Monday, May 29, 2006


Here is a film that got very little love upon its initial release in 1994. It is a bit of a shame and something I am more than happy to correct, if only in a very small way. A little history. The Coen Brothers, known for thier love of neglected film genres (the gangster flick, the noir etc.) came onto the scene in the late 1980s with the modern noir, Blood Simple. They enjoyed continued moderate success with the screwball kidnapping comedy Raising Arizona. But they moved into arthouse territory with the one-two punch of stylized gangster drama, Miller's Crossing, and critically lauded, existential hollywood satire Barton Fink. Coming off two incredibly well received artfilms, the wildly stylish feel-good fable that is The Hudsucker Proxy, was met with question marks above many folks foreheads. Here is a movie that wears its heart on its sleeve and draws all of its characters in broad lines, using conventions and cliches from classic 1940's comedies. Style over substance? Perhaps. But there is so much to love about this film, it has gotten a bad shake.
The film has a plucky and naive fellow looking for work who gets caught up in a large corporation, Hudsucker Industries, reeling from the suicide of its founder. The board of directors have a scam to run the stock in the ground by elevating a patsy to president. When the stock is the lowest, the fat-cats would buy as much as they can, and the recover the company, blame the patsy, and get even richer. But our plucky protagonist has an idea, a diagram of a circle ("You know, for kids!") and by fluke, drives the company well into the black. Naivete begins to turn into soulless fat-cat. Enter a tough talking dame and intrepid reporter (Jennifer Jason Leigh at her absolute best) to expose the shennigans at Hudsucker and restore the sheen on our previously plucky hero. All this is overseen by the mystical black man/narrator who runs the massive clock in the gloriously art deco Hudsucker Industries skyscraper.
The Hudsucker Proxy is a joy to watch. It is the precursor of Coen Brothers visual spectacles of lunacy to come, namely The Big Lebowski and O Brother Where Art Thou? It is also a modern ode to the classic 1940's screwball comedys from Preson Sturges and Howard Hawks. wish a pinch of Frank Capra-style magical realism.

Come out Tuesday Night at for drinks and Lemon Meringue Pie at 8pm. Trailers and Showtime at 8:30pm.


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