munson determines that she’s going to stop them, so the cohorts in crime decide to eliminate her from the picture completely. Unfortunately for their plans, she’s not nearly so easy to murder as they might hope.
In lesser hands, such a concept would probably be too dark for mainstream audiences; however, in the deft hands of the Coens, the film promises to be a wicked little affair. With Box Office King Tom Hanks as the headlining performer, the movie originally looked to have a shot at being one of the biggest events of 2004. That being said, the trailer and the ads have been looking distinctly......indie and it's looking more likely that this will be another of the Coens medium grossing films. (Kim Hollis and Jennifer Turnock/BOP)
Comparison films for The Ladykillers
|Catch Me If You Can
|Road to Perdition
|You've Got Mail
|Green Mile, The
|Big Lebowski, The
|O Brother, Where Art Thou?
|Man Who Wasn't There, The