Quite enticingly MoMA screened a few Coen Brothers movies over the holiday break, but the only one that I managed to make it to was A Serious Man... which was plenty, turned out?
I made a whole day of Stuhlbarging it (my new favorite verb) and went to see Call Me By Your Name immediately after -- it was a holiday miracle!
Anyway I hadn't seen A Serious Man in a couple of years (can you believe it is turning nine this year?) and what I had long suspected might be true made itself evident to me this go-around: I really think A Serious Man might be my favorite Coens movie.
I greatly underrated the movie when I did my Favorite Movies of 2009 list, only placing it at 12th - 2009 was a terrific year at the movies and I still do love the movies that I placed above it, but there would be a traumatic shifting of titles if I were to rework that list today, most dramatically being the upward thrust of this movie right here. A Serious Man would easily make my Top 5 of 2009 now - it wouldn't topple Where the Wild Things Are from #1 but it very well might make it to #2, I think.
But that's just an individual year's ranking - when we're talking about the Coens entire amazing filmography... when we're talking about Marge effing Gunderson... could I really drop my long-term beloved Fargo down a notch in Overall Coens Faves?
I think I could, you guys. I think it's possible that their retooling of The Book of Job for a midcentury nebbish's descent into suburban oblivion might strike me as the most profound thing they have accomplished. It's so peculiar, so funny and unnerving, so totally unique and so deeply alarming (that last shot shakes me to my core) I can never quite quit it.
"Why does he make us feel the questions
if he's not gonna give us any answers?"
"He hasn't told me."