I have been a huge fan of Joel and Ethan Coen since April, 1985, when we went to the movies for my birthday and saw Blood Simple, the Coen Brothers' first feature film. I was blown away by the dark humor, the intensity of the suspense and the fabulous editing. It was a while before I realized that Roderick Jaynes, the editor, was actually a pseudonym for Joel and Ethan.
The plot was almost deceptively simple. A bar owner in West Texas (Dan Hedaya) suspects his wife (Frances McDormand) is cheating on him. He hires a sleazy private detective to get him proof. When the PI (M. Emmet Walsh) confirms that one of the husband's bartenders is, in fact, shagging his wife, the bar owner hires the detective to kill the deceitful pair. The PI decides to do a little free lancing on his own. The resulting doublecrosses, misunderstandings and accidents would make Shakespeare proud.
Here's the trailer for Blood Simple:
Although it got some great reviews, practically no moviegoers noticed the film when it first came out. It cost $1.5 million to make, and barely grossed $2 million.
Then--almost exactly two years after I'd seen it, the Coens released their second film: Raising Arizona. This time, they had a $6 million dollar budget. To date, Raising Arizona has grossed almost $23 million.
With the release of Joel's seventh film, Fargo in 1996, the Coens' fortunes were made. The film won two Oscars and put the brothers on the map.
It's 2007, the brothers are undertaking their first book adaptation, and they're starting out ambitiously. The novel they've selected is No Country For Old Men by Pulitzer Prize winning author, Cormac McCarthy.
I'm really psyched about going. I'll let you know how I liked it later.