Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thursday's Ways Not To Die

Fargo (1996)

Hard to believe I've never done this one, eh? But as long as I'm in a Fargo sorta mood this week - and I seem to be - I figured I'd go and give some love to the obvious choice of killin' within.

But while the above scene is of course one of the classic movie deaths of all-time, I've always found the off-screen death of poor pawn Jean Lundegaard to be the most disturbing death in the movie, haven't y'all?

Everything having to do with poor Jean winds up being terribly disturbing - she's played for laughs for a good long while, right through her kidnapping scene, which is the first time that the film turns the figure-of-comedy that she's been so far on its head, and the Coens seem to be daring us to laugh at the horror happening to her.

I always consider laughing at it, but the running around the yard with the sack over her head - in the snow with nothing on her feet but tiny slippers no less - is ultimately just horrifying. And then...

Well we aren't told exactly what happens to her... she's just dead.

That spray of blood, the open oven... horrors.

But yeah, Steve Buscemi getting an ax to the head and then his remains stuffed into a wood-chipper? That my friends is nothin' but comedy gold.

Previous Ways Not To Die: Pointed By The T-1000 -- Sucking Face With Freddy Krueger -- A Pen-Full Of Home-Brewed Speed to The Eye -- Motivational Speech, Interrupted -- A Freak Ephemera Storm -- When Ya Gotta Go... Ya Gotta Go -- Hoisted By Your Own Hand Grenade -- Having The Years Suction-Cupped Away -- Criss-Cross -- Turned Into A Person-Cocoon By The Touch Of A Little Girl's Mirror Doppleganger -- Satisfying Society's "Pop Princess" Blood-Lust -- Done In By The Doggie Door -- Tuned Out -- Taking the 107th Step -- Rescuing Gretchen -- Incinerated By Lousy Dialogue -- Starred & Striped Forever -- Vivisection Via Vaginally-Minded Barbed-Wire -- Chompers (Down There) -- Run Down By M. Night Shyamalan -- Everything Up To And Including The Kitchen Toaster -- Sacrificed To Kali -- Via The Gargantuan Venom Of The Black Mamba Snake -- Turned Into An Evil Robot -- The Out-Of-Nowhere Careening Vehicle Splat -- "Oh My God... It's Dip!!!" -- Critter Balled -- Stuff'd -- A Hot-Air Balloon Ride... Straight To Hell!!! -- Puppy Betrayal -- High-Heeled By A Girlfriend Impersonator -- Flip-Top Beheaded -- Because I'm Too Goddamned Beautiful To Live -- By Choosing... Poorly... -- Fried Alive Due To Baby Ingenuity -- A Good Old-Fashioned Tentacle Smothering -- Eepa! Eepa! -- Gremlins Ate My Stairlift -- An Icicle Thru The Eye -- Face Carved Off By Ghost Doctor After Lesbian Tryst With Zombie Women -- Electrocuted By Fallen Power-Lines -- A Mouthful Of Flare -- Taken By The TV Lady -- Bitten By A Zombie -- Eaten By Your Mattress -- Stuffed To Splitting -- Face Stuck In Liquid Nitrogen -- Crushed By Crumbling Church Debris -- Bitten By The Jaws Of Life -- A Machete To The Crotch -- Showering With A Chain-Saw -- In A Room Filled With Razor Wire -- Pod People'd With Your Dog -- Force-Fed Art -- Skinned By A Witch -- Beaten With An Oar -- Curbed -- Cape Malfunction -- In The Corner -- Cooked In A Tanning Bed -- Diced -- Punched Through The Head -- Bugs Sucking On Your Head


scroggins said...

What really turns my stomach is how Showalter couldn't give two shits about the wife of the man he is working for being dead.

"what happened to her?"

"Oh. She started shrieking..ya know..."

"Huh. Hey! I got the money...."

The callousness of those two is virtually unmatched in cinematic villainy.

Stacie Ponder said...

As many times as I've seen this movie, I've NEVER before noticed the blood on the wall and the oven. So completely horrifying, my god.

That's part of the genius of this movie, though, particularly in the kidnapping scene. The Coens make me feel feelings I'm totally ashamed to feel!

You've got me wanting to watch this again.

Jason Adams said...

harry - Couldn't agree more. Buscemi's Carl is despicably detached. And Peter Stomare's character - whom I've just learned is named "Gaear Grimsrud" - is just chilling. The way he's chilling there eating and watching TV absentmindedly next to her body... yikes.

Stacie - I think it's probably safe to assume that the open oven is for heat in the cold cabin and doesn't necessarily speak to some sort of torture that poor Jean went through... but we have no way of really knowing that since we're not given any info on what happened to her - the fact that we don't get to see her from the front only underlines the question. I hadn't ever noticed it either in all the times I've seen the film; not until I watched it for this post. Scary.

Mike said...

My favorite moment from the woodchipper scene is when Marge points emphatically to her hat.

Jason Adams said...

mike, I was thisclose to including a screen-shot of that moment because I love it too. It just didn't seem to fit.

Anonymous said...

Hm. Wow. Never noticed the blood on the oven. And that was an ax? I just thought it was board that he beat him over the head with. I also just noticed the rest of Steve Buscemi's body underneath a tarp by the chipper...chilling...