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The Top 10 Movies of 1996


Release Date: April 5th

Cast: Frances McDormand, William H. Macy, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare, Harve Presnell, John Carroll Lynch.

Random Cast Note: Evil Dead’s Bruce Campbell had an uncredited cameo as a soap opera actor on TV.

Directors: Joel & Ethan Coen

Why I Love It (Daniel Cohen): There aren’t many movies you can point to as being perfect.  Fargo is one of those movies.  This is simply put, a flawlessly made film.  The screenplay is so tight and efficient.  It almost makes me shed a tear at how well done this Coen Brothers masterpiece is.  Siskel and Ebert famously slobbered all over Fargo, and for good reason.  It’s funny.  Sad.  Suspenseful.  The acting is a smorgasbord of vintage performances, putting guys like Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare on the map.  One of the best elements to this film is something that could have gone horribly wrong – The Minnesota dialect.  I have no idea if this is how real Minnesotans talk, but for the purposes of this film, it works.  This is something that could have been excruciating to sit through with all the “Yeah’s” and “Okay then’s.”  I’m sure there are many who can’t stand it, but the writing and acting give it a true charm.  It’s also one of the most well shot films ever made.  This is where Roger Deakins really got screwed in his endless stream of Oscar losses.  The English Patient.  Please.  I’m with Elaine Benes on that one.  Aside from all the ancillary parts, it’s all about the characters.

Fargo REAL

William H. Macy plays Jerry Lundegaard who gets this whole story rolling with a ludicrous scam to get his own wife kidnapped.  That’s a situation that could only go wrong, and boy does it ever.  The first scene beautifully sets the tone for the entire film.  That conversation between Jerry and the two goons, Carl (Buscemi) and Gaear (Stormare), is both hilarious and nerve-racking.  It also sets up who these criminals are and their overall relationship.  The writing has a ripple effect on everything.  It’s so damn good.  Buscemi and Stormare are awesome, but it’s Macy who gives the best performance.  Jerry Lundegaard is a slimy, uncomfortable, duplicitous son of a bitch, and watching his whole world unravel is entertaining as hell.  In a sea of horrible people and scam artists, the film is perfectly juxtaposed with Marge Gunderson, one of the purest characters you’ll ever see on film.

The best way to describe Marge is like Rocky Balboa in how much you root for the character.  While one-dimensional, Frances McDormand makes her fascinating as hell.  She’s in this horrific situation.  She’s pregnant.  Yet, she handles everything so matter of fact, as if she knows she’s going to solve the case.  For a recent example of a Marge Gunderson character, look to Judy Hopps from Zootopia.  There’s no doubt they looked at Fargo to create that character.  She also has the most healthy marriage ever portrayed on screen.  “Ahh, Norm.”

If you haven’t seen Fargo, please do.  It’s a bucket list movie, showing the very best of what happens when all the elements of film work together like a beautiful symphony.

Best Line: “He’s fleeing the interview!” (Marge)

Best Scene: Marge’s final speech in the police car.  It’s the exclamation point as to why Fargo could be one of the greatest scripts ever written.  It succinctly wraps up what we just saw.  It’s one of those speeches that sticks with you for a long time, which is what all great movies do.

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Pop-Break Staff
Pop-Break Staffhttps://thepopbreak.com
Founded in September 2009, The Pop Break is a digital pop culture magazine that covers film, music, television, video games, books and comics books and professional wrestling.

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