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Oh Brother, Where Arth Thou?

George Clooney, John Turturro, Tim Blake Nelson, John Goodman, Holly Hunter, Chris Thomas King, and Charles Durning
Directed By:
Joel Coen screenplay Ethan Coen
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Bluntly speaking? Oh Brother is no general crowd pleaser. I think maybe 100 people, including the casts' families, saw the darn thing. But for the few who like Indie, small, dare I say different films, without conjuring up thoughts of that whack-job Eraserhead, OBWAT is a must see.

OBWAT is a throwback to the old days of filmmaking. There's not one special effects blow-em-up scene, no glamorous high - faluten sets, and the cast is far from pretty or handsome (even George Clooney - a thought till now - unthinkable). It's just a few good old interesting, calm, characters portrayed by expert actors tossed into an intelligent script based on a classic, The Odyssey. The ironic part is, for all its simplistic looking scenes, the film's cinematography has been completely altered via a new fandangled procedure so it'll "look" like the "Dustbowl Era" - brilliantly brownish (Sepia) - almost surreal....

The story is simple... Loosely based on the "blind" prophet/poet Homer's Odyssey. You know that one...The journey with the mythical creatures, The Cyclops, those beautiful sirens etc. The same, yet updated, fable is our premise and is thrown right smack in the way of our hero, Ulysses Everett (George "Aging like a 600.00 bottle of wine" Clooney), on his off-beat path home.

Three chain-gang bound prison men, the silver tongued, hair-out-of-place phobic U.Everrett, (Clooney), simple angry Pete Hogwallop (John Turturro) and plain old simple, Delmar (Tim Blake Nelson) bust out in search for treasure buried in a valley that's to be flooded in a couple days time.

If they make it there's enough bounty buried in the muck to change their mediocre lives forever. Each has their own motive for financial redemption. But, before they can sail into these stashed funds they'll have to get past some dapper, dandy characters. Would be foils, friends, and chance meetings, that list like my niece and nephews Christmas list. There's a traveling musician hell-bent on success, hoodwinking politicians even a political midget - pre Bush era! The boys even brush up with bonifide public enemy with the flat-footed cops on his trail. A real loon. Don't want to forget the less-than-holy bible salesman, large and cycloptic (John Goodman).

They have one hell of a journey...

The cast is made up of some of our finest acting talents adrift in smallsville movieland. George Clooney, who besides being one of the finest looking mansteaks in the window, is a real "movie star." The Clark Cable kind. I'd be his Carol Lombard in a nano-second! He is at once sell-your-soul-to-the-devil handsome and razor sharp with the wit. A perfect manly combo, if you ask me. That fella just gets sweeter with age. I would love to lick till I got to his center- just once! Then they've added the actor's actor John "never do wrong" Turturro.This man is truly a chameleon. He's always sporting that madman intensity, can't see him at high tea...But that's just his "look." The third stooge in the OBWAT pot is Tim Blake Nelson, a relative "new comer" to the fore mentioned heavy hitters - and he does mighty fine. Tim's a writer and director to dumknee.

Sure, OBWAT is completely surreal at times, unbelievable at others. But, these actors breath such life into the people they inhabit, you'll barely be able to look away. It's thoroughly enjoyable. So don't get all scared it's a PBS mini-series-bore-a-thon that's going to brow-beat Greek history into you, with references to the seventeen letter God's and so forth, let me just remind you of the men (screenwriter and director) behind it - The Coen Brothers, Ethan and Joe, famous for Fargo. They gave the three boys caught up in all the mayhem their words; especially the quick versed Ulysses Everett (Clooney). His banter is filled with clever enthralling words delivered with seemless ability.

Not everyone's going to enjoy this slower paced character driven story think Grapes of Wrath (Henry Fonda version) meets It Happened One Night, meets the Three Stooges - and they're all looped up on Prozac.

Snack Recommendation: BBQ Gopher, carefully sautéed in Dapper Dan hair creme



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