A few months back I was asked to participate in the Top Comedy Films of All Time polling at the world’s premier independently run film blog, Wonders in the Dark. While Fargo placed far higher on my own list, it finished 51st in the official polling. I then had the pleasure of being asked to provide an essay extolling the many virtues of Fargo, which apart from being such an ingenious dark comedy, is one of my personal favorite films – a state of mind I find myself returning to at least once a year. Apparently I’ll never get enough of those accents.
Here’s an excerpt from my essay –
But it’s those small moments that make it undeniably funny – Marge’s interview of the goofy gum-smacking truck-stop hookers, the idiotic zombified niceness of the cashier at the diner where Jerry convinces his father-in-law to pay a ransom on a kidnapping Jerry arranged, and the complete disinterest of the call girl Carl tries to impress by taking her to the Carlton Celebrity Room to see Jose Feliciano.
The Coens also displayed a hilarious knack for sucking the seriousness out of dire situations, like when Jerry tries to comfort his son Scotty after Scotty’s mother is kidnapped and on the back of the kid’s bedroom door is a poster for “The Accordion King” – a fat smiling idiot in the Alps looking down on this hot mess in the Twin Cities.
I was recently asked by the film blogger extraordinaires at Wonders in the Dark to submit a ballot for the Top 60 Comedies of All-Time in preparation for their next feature which will tabulate the ballots and produce a definitive list later in the summer. At first I found the task daunting – as many will remember guest-blogger Nicky D’s hotly contested and wildly popular Top 47 Comedies of All-Time that graced The Spin not so long ago. For me, comedy is the most subjective and generational-based of genres – and it’s hard to judge films on personal tastes in humor. However, the always generous Sam Juliano at WitD invited balloters to adopt an “anything goes” policy – meaning – if it’s a comedy to you! – put it on the list. This opened up the door for me to include some of my favorite accidental comedies as well as satires and dark comedies that many would judge as dramas. One will see my love for the darker side of comedy in this list, as well as my love for Woody Allen and those rascally kids that had me in stitches when I was a kid – yup – short films are allowed – hence the love for Our Gang. At any rate…let the debate that started with Nicky D’s list continue as I present to you my official rebuttal and ballot for the Wonders in the Dark polling. I will provide no additional commentary and let the list speak for itself… Continue reading →